Clinical Lessons from the Northeast Surge

COVID-19: Spread the Science, NOT the Virus Webinar Series

Clinical Lessons from the Northeast Surge

Tuesdays 4:00 pm ET | July 21 - September 29, 2020


The Northeast Hospital Associations responded to the first surge of COVID-19 in the United States this spring by promoting collaboration and knowledge-sharing among states, hospital associations, hospitals and clinicians. The hospital associations shared their lessons learned at the state level; now, the clinicians want to share their experience with their colleagues across the country.

Join the Jefferson College of Population Health and the Northeast Hospital Associations weekly on Tuesdays at 4:00 p.m. from July 21st to September 29th to learn about approaches to and solutions for the clinical dilemmas that arose during our surge. 

Space is limited to the first 500 attendees; recordings for all the Spread the Science, NOT the Virus sessions will be available on demand on Jefferson Digital Commons.

Upcoming Sessions

Presented by the Foundation for Healthy Communities, the community health and quality partner of the New Hampshire Hospital Association

COVID-19 has had significant impacts on behavioral health and substance use and their treatment.  This webinar will focus on a trauma informed approach to care for patients seeking treatment for behavioral health issues and substance use disorder, as well as current research on the impact of the virus on substance use patterns and treatment delivery.


Nancy Fennell, MA

Nancy Fennell, MA, joined the Foundation for Healthy Communities as its Program Director of the Behavioral Health Clinical Learning Collaborative in 2019.  Under a two-year grant, Nancy has led the initiation of the learning collaborative using her collaborative skills to bring together stakeholders dedicated to addressing the behavioral health crisis in New Hampshire.  Nancy is passionate about helping to improve the care and patient experience for those dealing with behavioral health issues, as well as to support health systems that are caring for patients who are boarded in hospital emergency rooms while they await placement for appropriate care.  Prior to joining the Foundation for Healthy Communities, Nancy had an extended career working in health care project management, health information data exchange, and advancing meaningful use for clinical practices.  

Bianca Ciuffredo, LCMHC

Bianca Ciuffredo has been a clinician at the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester for 8 years. Her areas of specialty include emergency assessment, severe and persistent mental illness, and community advocacy. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology at Saint Anselm College, and her Master of Arts degree in mental health counseling from Rivier University. She has since obtained her mental health counseling license in the state of New Hampshire. Bianca has experience conducting diagnostic assessments, working as an Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) clinician, and conducting evaluations in the emergency room setting for clients who are experiencing mental health crises. Bianca is often recognized for her compassion, rapport-building skills, and deep understanding of thought disorders. She utilizes a multi-modal framework in her practice, which includes mindfulness, CBT, LEAP, positive psychology, and trauma-informed care.

Dan Andrus, MS, MPA

Dan Andrus, MS, MPA, joined the staff of the Foundation for Health Communities in 2020 as the Director of Substance Use Disorder Treatment Projects after a 40-year career in the fire and emergency services arena.  He served as the Fire Chief of Concord, New Hampshire for over 11 years and lead and participated in many collaborative projects to address homelessness, behavioral health, injury prevention, and substance use.  

Seddon Savage, MD

Seddon Savage currently serves as Advisor to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Substance Use and Mental Health Initiative (SUMHI) developing provider, trainee, and staff education aimed at optimizing the care of persons with substance use and mental health challenges.  She serves on New Hampshire Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and other Drugs and Chairs the Commission’s Opioid Task Force and its Healthcare Task Force.  Dr. Savage served as Medical Director of the Chronic Pain and Recovery Center at Silver Hill Hospital in Connecticut from March 2012 through April 2018 and as Director of the Dartmouth Center on Addiction Recovery & Education (DCARE) from September 2004 through February 2016.  She is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Anesthesiology on the faculty of the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. Dr. Savage served as President of the American Pain Society from May 2010 through May 2012 and as President of the New Hampshire Medical Society in 2007.  

