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Southcoast Health Employee News

The Southcoast Virtual Benefits Fair Opens Today!

October 20, 2021

Attend the Virtual Benefits Fair and see what’s changing in 2022, schedule a private online session with a Benefits Counselor, explore information on medical, dental and vision coverage, disability and life insurance, retirement plans, flexible spending accounts, voluntary benefits, wellbeing benefits, and download helpful benefits information.

To attend the Virtual Benefits Fair, go to either the Compensation & Benefits page or the Home Page on the intranet. Then click on the Virtual Benefits Fair banner at the top of the page.

COVID-19 Vaccination for Employees Available at Vanity Fair

October 20, 2021

Haven’t yet received your COVID-19 vaccine? You can get your shot at the Vanity Fair Clinic, 375 Faunce Corner Road, Dartmouth. Walk-ins welcome!

Go to the COVID-19 Vaccine Information page on the intranet for complete information on COVID-19 vaccination and clinic schedules.

Get Your Flu Shot, Employee Clinics End October 29

Southcoast employee flu clinics run through the end of October. Don’t wait, get your flu today. Together, our participation is a crucial element in helping us all stay healthy.

All of the information you need to participate in the flu vaccination program is available on the Southcoast intranet. Go to Flu Clinics for details. This includes:

  • Please note: The flu and COVID vaccines can be administered at the same time. There is no set waiting time required between receiving the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine. However, it is recommended that the vaccines be given in separate arms, not in the same arm.

FluForm – Online vaccination consent. FluForm is the Southcoast app for completing an online vaccination consent form or for submitting documentation to verify your vaccination from an outside provider.

Photo: (left to right) Philip Araujo, Laura Ribeiro
Employee Health nurse Laura Ribeiro administers flu vaccine to employee Phil Araujo.

Medical Assistants Recognition Week: October 18–22

October 20, 2021

From the moment patients walk into a Southcoast medical practice, our Medical Assistants have the best interests of those patients in mind as they complete a wide range of responsibilities. Their hard work and focus help make patients’ visits run smoothly and our providers’ schedules run efficiently.

Medical assisting is an allied health profession are vital members of the health care delivery team and perform critical administrative and clinical procedures. With their unique versatility, Medical Assistants have long proven to be important members of the health care team.

This week, we recognize our many dedicated Medical Assistants who serve patients throughout the Southcoast Health system at our medical and surgical practices. They do incredible work.

“We want to truly thank each and every Medical Assistant at Southcoast Health for their dedication and quality care provided to our patients.  It has been a rough 18 months, and you have stuck it out, worked hard and have been a constant for our community.  Your contributions to the care team are tremendous and are recognized,” say Courtney P. Ives, Vice President, Operations, Medical & Surgical Specialties, and Linda Hevenor, RN, Vice President, Clinical Operations.

Thank you to all our Medical Assistants for your dedication and commitment to providing exceptional ambulatory care at Southcoast!

Southcoast Recognizes National Pharmacy Week and Pharmacy Technician Day

October 20, 2021

National Pharmacy Week is celebrated the third week of October and gives us an opportunity to recognize and thank the pharmacists and pharmacy technicians for their roles on the healthcare teams across Southcoast. This includes Pharmacy staff at the three hospital sites, retail pharmacies, transitions of care, ambulatory care, oncology clinics, specialty pharmacy, clinical pharmacists, antimicrobial stewardship and the Epic Willow team. 

Additionally, on Tuesday, October 20, we recognize Pharmacy Technician Day, which honors the hard work and dedication of our pharmacy technicians. Southcoast’s technicians are both state and nationally certified and many of our technicians compound sterile and non-sterile medications. We also have technicians in specialized roles such as Omnicell, medication history technicians, prior authorization technicians, pharmacy discharge liaisons, medication procurement and IT to name a few. 

This year we especially want to thank the Pharmacy staff for their support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The team has worked diligently to provide the necessary medications and vaccines to our patients, and the community while also being a resource to the healthcare teams on the latest therapeutic recommendations. 

“Our pharmacy team sees itself as an integral part of Southcoast Health that strives to meet its evolving needs. I’m very appreciative of that and proud of the teamwork and commitment of the department that, along with others, has risen to the occasion in response to the significant challenges presented during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” says Jack Evans, Executive Director, Pharmacy.

