Points of Pride

Winning Star Dancer Dedicates Number to Mom

By Steve Coates

Points of Pride Dancing for Parkinsons

Digestive Health Center Director Lindsey Meehan took home top honors at Hartford Healthcare’s third annual Stars Dancing for Parkinson’s in May.

During the Beatles-themed event, which raised almost $85,000 for Parkinson’s research, Meehan and her dance partner, Vlad Astafiev, performed to “Let it Be.” It was an emotionally poignant performance as Meehan dedicated the night to her mother, Marilyn, who passed away in 2002 after a battle with multiple sclerosis. Meehan chose the song because Paul McCartney has said his inspiration for writing the Beetles standard was a dream he had of his mother Mary, who died when he was 14.

“This event and raising money for movement disorders is very special to me. I know my mom will be here in spirit with me,” she said before the event. Stars Dancing for Parkinson’s, originally scheduled for May 2020 before the pandemic hit,

benefits wellness programs offered for free at the David & Rhoda Chase Family Movement Disorders Center, part of the Hartford HealthCare Ayer Neuroscience Institute.

Other participants in this year’s competition were:

Dr. Evan Fox, medical director of psychiatry consultation liaison services at Hartford Hospital; Stefan McKosky, a member of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Parkinson’s Disease Association Board; Carla Nunziante, vice president of growth and acquisitions with the Hartford HealthCare Medical Group; Lynn Rossini, vice president of philanthropy at Hartford Hospital; Eric Smullen, senior vice president of the Hartford HealthCare Community Network; Dr. Sandeep Varma, chief of medicine at Backus Hospital; and Dr. Cunegundo Vergara, medical director of Hartford Hospital’s community health clinics.

St. Vincent’s Boasts State’s PA of the Year

By Robin Stanley

Pictured: Mark Turczak, PA, left, poses with Brooke Sullivan, PA, after she was named the Connecticut Academy of PAs Physician Assistant of the Year. Turczak nominated her for the recognition.

Brooke Sullivan has had many “firsts” in her career as a physician assistant (PA) at St. Vincent’s Medical Center (SVMC) — she was one of the first PA’s then the first lead PA in the emergency department and SVMC’s first advanced practice manager.

It should come as no surprise, then, that her pioneering career earned her the esteemed title of Connecticut Academy of PAs (ConnAPA) Physician Assistant of the Year.

“She is a PA leader who has paved the pathway for many others to follow at St. Vincent’s,” said Mark Turczak, a physician assistant in the SVMC ED who nominated Sullivan for the award. “She is always there to teach and guide her fellow PA’s, bringing out the best potential in others and setting the foundation for strong teams.”

Sullivan started at SVMC in 2008 as one of two PA’s in the emergency department. As other PA’s were hired, she took on the role of training and onboarding. Now in her position as advanced practice manager, she oversees PA’s and APRNs in the ED, acute care surgery/trauma, heart failure and maternal medicine. She also serves as a leader for PA’s and APRNs for the Hartford HealthCare Medical Group in the Fairfield Region.

“I am very proud to be a physician assistant and the career path I’ve had,” Sullivan said. “The field of advanced practice is growing and I like being able to pave the way for future PA’s and APRNs. It is a privilege to be able to advocate for the APPs at St. Vincent’s and be a leader for them.”

“She is a PA leader who has paved the pathway for many others to follow at St. Vincent’s.”


Sullivan graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in nutritional sciences but knew that being a PA was her true calling. After working as a nutritionist for a few years, she went back to school and received a master’s degree in health sciences and certificate of completion as a physician assistant at Quinnipiac University.

On being named the ConnAPA PA of the year, Sullivan said, “I was completely surprised and very humbled. I know some of the award recipients from previous years and I have an incredible amount of respect for them. Peer recognition is truly the highest form of recognition, and I am very grateful to receive that honor. This award is extremely meaningful to me and a highlight of my career.”

Collaborative Leader Steps in as HHC MG’s First Director of Nursing

By Chris Wojcik

Pictured: Stacy Bentil, DNP

In an effort to align with the system’s goal of elevating nursing, Hartford HealthCare Medical Group (HHC MG) recently appointed Stacy Bentil, DNP, its first director of nursing.

In this new role, Bentil focuses on advancing professional nursing practice and working with HHC MG and system leadership to achieve excellence in patient care and experience.

The new position was created within HHC MG also follows the system’s aim to build systems that support the ability or nurses to practice at the top of their license. With more than 400 nurses and medical assistants providing care across HHC MG, this role underscores the commitment to supporting a growing team providing care to patients in both primary and specialty care settings.

Bentil brings a lifetime of experience in nursing, starting as a CNA before advancing to RN. Her professional career has focused mainly on ambulatory care, and she worked in a skilled nursing facility, a wound care center and, most recently, an endoscopy center.

Having recently earned a doctorate in nursing practice from Quinnipiac University, Bentil described her leadership style as inclusive and transformational, as she turns to nurses with a collaborative approach to improving processes and workflow.

“When building a team, they need to know you are there for them,” she explained. “You need to be an authentic leader, transparent, build respect with the staff and have interdisciplinary relationships.”

IOL Leader Earns a Top Canadian Honor

By Tim LeBouthillier

Pictured Dr. Javeed Sukhera

Dr. Javeed Sukhera, chair of psychiatry at the Institute of Living (IOL), received one of Canada’s most prestigious awards for work done to advocate for safer communities and assisting those in need.

