March 22, 2017

Inbox [March 22]: Ascentria cuts resettlement staff and services, Gengel to speak at SPM fundraiser, Clark creates new public health curriculum, Becker administrator wins national award

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Interesting and worthwhile things happen every day in our community. Alas, we can’t cover them all. That’s where Inbox comes in, to offer readers an easily digestible compilation of interesting and noteworthy items you and your neighbors keep telling us about.

Citing halt to refugee resettlement, Ascentria cuts positions, hours

President Trump’s recent executive orders targeting immigration and refugee resettlement in the United States have resulted in layoffs and service reduction in the Ascentria Care Alliance Services for New Americans (SNA) program. Ascentria is contracted with government agencies to resettle newly arrived refugees assigned to Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Twenty employees faced layoffs or reduced hours. In addition, four open positions were eliminated. The reductions occurred in Worcester, Westfield and Concord, N.H. Additional reductions have been made in administrative departments. Managers and staff affected by these changes were notified on Monday, March 13, and many impacted staff departed Ascentria on Friday, March 17.

Although the first executive order signed in late January halting refugee resettlement was stayed by the courts, most of the important services that Ascentria provides to refugees have slowed or stopped altogether. The recently revised executive order reset the clock, pausing refugee resettlement for 120 days beginning March 16, and retains the stipulated reduction in refugees arriving into the United States in FY 2017 from 110,000 to 50,000 – a 64 percent decrease.

“Our Services for New Americans program is greatly impacted by these orders, and future program funding at this point is unknown,” Ascentria President and CEO Angela Bovill said. “What we do know is that refugee resettlement in our country will be significantly reduced by the new administration.”Currently, there are no new refugees scheduled in Ascentria’s SNA program, and no expectation of new arrivals over the next several months.

“Realizing the consequence of these changes, we took the time to carefully review their impact to our SNA program and to our entire organization,” Ascentria Executive Vice President of Community Services Tim Johnstone said. “We wanted to be sure we fully understood all of our potential options before making any decisions impacting our staff and services.

“What became clear is that the level of uncertainty about the future of refugee resettlement in the U.S. requires that we scale down our program until we have more definitive information,” Johnstone added.

“We wish we had other options available, but without SNA program revenue and clients to serve, we cannot continue to fund these areas at their present levels,” Johnstone said.

Impacted employees are encouraged to consider Ascentria’s open positions for opportunities they may be qualified for and interested in. An expedited process has been created to make it easier for those individuals to apply. Additionally, resume and job search guidance is being offered to assist impacted staff.

Read the entire story on the Ascentria Care Alliance website

Cherylann Gengel to Speak at St. Peter-Marian International Night on Saturday

St. Peter-Marian Junior-Senior High School’s Be Like Brit Club will host an International Night March 25 that will feature Cherylann Gengel, co-founder of Be Like Brit Orphanage in Haiti.

Be Like Brit’s Britsionary program provides opportunity to gain a better understanding of global partnerships by coordinating one-week service trips to the Be Like Brit Orphanage to help with youth and community outreach projects and learn about Haitian culture. The Be Like Brit Club at St. Peter-Marian is raising money for twelve students to participate in the Britsionary program in May.

International Night, which runs 6-10 p.m., will be an evening of entertainment, international foods, raffles and auction items. Cherylann Gengel, who has traveled the country sharing Brit’s story, will be the evening’s featured speaker.

Any monies over and above the club’s fundraising goal will go directly to the Be Like Brit general fund to support the children at the orphanage.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our students as they prepare for what will be the school’s third missionary trip to the Be Like Brit Orphanage in Haiti,” SPM President Christopher Cummings said. “We look forward to listening to Cherylann Gengel’s inspirational words at what is sure to be a magnificent event celebrating the true meaning of faith, compassion and service.”

Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for students 18 and under. They are available at

Clark announces Community and Global Health program

Clark University has launched the Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Master of Health Science in Community and Global Health program, offered through the International Development, Community, and Environment Department (IDCE) beginning in August.

The M.H.S. program, which was created with the help of a $500,000 grant from the Leir Charitable Foundations, will provide students with the choice of concentrating in community health or global health, although all students will be exposed to aspects of both, according to Marianne Sarkis, M.H.S. program coordinator and assistant professor in IDCE.

Clark awards merit-based fellowships for full-time students, with funding for partial and full tuition while enrolled in the program. For full consideration, applicants are encouraged to apply by May 5.

“Public health’s ‘business as usual’ approach of prevention, intervention and health promotion is no longer keeping up with rapidly changing health trends,” Sarkis said. “Instead, we must respond in ways that prioritize the needs of those who have no access to health care and who carry the biggest burden of disease as a result of poverty and other social inequities.”

IDCE’s innovative approach combines scholarship with practice, emphasizing the factors that lead to health inequities and disparities, Sarkis noted. In addition, students must learn to engage stakeholders through partnerships with faculty, students, community members, and community organizations.

“The M.H.S. program will enable students to apply what they learn in the classroom and through research to health challenges taking place not only locally, but throughout the world,” Sarkis added. “The new program is ideal for students who are committed to health care as a right, not a privilege, and who are passionate about reducing health disparities and inequities for all members of society.”

Read the entire story on the Clark University website

Becker academic leader wins Pillar Award

Becker College Senior Vice President and Chief Academic and Student Affairs Officer Nancy Crimmin, Ed.D., has been named the 2017 Pillar of the Profession by Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA). The award is given annually to education leaders who are recognized by colleagues and students for extraordinary service and significant contributions to the higher education field.

Nancy Crimmin

“This recognition formally acknowledges something we at Becker have known for a long time – that Dr. Crimmin is an exceptional leader, a passionate educator, and an outstanding advocate for student success,” Becker President Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D., said. “It is rare to find someone who is so revered by so many in the college community and within the field of higher education.”

“Nancy is one of those humble student affairs leaders—one who has been a long-standing NASPA volunteer who does not seek the spotlight or recognition for her work. She is the embodiment of the attributes of a pillar of our profession, and is most deserving of this recognition,” said Lori White, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at Washington University and chair of the NASPA Board of Directors.

Crimmin received the award at the 99th annual national NASPA conference March 13 in San Antonio. A NASPA member for 15 years, she chaired this year’s conference. She served a three-year term on the National Foundation Board, served two terms on the NASPA Board of Directors, and was the past Region I Vice President for NASPA.

“To be able to do what you love every day is a gift, so to be acknowledged by your peers for something you cherish doing, is humbling,” said Crimmin about receiving the award.

Read the entire story on the Becker College website

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