Pharmacy Week Food Drive

October 21, 2021

As part of National Pharmacy Week, Southcoast Health’s in-patient pharmacy staff at Charlton Memorial, St. Luke’s and Tobey participated in an opportunity to give back to our local community! 

In partnership with the @Greater New Bedford United Way, pharmacy staff have collected and donated Thanksgiving food items that will benefit the Hunger Heroes Project’s “Families Helping Families” initiative. Yearly, this initiative provides over 1,000 Thanksgiving meals for families in need living in the South Coast region.   

You and your family can help by signing up to participate through your local food pantry. Items for collection include canned vegetables, cornbread mix, cranberry sauce, gravy packets, instant mashed potatoes and stuffing. 

4th Annual Nicole Podkowa 5K Walk/Run

October 20, 2021

Unlike a traditional race, this Virtual 5K takes place where you are and when you want! Run or walk your 5K anytime between the time you register and Tuesday, October 31, 2021 in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Dr. John Podkowa, Southcoast Health Primary Care Physician, and Katie Ponte, former Nicole Podkowa Cancer Patient, encourage you to join the 400 existing participants in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Hear Dr. Podkowa and Katie talk about the importance of the Podkowa 5K Walk/Run here.

You can register by yourself or partner with your colleagues by starting a team.

If you have already registered, thank you, we appreciate your support!

Help us spread the word on social media! Hashtag #Podkowa5K2021 and tag @SouthcoastHlth when you post videos and photos of you participating is the 5K to encourage and inspire others.

For more information, click here.

Southcoast Researchers Publish in Journals

October 20, 2021

Drs. Nitesh Sood, Robert Weil, and Sheri Weintraub recently had articles published in medical journals.

Nitesh Sood, MD, Director of the Atrial Fibrillation Wellness Program:

Robert Weil, MD, Neurosurgery

Sherri Weintraub, PhD, Director and Chief Physicist, Southcoast Centers for Cancer Care

If full-text to the article is not freely available, please contact Medical Librarian Diana Ragas, MLIS, at to obtain a copy.

Meet Christopher Tanga, DO, RPVI at Southcoast Health!

October 20, 2021

Dr. Tanga specializes in Vascular Surgery. He e Heis a certified General Surgeon by the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons.  He earned his medical degree from West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg, West Virginia, with his undergraduate studies completed at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts. In addition, he completed a vascular surgery fellowship at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York where he also served as Chief Vascular Fellow.

Learn more about Dr. Tanga here

Be Well Wareham

October 18, 2021

Be Well Wareham features a FREE monthly walk led by Southcoast Cardiologist Ashwini Sahni, MD, followed by yoga, meditation, and nutrition classes at the Gleason Family YMCA, 33 Charge Pond Rd, Wareham.

The 2021 Fall Schedule:

  • Saturday, October 23
  • Saturday, November 13
  • Saturday, December 11

No registration required.

Be Well Wareham is a wellness partnership between Southcoast Health and YMCA Southcoast.

Click here for printable flyer. For questions, please call (508) 973-5273.

October 15 is #GlobalHandwashingDay!

October 15, 2021

Though seemingly a simple task, handwashing with soap for at least 20 seconds is an effective way to prevent diseases, like COVID-19, and save lives. This challenging time in public health history has reminded us that hand hygiene is a fundamental component of health and safety. 

“Our Future is at Hand – Let’s Move Forward Together!”

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: October 2021

October 14, 2021

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a time to raise awareness and remind women everywhere not to delay important annual mammogram screenings – early detection is key!

1 in 8 women in the US will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.  A simple mammogram is your best defense in the fight against breast cancer, allowing for early detection when treatment is most successful.

Southcoast Health is committed to easing patient fears and concerns, and ensuring that a screening mammogram is a comfortable, caring, and convenient experience.

Learn more here.

Recognizing Emergency Nurses’ Week, Oct. 10-16

October 14, 2021

Southcoast Health celebrates Emergency Nurses Week from October 10-16! During this time, we recognize and thank our Emergency Nurses and staff for their outstanding dedication to providing emergency care to our patients 24/7. 