Moderated by:

Anne Diefendorf, MS, RDN, LD

Anne joined the Foundation for Healthy Communities as its Associate Executive Director / Vice President, Quality & Patient Safety in September of 2011.   She began her hospital career as a clinical dietitian after graduating from University of New Hampshire, after which she completed her internship at St. Mary’s Hospital / Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. She earned her MS in Clinical Evaluative Sciences from Dartmouth College in 2000. Anne is actively engaged in the NH Health Care Quality and Safety Commission and other quality initiatives of the Foundation, including leading the Partnership for Patients initiative over the past 8 years. Prior to this role she served as the Director of Quality Performance at Concord Hospital.

Even though Vermont was spared the massive surge of COVID-19 experienced in other states, we witnessed similar troubling COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term care facilities (LTC). 

The University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC), Vermont’s only tertiary academic hospital, collaborated with Burlington Health and Rehabilitation and Birchwood to assist with outbreak management, a process which required partnerships with numerous other entities across our rural region. This webinar will share the experience in responding to the COVID-19 crisis, including data, successes, challenges, and recommendations from lessons learned. 


Alecia DiMario

Alecia has held various positions in the senior housing field for over 20 years, including leadership roles in Assisted Living, Continuing Care Retirement Communities, and Skilled Nursing Facilities. Alecia has been the Executive Director of Birchwood Terrace Rehab and Healthcare since joining their team in 2015.  Alecia has served on the Board of the Vermont Health Care Association since 2017 and was appointed to the Gubernatorial Commission on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders in 2018.  She is a licensed Nursing Home Administrator in multiple states, is a licensed Residential Care Facility for the Elderly Administrator, and a Nursing Home Administrator Preceptor.  

Steve Grant, MD, FHM

Steve Grant received his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan and his MD at Emory University School of Medicine.  He completed residency training in Internal Medicine at the University of Virginia Medical Center.  He began his career as a primary care physician at Fletcher Allen Health Care/The University of Vermont Medical center in 1996, then transitioned to Hospital Medicine, where he has remained in clinical practice for the past 24 years.  He has held numerous leadership positions, including Director of the Internal Medicine Hospitalist Service, Human Resources Physician Liaison to the UVM Medical Group, and most recently Associate Chief Medical Officer for Care Coordination and Patient Transitions at UVM Medical Center.  He is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Larner College of Medicine, received numerous teaching awards, and won the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine award in 2007.

Lindsay Morse, MSN/NED, RN, ACM

Lindsay is responsible for leading and coordinating the Medical Center’s transformation of care through improving care coordination, transitions of care, and hospital-community collaborations.  She leads the inpatient and outpatient case management teams, the transitions of care program, the community health improvement department and care coordination for OneCare Vermont. Prior to joining the UVM Medical Center, Lindsay was the Chief of Community Care with the Veteran’s Administration (VHA). She was responsible for the development and implementation of care coordination programs for veterans receiving care in the community as well as in the VHA systems. With over 20 years’ experience as a nurse, process improvement advocate, and an experienced healthcare leader in both payer and provider environments.  Lindsay is responsible for the understanding and facilitating the development of organizational capabilities needed to implement and sustain of population health management along with community engagement to minimize care fragmentation while improving quality of care coordination. 

Lindsay has a Master's in Nursing Education, is an Accredited Case Manager through the National Board for Case Management, and has a Lean Six-Sigma Green Belt Certification. 

Moderated by:

Emma Harrigan

Emma is an experienced director in the areas of data, development, and quality with a demonstrated history of implementing successful initiatives working with state government and with provider organizations.  As the Director of Policy, Analysis and Development at the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (VAHHS), Emma provides leadership on mental health policy and regulation, systems design, member development, and data analysis.