Dr. Sukhera was one of 22 people to receive the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship, the Canadian province’s second highest award for civilians.

According to an official government release, recipients are ambassadors of Ontario Spirit and role models for everyone in the province. The Honorable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, lieutenant governor of Ontario, and Billy Pang, parliamentary assistant to the minister of citizenship and multiculturalism, presided at a virtual investiture ceremony.

“The Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship recognizes exceptional long-term contributions to our province. We have learned throughout the COVID-19 pandemic that the most simple and obvious actions can be exceptional,” Dowdeswell said. “The intention, kindness and commitment to community demonstrated by the 2019 and 2020 medal recipients inspire me and so many fellow Ontarians.

I am pleased to be able to thank them, on behalf of a grateful province, for their meaningful and vital service.”

Formerly an associate professor at Western University in Ontario and past chair of the London Police Services Board, Dr. Sukhera has relocated to Connecticut. In addition to his IOL role, he is chair of psychiatry at Hartford Hospital.

“To be given such a distinguished honor so early in one’s career is a testimony to Dr. Sukhera’s impact now and gives us a window into all he still has to contribute in his field. We are so incredibly grateful that he has chosen to build his career here with us,” said Dr. John Santopietro, senior vice president of Hartford HealthCare and physician– in–chief of the Behavioral Health Network

HHC MG Manager Lands in Top One Percent

By Maggie Werner

Pictured: Laura Stebbins

Laura Stebbins of the Hartford HealthCare Medical Group falls into a prestigious category only achieved by 1% of people in her field.

Stebbins, manager of continuous improvement for population health and process manager for patient prep Lean pillar, was named to the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS), the nation’s largest accredited leadership honor society.

Created to recognize, cultivate and honor leaders while making a lasting, positive change in the world, NSLS is an elite organization. Only 8% of students nationwide will be nominated and only 1% will complete its certification process.

Stebbins is now in that 1%. Enrolled in Capella University’s flexpath bachelor’s to master’s program for health administration, her outstanding 3.8 cumulative grade point average, combined with her interest in additional educational opportunities for leadership growth, led to her NSLS nomination.

“The knowledge I have gained from participating in the NSLS program has been extremely meaningful and impactful in my work,” she said. “Through NSLS workgroups and peer support opportunities, I learned tactics that incorporate not only into my own work, but also into the work of those around me. Through live educational broadcasts from successful leaders such as former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, I learned how to communicate in a meaningful way and how to approach situations in different ways.”

Hearing the varying backgrounds and paths these leaders took to reach where they are today proved inspiring for her.

“A quote from President Obama that stood out to me was, ‘The people who do great things is not because they did everything perfectly, but because they had clarity about direction and what matters to them.’ To me, this highlights progress, not perfection. Not everything goes perfectly on the first attempt, but if the first approach doesn’t work, change the approach but never the goal,” Stebbins said.

BJI Central Processing Educator Named to International Board

By Steve Coates

Pictured: Sarah Cruz

Sarah Cruz, quality education program development coordinator for the Hartford HealthCare Bone & Joint Institute, was elected to the Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA) Board of Directors.

Cruz, who also supports sterile processing education across Hartford HealthCare, was selected among 50 nominees for one of three open director positions.

“I am beyond honored to be given the opportunity to serve my industry and represent frontline sterile processing professionals at this level,” Cruz said.

HSPA is the premiere organization for sterile processing professionals worldwide, serving more than 40,000 members and certification holders.

Saving Time in an Emergency? There’s an App for That

By Brian Spyros / Photo by Jeff Evans

Points of Pride

Backus Emergency Medical Services coordinator Jeffrey Way shows off the new software platform Twiage.

A new app that combines the immediacy of Twitter with the patient triage process to save time in emergency medical situations recently debuted at Hartford HealthCare to ensure patients receive timely, well-coordinated care.

Dubbed Twiage, the app is a pre-hospital, two-way communication system that allows EMTs and paramedics to communicate directly and effectively with doctors, nurses and medical personnel before arriving with a critically ill or injured patient. Hartford HealthCare is the first fully integrated healthcare system in the northeast to use Twiage.

“Twiage is a game-changer when it comes to patient care,” said Kevin Ferrarotti, senior system director for Hartford HealthCare Emergency Medical Services. “Ordinarily, when an EMS company is en route to a hospital, they depend on radios, which can sometimes be intermittent based on service. Passing along information can also involve multiple people. It’s like playing a game of telephone.”

Twiage eliminates communication barriers by directly supplying clinical teams at the hospital

with real-time information. An EMT or paramedic can send the information in 20 seconds or less, whereas it would sometimes take a few minutes over the radio, Ferrarotti said.

For example, if someone is involved in a serious car accident, EMTs can use Twiage to pre-register the patient and send detailed, confidential information to the hospital about vital signs and injuries. Photos can even be sent.

Hospital staff can assess the situation, determine the best course of action for the patient, activate their trauma team if needed, and have everyone in place and ready to go so the moment the patient arrives so care begins right away.

“This results in faster treatment for the patient because we’ve already assembled the care team based on the information coming to us through Twiage. We can even track EMS arrival by GPS so we know exactly where they are and when they’ll be coming through our doors,” said Dr. David Buono, chief of emergency medicine at The Hospital of Central Connecticut.