CAREER PULSE – April 2017

Semaan Joins Staff of Berkshire Health Systems

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Health Systems announced the appointment of Dr. Elie Semaan, a vascular surgeon, to the medical staff of Berkshire Medical Center and the physician staff of Berkshire Surgical Services of BMC.

Semaan is accepting new patients in need of vascular care, and joins Drs. Michael Cohn, Eugene Curletti, Michael DiSiena, Christian Galvez, Andrew Lederman, Robert Lincer, Clayton Peterson, and George Veinoglou at Berkshire Surgical Services of BMC.

Semaan comes to the Berkshires from New Hampshire, where he operated a vascular surgery practice for the past year. Previously, he was director of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at NYC Surgical Associates in New York, and has also served as assistant professor in Vascular Surgery at Cornell-Weill Medical College and University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix.

Semaan is board-certified in vascular and general surgery. He was fellowship-trained in vascular surgery at Boston University Medical Center. He completed his residency in general surgery at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn. He received his medical degree from St. George’s University School of Medicine, Grenada, West Indies.

For an appointment with Semaan, ask your physician for a referral or call Berkshire Surgical Services of BMC at (413) 445-6420.

South Deerfield Rehab Clinic Welcomes Hegeman

SOUTH DEERFIELD — People value the use of their hands. Therefore, any loss of function through injury or disease can devastate lives.

Certified hand therapist (CHT) Gail Hegeman welcomes patients seeking evaluation and treatment of injuries and conditions of the hands and upper extremities, including fingers, wrists, and elbows, at the Cooley Dickinson South Deerfield Rehab Services Clinic, 21 B Elm St.

“Hands are the gateway through which people interact with their world — be it at home, work, sports, or playing musical instruments,” said Hegeman, who is also certified in ergonomics. “I chose hand therapy as a career because I find it to be the most rewarding specialty of rehab: to assist patients in reclaiming their ability to function and lead meaningful lives.”

Hegeman has practiced as an occupational therapist at Cooley Dickinson for 17 years. She has been instrumental in the leadership of Cooley Dickinson’s outpatient Hand and Upper Limb Rehab program.

She earned her master’s degree in occupational therapy from Western Michigan University in 1993, and then became certified in ergonomics in 2001. She specializes in treating injured musicians. As a musician herself, Hegeman has helped many injured instrumentalists in the Pioneer Valley return to play.

Hegeman has been credentialed by the Hand Therapy Certification Commission since 1999. In order to renew and maintain this certification at the end of each five-year period, CHTs must demonstrate current knowledge in the profession through work experience and professional-development activities, or by taking the examination again. Hegeman has successfully renewed her hand-therapy certification every five years since attaining her CHT credentials.

There are fewer than 200 CHTs in Massachusetts, and approximately 5,600 individuals worldwide that have earned the CHT designation.

Area residents are invited to meet Hegeman, physical therapists Terry McKeown and Alicia Robinson, and occupational therapist Rebecca Dejnak on Saturday, April 29, from 9:30 a.m. to noon, at the newly expanded rehabilitation clinic at 21B Elm St., South Deerfield.

For additional information or to schedule an appointment with Hegeman, call the Cooley Dickinson South Deerfield Rehab Services Clinic at (413) 665-7427.

Wassif Joins BMP – Mary Lane Specialists

WARE — Dr. Heba Wassif, cardiologist, recently joined Baystate Medical Practices – Mary Lane Specialists in Ware.

Wassif joined Baystate Health in 2015, serving as the cardiology consultant for the Tufts Medical School Western Campus in Springfield. In addition to seeing patients in Ware, she provides cardiology care at the Heart and Vascular Program at Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield.

“We are proud to welcome Dr. Wassif to our medical staff,” said Dr. David Maguire, chief medical officer for Baystate Health’s Eastern Region, which includes Baystate Mary Lane and Baystate Wing Hospital. “We believe that providing top-quality, community-based cardiology care is critical for the health of our patients.”

Wassif attended medical school at Cairo University in Egypt. As a medical student, she was selected to participate in the international exchange scholar rotation program through the scientific society. Upon graduation, she completed an externship in cardiology at the Royal Infirmary in Bristol, England and her anesthesiology externship at Abbott-North Western Hospital in Minneapolis, Minn.

