Career Pulse – April 16

Houff Named Director of Physician Services for HMC Specialty Practices
HOLYOKE — Spiros Hatiras, President and CEO of Holyoke Medical Center, announced the appointment of Michael Houff as director of Physician Services for the HMC Specialty Practices as well as Western Massachusetts Physician Associates.
Houff brings more than 20 years of extensive healthcare leadership experience in executive-level physician-group management, project consulting, revenue-cycle management, hospital outpatient operations, managed-care payer and provider operations, and IT implementations.
He most recently served Meridian Medical Management in Windsor, Conn. as director of operations and, before that, Hampden County Physician Associates, LLC in Springfield as chief operating officer, vice president of operations and director of operations.
“Mike brings the leadership necessary to help Holyoke Medical Center and Western Mass Physician Associates provide the highest levels of patient care and satisfaction,” said Hatiras. “His experience in managing physician services will be an asset to ensuring that our providers and office staff continue to deliver high-quality and compassionate care to our patients.”
Houff graduated from American University in Washington, D.C. with a bachelor’s degree in international affairs and received a master’s degree in general administration health care management from the University of Maryland in 1996. From 1988 to 1992, he served as active-duty combat arms officer in the U.S. Army and then worked for Kaiser Permanente in Rocky Hill, Conn., Tulane University Hospital and Clinic in New Orleans, and GE Healthcare.
“I really wanted to get back to the patient-care-delivery side of the business of healthcare,” said Houff of working at HMC. “It’s a much more meaningful mission to know that what you’re doing every day in outpatient operations has a real impact on people’s lives. Helping people who are going through very difficult times with their health issues and being able to help them have one good day among many bad ones is a really good motivation.”
As primary support to the providers and support staff of HMC Specialty Practices and Western Mass Physician Associates, Houff will work on quality-improvement initiatives to analyze, implement, and manage process-improvement projects, patient-satisfaction issues, and quality issues in order to ensure each patient receives high-quality care.

Molin Joins Berkshire Osteopathic Health of BMC
PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Health Systems announced the appointment of Dr. Nina Molin, a board-certified internal-medicine practitioner, to the physician staff of Berkshire Osteopathic Health of BMC. She joins Dr. Stephen Kisiel and Dr. Mary Yee at the practice. Molin is accepting new patients in need of primary care and integrative medicine services.
A veteran of both private and academic practice in the Berkshires since 1995, Molin received her medical degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook School of Medicine, and completed her residency in primary-care internal medicine from the University of Rochester.
Molin is presently a fellow in the Integrative Medicine Fellowship of the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine, where she is the recipient of the Council for Responsible Nutrition scholarship. She has served as associate professor of Medicine at UMass Medical School.
Molin served at Canyon Ranch in Lenox for 13 years as an integrative medicine specialist, lecturing and consulting in many areas, including integrative medicine, preventive medicine, women’s health, digestive wellness, inflammatory conditions, and Ayurveda. She has offered integrative-medicine consultations in her private practice, Ananda Health, and has offered primary care throughout the Berkshires since 1995, including as a volunteer physician at Berkshire Volunteers in Medicine.
As a physician of internal medicine and integrative medicine, Molin interfaces the sciences of nutrition and lifestyle medicine with internal medicine and the wisdom of the ancient traditions of Ayurveda so her clients can regain and maintain health and sustain long-lasting vitality and joy, she explained.
For an appointment with Molin for primary care or a consultation in integrative medicine, call Berkshire Osteopathic Health of BMC at (413) 442-0085.

Clinical & Support Options Welcomes Ekstrom
NORTHAMPTON — Clinical & Support Options (CSO) announced the appointment of Deborah Ekstrom to the position of vice president of Strategic Development.
“I am happy to be back in the Valley helping CSO grow into, and with, the future of mental healthcare,” said Ekstrom, who will be leading the way for CSO with the shifting landscape of mental health as the agency focuses on key strategies to improve quality, access, and integration with the physical-health field.
Ekstrom is returning to the Pioneer Valley after 24 years away. She served as president and CEO of Community Healthlink (CHL) in Worcester for more than 16 years. Previous to CHL, she worked with the Franklin County Mental Health Assoc. She earned her master’s degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
“This is an exciting time within our industry in terms of opportunities for behavioral-healthcare providers to truly impact the overall health of our communities and of those we serve, and enter into strategic partnerships to further improve access and quality of care,” said Allison Garriss, CSO’s director of Business Development & Projects. “Deborah’s expertise and experience within the industry is a complement to the CSO team, and we look forward to her leadership in the continued development of strong programming and partnerships to help the agency, our community, and our clients thrive.”

Fabbo Joins Wilbraham Commission on Disabilities
SPRINGFIELD — Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C., a leading labor and employment law firm serving employers in the Greater Springfield area, announced that attorney Marylou Fabbo was appointed by the Wilbraham Board of Selectmen to the Wilbraham Commission on Disabilities.
The commission provides information, referral, and technical assistance to individuals, businesses, and organizations in all matters pertaining to disability. The commission acts as an advocate for disabled people, family members, and caregivers. The commission also advises and assists Wilbraham businesses and municipal officials in ensuring compliance with disability laws. Fabbo’s involvement on the commission will include promoting awareness of disability-related issues and assisting in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and state disabilities laws.
Fabbo, a partner in the Springfield office of Skoler, Abbott & Presser, joined the firm in 1995. As head of the firm’s litigation team, she practices in all areas of employment litigation. She provides counsel to management on taking proactive steps to reduce the risk of legal liability that may be imposed as the result of illegal employment practices and defends employers who are faced with lawsuits and administrative charges filed by current and former employers.
Fabbo is a frequent speaker on employment-related topics. She conducts extensive management training, is a published author, and has repeatedly been included on the list of Super Lawyers by Boston magazine.
“I am honored to be given this opportunity to work with the residents of Wilbraham and address the challenges that face disabled individuals,” she said. “My goal is to work with committee members to make sure that the proper accommodations are being made throughout our community.”

Springfield College’s Van Dyke Earns Award
SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College athletic counseling graduate student Erika Van Dyke recently was awarded the 2016 American Psychological Assoc. Division 47 Thesis Award for her thesis, titled “Exploring Relationships Among Self-talk and Balance-beam Performance in Gymnastics.”
This award recognizes outstanding student research that has the greatest potential for making a significant contribution to the theoretical and applied knowledge base in exercise and sport psychology.
“This is such a special accomplishment not just for me, but the entire research team that worked on this project — colleagues, faculty, everyone,” said Van Dyke. “I can’t thank my advisor, Judy Van Raalte, enough. She has been so supportive and helped make this research project possible. We’re working with a topic that is tough to measure the results, but we found that gymnasts who use positive self-talk performed at a higher level.”
Van Dyke and her colleagues analyzed female gymnasts ranging in age from 18 to 23 years old who have attended 30 NCAA Division I colleges and universities. The focus of the research was to examine the self-talk of the gymnasts, test their belief in self-talk effectiveness, and examine their competitive performance and performance consistency when performing balance-beam routines during intercollegiate meets.
“One of my favorite aspects of the athletic training master’s program is the experience you receive out in the field, and how it applies to what we learn in the classroom,” said Van Dyke. “The program was the foundation for me to rely on when conducting my research, and it’s a big reason why we were able to receive such a prestigious award.”

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