“This year during Emergency Nurses Week, ENA celebrates the “grit” of nursing through the last 20 months of the most challenging times that Emergency Department Staff have ever faced,” says Lori Frazer, RN, Emergency Department Manager of Patient Care and Seanna Zimmerman RN, Director of Emergency Services at St. Luke’s Hospital. “What we celebrate is the courage of our nursing staff. The courage to bring their true presence with integrity, advocacy, commitment and perseverance to patients. Their technical skills and compassion joining together as they practice to the highest standards of evidenced based practice. It is a privilege to work beside them and an honor to celebrate their STRONG Work! Happy Emergency Staff Week!”

Being an emergency nurse is both challenging and rewarding. Read the messages below from nursing managers thanking their teams for all they do in this critical role:

“Care for one…that’s love. Care for hundreds…that’s emergency medicine. Sending a warm thank you to one of the most dedicated, efficient and hard-working emergency staff who put their heart and soul into their work! Happy Emergency Staff Week to all of you,” says Christine Snow, RN, Emergency Department Nurse Manager at Charlton Memorial Hospital. 

“Nurse: A kind, patient, scrub wearing professional. Who saves lives and wears a smile. Healing patients and spreading kindness to all. Certainly, a true testament to what I see every day in our department. I am thankful for each of you as is the community and all the lives you touch. Happy emergency nurse week to you all! And thank you for everything you do, always!” says Denise Lorette, RN, Emergency Department interim Nurse Manager at Tobey Hospital.

Thank you to all our Emergency Nurses and staff for your dedication and commitment to providing exceptional emergency care!

Recognizing Dialysis Technician Week, Oct. 11-16

October 14, 2021

This week, Southcoast Health is recognizing our Dialysis Technicians and shining light on the kidney care services we offer in Fall River, Fairhaven and southeastern Massachusetts.

Dialysis Technicians work together with a doctor or nurse to provide care to patients with permanent kidney failure. Dialysis is a procedure to remove waste products and excess fluid from the blood when the kidneys stop working properly.

Our dialysis technicians are the primary caregivers of the patients who are undergoing this treatment. They are crucial in supporting a patient’s physical and emotional needs, by empowering the patient through education. Thank you, Dialysis Technicians, for your care and comprehensiveness!

To learn more about our kidney care services and the latest technologies and treatments, please go here.

Celebrating National Case Management Week

October 14, 2021

October 10-16, 2021 is National Case Management Week. During this special week, Southcoast Health acknowledges and celebrates our case management and transition of care teams – bringing awareness and recognition to those who make a difference in the lives of our patients and easing their journey of care.

Read more here.

Honoring International Sterile Processing Week: October 10-16

October 14, 2021

During International Sterile Processing Week, October 1016, Southcoast honors the staff and teams in our Central Processing Departments (CPS) across all our locations.

According to the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM), which represents healthcare Sterile Processing (SP) professionals in healthcare worldwide, “SP professionals are responsible for cleaning, decontaminating, sterilizing, and distributing medical and surgical instrumentation. They are among the most vital contributors to the delivery of safe, high-quality patient care.”

“Please join me in congratulating Central Sterile Processing colleagues during their week of recognition for work well done!” says Deb Mulloy, PhD, RN, Associate Chief Nurse, Perioperative Services. “Their attention to detail in the sterilization processes and preparation of case carts ensures patients care runs smoothly. Speaking for myself and the entire team we are incredibly thankful for your service.”

Recognizing Healthcare Security and Safety Week

October 14, 2021

October 10-16, 2021 marks Healthcare Security and Safety Week, with October 13 officially designated as Healthcare Security and Safety Officer Appreciation Day and recognized bythe International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety (IAHSS).

The theme for Healthcare Security and Safety Week 2021 is “Courageous. Resilient. Professional.” This recognition emphasizes the importance of security and safety professionals in healthcare, and acknowledges the strong commitment, diligence and care officers display in their practice.  

Craig Forcina, Director of Public Safety and Emergency Management, said, “We have an amazing group of public safety professionals who are committed to providing security and safety, often under stressful conditions, and in an ever-changing landscape, every day, every shift. This past year and a half have been hard for everyone, and they have been there to support our mission and each other. I’m incredibly proud of the work and effort they put in – they’re a great team.”   

Thank you to everyone in Public Safety for your dedication to keeping our patients, staff, and visitors safe! 