Wassif served as an internal-medicine resident at the University of Minnesota Hospital and Clinic and as the chief resident for the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center. She completed her cardiology fellowship at John Hopkins Hospital/School of Medicine, Baltimore, and an interventional cardiology fellowship with additional advanced cardiology training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Boston. Wassif is fluent in English, French, and Arabic, and speaks some Spanish.

To make an appointment with Wassif, call (413) 967-2860.

Springfield College’s Goh Earns Young Scholar Award

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College Assistant Professor of Physical Education Tan Leng Goh recently received the 2017 Hally Beth Poindexter Young Scholar Award presented by the National Assoc. for Kinesiology in Higher Education (NAKHE). The award was presented at the annual NAKHE Conference in Orlando, Fla.

“Tan Leng Goh’s recent award from NAKHE is a true testament to her commitment to her scholarly work,” said Tracey Matthews, dean of the Springfield College School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation. “I look forward to her continued scholarly successes at Springfield College.”

During the 2017 NAKHE’s annual conference, Goh presented her paper, titled “Children’s Physical Activity and On-task Behavior Following Active Academic Lessons.”

The presentation focused on the amount of hours a day children remain sitting when receiving academic instruction. Goh hypothesizes that sitting for an extended amount of time is detrimental to children’s physical health, and may cause off-task behavior in the classroom. The purpose of the study was to examine the effect of active academic lessons on children’s physical activity and on-task behavior.

The NAKHE organization provides a forum for interdisciplinary ideas, concepts, and issues related to the role of kinesiology subdisciplines in higher education with respect for social, cultural, and personal perspectives.

Kinesiology is an academic discipline that involves the study of physical activity and its impact on health, society, and quality of life. It includes, but is not limited to, such areas of study as exercise science, sports management, athletic training and sports medicine, sociocultural analyses of sports, sport and exercise psychology, fitness leadership, physical-education teacher education, and pre-professional training for physical therapy, occupational therapy, medicine, and other health-related fields.

Hampshire Cardiovascular Associates Welcomes Rodriguez

NORTHAMPTON — Cooley Dickinson Health Care recently welcomed Dr. John Rodriguez to the Cooley Dickinson medical staff and Hampshire Cardiovascular Associates.

Rodriguez studied biochemical sciences as an undergraduate at Harvard University, attended medical school at Mount Sinai in New York City, and completed his internal-medicine residency at North Shore-LJI on Long Island. He trained at North Shore-LJI for his cardiology fellowship and sought additional training in cardiac electrophysiology at Brown University and Lahey Clinic.

Rodriguez’s medical interests focus largely on cardiac arrhythmias, atrial fibrillation, and electrophysiology, and he has extensive specialized training in the implantation of pacemakers, defibrillators, loop recorders, and other biomedical devices.

“Communication and education are the keystones of my practice,” he says. “As a heart-rhythm specialist, my primary focus is providing relief of symptoms caused by heart-rhythm disturbances. However, I believe this is best done as a collaborative effort, looking at all possible methods of multi-disciplinary care and comprehensive risk-factor management by medical specialists and nutritionists.”

To make an appointment or for more information, call (413) 570-4900.

Friedmann Authors Article on ACA Repeal, Opioid Crisis

SPRINGFIELD — Last month, the New England Journal of Medicine published an article titled “How ACA Repeal Would Worsen the Opioid Epidemic,” whose lead author is Dr. Peter Friedmann, chief research officer for Baystate Health, who is a nationally recognized addiction-medicine expert.

“Although the Affordable Care Act was not designed with the opioid epidemic in mind, it provides valuable tools for expanding access to medication treatment — major health-insurance coverage expansion through Medicaid and the establishment of state health-insurance marketplaces, inclusion of addiction treatment as an essential health benefit that existing insurance plans must cover, and requirements that benefits for treatment of opioid-use disorder be provided at parity with coverage of medical and surgical procedures,” the article notes.

At its conclusion, the authors argue that “the opioid epidemic cuts across the lines of political polarization, touching nearly every community in this country. All of them will lose if the ACA is repealed and not replaced by a plan with comparable coverage and parity for treatment of opioid-use disorders.”

Over the years, Friedmann has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for work examining the organization of addiction-treatment services, implementation of evidence-based interventions for substance-use disorders, and the role of physicians in the diagnosis and management of unhealthy substance use. He is also associate editor of the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment and Alcohol, Other Drugs, and Health: Current Evidence.