Community Care

New senior resource coordinator shifts gears during pandemic

by Ken Harrison

Hartford HealthCare’s newest Center for Healthy Aging at St. Vincent’s Medical Center (SVMC) — an opening temporarily put on hold by the COVID-19 pandemic — has proven a valuable resource for employees and loved ones in the meantime.

Resource Coordinator Marleine St. Juste, using telephone and email, has been helping people connect with supportive services to achieve the optimum quality of life. Her assessments determine the most appropriate services, whether it be home care, medical alert technology, home modifications, state programs, veterans’ services or education.

St. Juste, who started at the onset of the pandemic, has spent nearly 15 years in social services working with older adults and families as well as people with

mental health issues, developmental disabilities and substance abuse problems.

“Whenever I am able to help even one person with the simplest tasks in life, either with a referral to important resources or by pointing them in the right direction, that brings me joy knowing that I was able to make a difference,” St. Juste said.

Due to the COVID-19 emergency, the Center for Healthy Aging is currently providing services to staff and loved ones’ providers only by telephone and email. The new location at St. Vincent’s Medical Center will be open to the public when it is safe.

For help, SVMC colleagues can call 877.424.4641 or email

HHC names Deavens new Board of Directors chair

by Rebecca Stewart

Gregory E. Deavens — executive vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer of Independence Health Group, where he is responsible for all financial functions and plays a key role in strategic planning — was named the newest chairman of the Hartford HealthCare (HHC) Board of Directors.

HHC President and CEO Jeffrey A. Flaks praised Deavens as a person of great integrity, a bright and committed leader who has made significant contributions to the system’s financial stability during his seven years as a board member, including as vice chair.

“I have always valued Greg’s expertise, passion and vision and I am excited to partner with him to continue Hartford HealthCare’s growth as the premiere healthcare system in our region,” Flaks said. “Greg brings strong strategic planning and leadership skills to the role, as well as tremendous vision. He shares my passion for culture, for building a true system-of-care that is a model for the nation. Together, we are committed to building a more diverse and equitable health system.”

Deavens succeeded David Hess, who remains on the Board of Directors.

“We have an ambitious path ahead of us, as, together, we transform healthcare in Connecticut and beyond, with a clear focus on the Hartford HealthCare mission to improve the health and healing of the people and communities we serve,” Deavens said. “I am also encouraged by and share Hartford HealthCare’s commitment to eliminating health disparities in underserved communities.”

Before joining Independence Health Group in January 2017, Deavens was senior vice president and corporate controller at MassMutual Financial Group. Previously, he served as senior vice president and chief financial officer for MassMutual’s U.S. Insurance Group. His earlier experience includes financial leadership roles with New York Life Insurance Company, CIGNA, GE Capital and PriceWaterhouse.

In addition to his leadership on the HHC board, Deavens serves on the board of The Executive Leadership Council, the African American Museum in Philadelphia and BCS Financial. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the National Association of Corporate Directors. Deavens holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the Florida A&M University. He and his wife, Beverly, have three grown children.

Gregory Deavens


“We have an ambitious path ahead of us, as, together, we transform healthcare in Connecticut and beyond, with a clear focus on the Hartford HealthCare mission to improve the health and healing of the people and communities we serve,” Deavens said. “I am also encouraged by and share Hartford HealthCare’s commitment to eliminating health disparities in underserved communities.”


Donations boost community partners in Mystic

by Elissa Bass

As Hartford HealthCare (HHC) broke ground in 2019 on its Mystic facility, representatives met with local nonprofit leaders whose work speaks directly to the system’s mission to “improve the health and healing of the people and communities we serve.”

As a result, HHC decided to make one-time donations to five nonprofits to celebrate the opening of the Mystic HealthCenter, which opened on Perkins Farm Drive at the end of January and is home to primary care, cardiology and vascular services, neuromuscular services, neurosurgery, pain management, movement disorders, imaging and physical rehabilitation therapy.

“These small organizations do really mighty work,” said Donna Handley, president of Backus and Windham hospitals and HHC SVP. “These nonprofits all benefit the health and wellbeing of residents across Groton, Stonington, Pawcatuck and Mystic, and we are pleased to be able to support them as a way to celebrate our strong presence in the region.”

Recipients of the $2,020 grants are:

  • Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center, Weekender Backpack Food Program for Children. This program benefits about 300 children from Mystic, Stonington, North Stonington and Westerly. Every Friday, each child receives a “backpack” containing about 45 pounds of food to make breakfast, lunch and dinner. Menus change weekly.
  • Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center’s Giving Garden at Coogan Farm. The Garden grows fresh produce to benefit New London County’s 23,000 food insecure residents via the Gemma E. Moran United Way Labor Food Center, which distributes food to 63 programs serving 91 feeding sites across the county. The volunteer-run Garden donates more than 6 tons of food annually.

  • Home, Wheels to Work program. With a mission of preventing family homelessness, the organization serves families with minor children, helping parents achieve stability so they can focus on their children’s well-being. Wheels to Work provides funding for car repairs or service, and purchases cars for families when needed.

  • Groton Community Meals. This collaboration of local churches provides the needy a hot meal every Monday and Wednesday night at two Groton locations. The organization feeds 100 to 150 people weekly entirely with donations and volunteers.
  • Stonington Community Center, Youth STEAM and Makerspace programs. Hundreds of kids each year cycle through these programs, which include Girls Who Code, Tinkering Tuesdays, Design for 3D Printing and Family Maker Fridays (laser cutting and other activities).

HOCC taps endoscopy tech to diagnose, treat lung cancer

by Brian Spiros

The Hospital of Central Connecticut (HOCC) introduced new endoscopic technology, the Monarch® Platform by Auris Health, for diagnostic and therapeutic bronchoscopic procedures.

This leading-edge, robotic navigational technology gives doctors more precision and mobility to access and biopsy pulmonary nodules, diagnosing them as cancer, infection or inflammation. The technology promises earlier and more accurate diagnosis for patients at risk for lung cancer.

“Unfortunately, there are a significant number of people — about 20 percent of our patients — who never smoked a day in their life and still get lung cancer. This is a minimally-invasive way of diagnosing those patients at a very early stage,” said Dr. Stefan Kachala, a thoracic surgeon at the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute at HOCC.

HOCC is the first in Hartford HealthCare to use the Monarch® Platform, which uses a device similar to a gaming controller to maneuver a flexible endoscope with a camera attached to the edge of the lung. It combines traditional endoscopic views into the lung with computer-generated navigation based on three-dimensional models of the patient’s lungs, providing continuous vision throughout.

“I have more precision in my movements,” said Dr. Kachala, the first person in the system trained on the platform. “We are able to diagnose early lung cancers using a safer, highly precise method. It allows us to then perform surgery or radiation in patients who aren’t candidates for surgery, and treat the cancer.”