Hispanic American Heritage Month: Dr. Ernesto Gonzalez

October 14, 2021

Dr. Ernesto Gonzalez joined Southcoast Health two years ago as an Obstetrics and Gynecology Physician. He can often be found in the office, seeing patients for physical exams, discussing birth control, and supporting and assisting women through pregnancy and various health issues.

He works in many different parts of the health system in this role, sometimes all on the same day. Along with office visits, he is regularly in the hospital overseeing deliveries and even performing surgery.

Born in Puerto Rico and raised in California, Dr. Gonzalez considers being Latino an important part of his identity. In recognition of Hispanic American Heritage Month, he shares how his heritage influences his life and work.

Continue reading here.

Mileage Rate Increase, Effective Oct. 1

October 13, 2021

The mileage rate has been increased to .56 for FY22. The new rate takes effect as of October 1, 2021. Mileage prior to this date is reimbursed at the former rate.

Mileage and travel reimbursement forms are available on the intranet here.

COVID-19 Information

October 13, 2021

The COVID-19 Employee Hub is the central location for policies, procedures, guidelines and information needed by Southcoast employees on COVID-19.

View the most recent bulletins:

Hispanic American Heritage Month: Bryan Cardona

October 12, 2021

Bryan Cardona is a Food and Nutrition Services Team Lead at St. Luke’s Hospital. Joining Southcoast Health almost seven years ago, Bryan and his team work together to ensure patients’ nutritional needs are met throughout their stay.

As a team leader, Bryan’s favorite part of his job is leading and supporting staff in meeting operational standards. Providing healthy meals for patients, physicians, nurses, staff and visitors is a true team effort, and he is very grateful for the amazing group he works alongside.

Continue reading here.

Don’t put off your mammogram: Debbie’s Story

October 12, 2021

A cancer diagnosis can sometimes feel surreal, especially when you are in your early 50s and have no family history of the disease. This was the case for Debbie Besse of Fairhaven. Debbie recounts her brush with breast cancer and credits her Southcoast Health providers for giving her a new lease on life and educating her on the importance of screenings as we recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

It started as a regular check-up with her primary care provider, Dr. John Podkowa. Visiting Dr. Podkowa was standard practice for Debbie, as she has an ongoing thyroid condition. She has been a patient of Dr. Podkowa’s for the past 10 years and only has positive reviews when speaking about him.

Continue reading here.

Meet Gisele Arrey, MD at Southcoast Health!

October 12, 2021

Dr. Arrey specializes in Family Medicine. Her clinical interests include preventive medicine, women’s health, global and public health.

Dr. Arrey graduated Magna Cum Laude with her Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Northeastern University in Boston, MA. She then furthered her medical expertise, earning her MD degree from the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine in Worcester, MA. Learn more about Dr. Arrey here.

Meet Joshua Costa, NP at Southcoast Health!

Joshua specializes in ear, nose, and throat. His clinical interests also include emergency medicine and cardiology.

He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Fitchburg State University in Fitchburg, MA and his Master of Nursing Science, Family Nurse Practitioner degree from Regis College in Weston, MA.

Learn more about Joshua here.

Changes to Hardware/Software Ordering Process

Southcoast MIS is introducing a new way of ordering hardware and software. The new and improved ordering system has a familiar look and feel with its cart-based checkout process. The catalog features Southcoast’s most commonly purchased hardware bundles along with pictures, descriptions and pricing for each of the items.

Key benefits include:

  • Intuitive look and feel
  • Order multiple items on the same request
  • Pricing information for planning and budgeting purposes

Check out the new technology catalog here.

COVID-19 Vaccination

Click Seasonal Influenza and COVID 19 Mandatory Vaccination Policy to review this newly updated policy.

See the schedule on the COVID-19 Vaccine Information page on the intranet.

On Sept 29, the CDC issued an urgent health advisory strongly recommending COVID-19 vaccination for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future.

  • The official health advisory can be found here.

Change in SDS Vendors

Southcoast has changed our online safety data sheet vendor from Dolphin to Sphera. Southcoast staff do not need to do anything differently when accessing an SDS from the intranet home page. See accompanying image for how the screen now appears. If you have difficulty with the application or accessing a Safety Data Sheet (SDS), contact Craig Forcina at extension 37191 or by email at

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