In addition to working, raising families and enjoying hobbies, many Hartford HealthCare colleagues give of their time and talents in a variety of ways. From coaching youth sports to holding elected office to tackling projects that enhance our world, you’re out there at night and on weekends giving of yourself. This new feature in Moments will highlight those efforts. If you want to let us know about the work you or a colleague is doing, please email Susan McDonald at

One Woman Plans Assault on Gun Violence

By Leaja Johnson
Jennifer Torres

“Turtle in a shell” is how Jen Torres describes herself, that is until it involves her family.

Torres, office manager for the Ayer Neuroscience Institute Neuro-opthamology Department in Hartford, grew up in the inner city of Hartford, where gun violence was and still is a norm.

She has never personally been a victim of gun violence but family members have and she lends support.

nd she lends support. “I feel most people [know someone] — it is absolutely out of control,” says the 40-year-old mother of three.

In August 2020, Torres’s son lost his brother at a party. Three years later, her grandson lost his father, the first of eight deaths in a six-day streak in Hartford. Both murders were two days apart and suspects are incarcerated, but she says her family awaits convictions.

The source of the issues, she says, is “a trickle effect. As time and technology progresses, it all ties into the poor choices people make.” She points to everything from music to social media to lack of communication, saying people would rather resort to violence than find a solution to a problem.

As the shoulder her family can lean on as they grieve — “I have to hide my pain to support my loved ones and take their pain away” — Torres feels the emotional struggle but vows to spark change.

“Everyone has their own views. The people who are taking the stand are the ones who have been affected,” says Torres, an Oxford resident and member of the SOMOS Colleague Resource Group. “The word of the community is how we help.”

She plans to “start here” at Hartford HealthCare, with colleagues, making sure they have a safe, comfortable space free from stigma and judgment.

She also plans to collaborate with other CRGs to create and maintain an active community presentence in black and brown communities.

Anyone interested in being part of her anti-violence efforts can contact her at

The Birth of Connecticut Healthcare Champions

By Steve Coates
Just like championship teams, Hartford HealthCare accolades were hoisted on banners as part of the new television ads.

By any measure, 2023 was a banner year for Hartford HealthCare. One of a few health systems in the country where all hospitals earned straight A grades for safety from the Leapfrog Group, and having cardiac surgery and kidney transplant programs ranking as best in the nation, we launched a statewide marketing campaign this winter to highlight our excellence in care and how we’ve built the teams that have made us one of the elite health systems in country.

Drawing on a sports analogy, we created two TV commercials: One showing a local basketball player’s rise to stardom and the NBA; the other capturing the intensity of our cardiac surgery team as they prepare for a life-saving procedure.

All people appearing in the spots are from Connecticut, including our colleagues and 10-year-old Hartford native Nolan McBride, the top under-18 player in the country who was born at Hartford Hospital.

The campaign also includes digital and social media advertising, billboards and appearances by our experts promoting excellence on local TV stations.