The Residency Update

     E-Newsletter of  the UMass Fitchburg Family Medicine Residency

October  2010
Inside This Edition
New Health Center Breaks Ground!
News Around the Residency
A Conversation With...James Ledwith, MD
Celebrations and Congratulations!
New Health Center Breaks Ground!
The new health center is on the way! Physicians and other dignitaries from around the state came to Fitchburg on September 27 to celebrate construction of the new facility for our health center - and future home for our Family Medicine residency! The building should be completed by early 2012. Read more here.
During the festivities, Congressman John Olver honored Beth Mazyck, MD (
Director of Medical Education and Senior VP of Clinical Services at CHC) for 30 years of service in the U.S. Army (both active duty and reserves), as well as community service to Fitchburg for the past 14 years. She was presented with a flag with the intention that the flag be flown in front of the new health center once it is built. Dr. Mazyck also received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition (below):
 Congressman John Olver presents Beth Mazyck, MD with an award during Monday's festivities.

Breaking ground on 9/27: from left, Nicholas Apostoleris, PhD; CHC President Mick Huppert; James Ledwith, MD and Beth Mazyck, MD

Architectural rendering of the new health center, scheduled to be completed by early 2012. 
Thank you to Dawn Casavant, Vice President of Community Relations and Development at CHC for providing these photos.            
   News Around The Residency  
HRSA Grants
Our department was fortunate to receive five separate educational grants in the most recent cycle of grant applications to HRSA, apparently more than at any other medical school!

The Fitchburg residency's Caring for Vulnerable Populations (CVP) Project will create a curriculum and training program to train residents to deliver high quality care to a vulnerable elderly population.  The lessons learned in the initial phases of this project will guide implementation of similar curriculum impacting vulnerable groups, including care of children, pregnancy, chronic pain, substance abuse, and behavioral health disorders. The project will immediately support faculty in preparation of curriculum enhancement, skills workshops, and initiation of our long term care center training program. Our total grant award will be approximately $780,000 over five years. 
Principal Investigator Jim Ledwith, MD will work with Sury Venkat, MD: Nic Apostoleris, PhD;  Peter McConarty, MD; Stefan Topolski, MD and Kathi Riggert, DO in implementing the curriculum. Special appreciation for tremendous effort go to Elaine DesJardins and Karen Rayla for assuring an effective submission.  We appreciate the contributions and support of our entire faculty: Beth Mazyck, MD; Vice Chairs Bob Baldor and Warren Ferguson, CHC's Mick Huppert, Patrick Muldoon of HealthAlliance, and Dr. Kim Ebb and the Highlands staff.
HealthAlliance Wins Most Wired Award for Third Consecutive Year!
HealthAlliance Hospital has earned national recognition after being named to the list of the Top 25 Most Wireless Hospitals in the country. The survey is conducted annually by Hospitals & Health Networks. The award recipients are selected based upon five key areas:  Safety and Quality, Customer Service, Business Processes, Workforce, and Public Health and Safety.

Despite an increasingly competitive field of applicants, this is the third year in a row that HealthAlliance Hospital received this distinction. In 2008, the hospital also received the award in the Most Wired - Most Improved category. For this year's award, HealthAlliance Hospital was selected from 1,280 hospitals nationwide!  
Chief Resident Sean Haley, MD is conducting a Geriatrics care and education project as a result of the Chief Resident Immersion Training in Geriatrics held in May 2010. Sean will design and implement a project to systematically use the Confusion Assessment Method (CAM) for diagnosing delirium in the hospitalized elderly. Sury Venkat, MD is his advisor in the project.  

The Community Health Connections Behavioral Health Department is now involved with all four of the Fitchburg CHC/FFMRP teams. Jen Cruickshank (formerly Oelfke) is now a member of the Green Team and Kirsten Jettinghoff is now a member of the Yellow Team. They join Wade Munroe (Red) and Kate Bettencourt (Blue) as Fitchburg "Team Players."

On October 19, our Department will host a Visiting Professorship with Fitzhugh Mullan, the Murdock Head Professor of Medicine and Health Policy at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. His topic for the town meeting will be "The Social Responsibility of Health Care Professionals."  In order that residents may attend, Nic Apostoleris, PhD will hold Balint in Worcester that day from 1:30-2:30 pm (location to be determined.) 

Felix Chang, MD would like to bring the residents' attention to an article that appeared in the August 2010 issue of The Journal of Family Practice. On pages 459, please refer to "Photo Rounds: Painful rash on face: What is your diagnosis? How would you treat this patient?"