Prior to joining VAHHS, Emma was the Director of Quality and Accountability for the Vermont Department of Mental Health where her work focused on compliance, quality, performance improvement, report development, data systems, research, and technological infrastructure which led to a greater focus within the Department on data usage and performance accountability. Emma is a graduate of the Schreyer Honors College at Pennsylvania State University and holds a Master of Science in Psychology from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.

Previous Sessions

July 21: Managing Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) in the Setting of the COVID-19 Patient Surge

This panel of nephrologists cared for patients at the height of the spring surge in the Northeast. The aim of the webinar is to share highly technical clinical knowledge and experiences with clinicians across the country who are or will be encountering critically ill patients with Acute Kidney Injury due to COVID-19. Examples of topics include discussion of therapeutic options, use of treatment modalities, and strategies for managing scarce resources.

July 28: Obstetrics and Birthing During COVID-19

COVID-19 has added another layer of risk to pregnancy and childbirth. Women in the US already had the greatest risk of dying from pregnancy complications among 11 high-income countries (Commonwealth Fund, 2018). Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native (AI/AN) women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women (CDC, 2019).  Join clinicians from the Northeast as they talk about the strategies they utilized to lower the risk for all pregnant women under their care.

August 4: Behavioral Health & Post-acute Care

This session will review the experience for members from the New Jersey Hospital Association on both behavioral health and post-acute areas. We will discuss lessons learned and best practice on managing challenges throughout COVID-19. 

August 11: Lessons for Opportunistic Transformation

COVID-19 clearly demonstrated that rapid advances in high reliability organizing can be achieved if leaders are sensitive to operations and are appropriately opportunistic. Join us for a session that will explore transformational improvements at Jefferson Health.

August 18: Well-being of the Healthcare Workforce

The COVID-19 pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on the US healthcare system which was already experiencing higher levels of personal burnout than the average US worker.  Well-being efforts to support the workforce have become a critical countermeasure during the pandemic. Our speakers will share lessons learned and strategies to build teams and well-being in your organization.

August 25: Leading Patient Care during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Hospitals in New York were at the epicenter of the pandemic, experiencing surges of critically ill patients while facing unique situations daily. Nursing leaders were called upon to develop and implement new and innovative approaches to delivering high-quality patient care under extraordinary conditions. During this panel session, nursing leaders from New York will share lessons learned and their approach to staffing, communication, and the delivery of care.

September 1: Resumption of Scheduled Surgeries & Outpatient Procedures

During the peak of the COVID-19 surge, Pennsylvania hospitals were ordered to postpone or cancel elective surgeries and outpatient procedures. Thirty-five days later those restrictions were lifted. Learn how three hospital systems across Pennsylvania changed their policies and procedures to adhere to changing regulations while maintaining a safe environment for patients and staff.  

September 8: Coordinated Response and Business Recovery in Rural Health Care Systems

Leaders from Northern Light Health will share their experiences and lessons learned during COVID-19. A response that started with a concerned email from their supply chain leader quickly developed into a coordinated, state-wide response for a complex, full-service, rural healthcare system that 10 member hospitals, long-term care facilities, laboratory, medical transport, home care, retail pharmacies, and more.

September 15: Navigating Care Transitions During the COVID-19 Surge in Massachusetts

The process of ensuring timely and smooth transitions of patients has been magnified during COVID-19. The pandemic has highlighted coordination challenges across the continuum, requiring hospitals and post-acute care providers to communicate and collaborate more than ever before on evolving issues to ensure the safety of patients and staff. Challenges include unique patient needs, patient acceptance criteria, personal protective equipment, infection control, and patient and staff testing. This webinar will feature a discussion among Massachusetts acute and post-acute care providers regarding their strategies for managing through a pandemic and lessons learned, and for managing future surges.

The COVID-19: Spread the Science,
NOT the Virus 

webinar series was originally created by the JCPH's MPH Program to help the Jefferson Community learn what we can do about COVID-19 and its impact on public health and the healthcare system. The entire Public Health section of the series recording can be accessed here.