Our applicant numbers for recruiting season continue to run significantly ahead of last year's at this time. Interviews will begin the first week of November and applicants will view a brand-new recruitment video produced especially for our program by Grace Fitzpatrick with input from our residents.
In mid-September, our five new Fitchburg interns joined the Worcester interns at the annual Intern Retreat at the YMCA Camp Harrington & Retreat Center in Boylston. 
  An October Conversation with...
James Ledwith, MD, Residency Director
     UMass Fitchburg Family Medicine Residency 

Five years after joining the faculty of Fitchburg Family Medicine, Dr. James Ledwith doesn't hesitate when asked what brought him to North Worcester County after 19 years of practicing family medicine in rural Virginia. 

"I made a timely decison to move closer to my parents who were not as vigorous as they used to be and I wanted to help prevent further health problems for them," he explains of his 2005 move from Tappahannock, VA to Fitchburg, MA. Now living in Franklin, the New Jersey native took a few minutes to talk about his passion for teaching residents and his commitment to caring for families. 

Dr. Ledwith spent parts of his boyhood in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania before finishing high school in New Jersey. He majored in Chemistry as an undergraduate at the College of William and Mary, where he says he might have pursued biomedical research instead of medicine were it not for the influence of his older sister, a family physician. He chose to attend the Medical College of Virginia, now the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine (VCU) and matched at the W.W. Family Practice Residency at the Toledo Hospital in Ohio, where he served as Chief Resident before graduating in 1986.

After several years sharing a practice with a family physician in the town of Aylett, Virginia, Dr. Ledwith set up his own practice in Tappahannock, Virginia where he would spend the next 19 years caring for multiple generations of families. As Assistant Clinical Professor of Family Practice at VCU from 1988-2005, Dr. Ledwith mentored and precepted medical students who rotated through his practice. He also worked with the
AAFP's National Research Network and its predecessor ASPN, and was involved in
developing early studies of error in primary care practice as a member of the AAFP 
Patient Safety Center Advisory Panel.

While visiting residency programs in Massachusetts in 2005, Dr. Ledwith instinctively knew the type of residents he wanted to teach. "The residents needed to have a passion for their patients and a commitment to their work. I really felt at home in Fitchburg." After three years on faculty, he became Residency Director in 2008. 

Dr. Ledwith and his family live in Franklin, where he enjoys "biking, swimming, hiking and sitting down with a good novel."  Noting that Tappahannock had a population of only 3,000 people during his years there, he seems to suggest that while a physician may leave a rural community behind, perhaps a small community never really leaves a physician.  "I'd probaby best be described as still being a small-town doctor with a passion for working with the community."  
Michael Smith would like to thank Dr. Ledwith for generously sharing his time in speaking with him for this profile.   
                               Celebrations and Congratulations!
The residency was sad to say farewell to 
Aaron Way, DO on September 30. Dr. Way, who graduated from the Fitchburg residency in 2008 and has served as an attending physician since graduation, is a native of Hope Valley, RI and will be returning to his home state to join the practice of Dr. Jeffreys Bardola in Wakefield, RI, where he will practice outpatient family medicine. 

Dr. Way will be working as a hospitalist part-time at South County Hospital and will provide alcohol and drug treatment at Meadows Edge Recovery in North Kingstown, RI.
The entire residency family wishes Dr. Way luck on this next step in his career!

Aaron Way, DO and Elaine Desjardins at Dr. Way's farewell celebration
We are delighted to post in this space our first official Fitchburg residency baby photo! Congratulations to Raj Hazarika, MD and his wife Suwagmani on the birth of their daughter Maya on August 29, 2010. Maya weighed in at 6 lbs. 4 oz and was 17 inches in length. All are doing well!

The Hazarika family
Peter McConarty, MD and Beth Mazyck, MD (with the residency practice at Community Health Connections) were recognized for high performance in quality and cost-efficiency measures by the Tufts Health Plan. In letters to the physicians, the Tufts Health Plan announced the award of the Blue Ribbon designation, reserved for the top 25% of of primary care providers. Congratulations!

Last but never least....Happy October Birthdays to...

10/23 Rocio Nordfelt (PGY-1)
10/30 Ana Russ (PGY-3 )
Got news for our next newsletter?
Contact Dr. Ledwith at 
or Michael Smith, Associate Director of Admissions, at