May 3, 2017

Inbox [May 3]: News and notes from Worcester Fire, City Design Project, Worcester State, Holy Cross, Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation, You Inc.

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Patrick Sargent/For Worcester Sun

The Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center was a key contributor in the city's efforts related to the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund.

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Liberty Mutual honors Worcester Fire lieutenant

Liberty Mutual Insurance has named Worcester Fire Department Lt. Anne Marie Pickett the winner of the Liberty Mutual Firemark Award for Community Service and Public Education.

Anne Marie Pickett

Worcester Fire Department Lt. Anne Marie Pickett

Liberty Mutual will present a grant of $10,000 to the Worcester Fire Department. The department plans to use the grant money to buy more materials to enhance its educational workshops and possibly a transit van to ease the firefighters’ transportation between various assignments.

Pickett, a 17-year-veteran, leads the department’s Community Risk Reduction and Public Education Division.

The “Lincoln Village fire-stop program” is one of the examples of Pickett’s groundbreaking work. Through analysis of fire reporting data, she identified a community fire problem and created a program to address it.

The analysis showed that a housing complex, consisting of 1,700 units and nearly 4,000 citizens, had a significant cooking fire problem. On average, one or two families a month were displaced with about $20,000 in damages per occurrence in the complex.

The public education division addressed the problem through education, engineering and enforcement methodologies. Since the program, there have been only a handful of cooking fire incidents, which were controlled by the fire-stop canisters and reduced cleanup costs and resulted in no displaced families.

“This award allows the Worcester Fire Department to continue with the mission of ‘fire is everyone’s fight,’ ” Chief Michael Lavoie said. “We are honored and proud to work with Lt. Pickett and support the great work she continues to do for the Worcester community.”

Action! Worcester founders start new venture

Joshua Croke and Kyla Pacheco, founders of community development nonprofit Action! Worcester, are launching a place-based design and innovation studio.

Kyla Pacheco

Kyla Pacheco

City Design Project will provide urban innovation, creative placemaking and experience-driven brand consulting for municipalities, neighborhood groups, developers, nonprofit and community organizations, institutions and companies.

Josh Croke

Josh Croke

City Design Project uses a place-based, human-centered design strategy to solve community challenges, catalyze economic development, and activate places and spaces in our environments.

“City Design Project is a really exciting opportunity for Kyla and me to help influence change in other cities across the country while staying rooted here for our efforts in Worcester,” Croke said. “Engaging residents and stakeholders through our human-centered design process allows us to deliver creative solutions to challenges alongside the people we are working to solve these challenges for.”

Read the entire story on the City Design Project website

Worcester State nursing program tops ranks

All 52 Worcester State University nursing students passed the National Council Licensure Examinations, the third year in a row WSU has claimed the accolade of highest scoring baccalaureate program in the state.

Nursing graduates must pass the NCLEX exam, governed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, to be eligible to practice as a registered nurse.

WSU President Barry Maloney announced the perfect score, which exceeded the state pass rate of 84 percent and national average of 85 percent.

“We are very proud to share that the B.S. in Nursing program’s first-time pass rate reported by the Massachusetts Board of Nursing on the NCLEX exam is 100% for the Class of 2016, well above the national pass rate,” Associate Dean for Nursing Stephanie Chalupka said.

“This success is due, in large part, to the commitment of the Nursing Department faculty to maintain high academic standards and provide a rigorous curriculum while providing the necessary support for student learning,” she added.

WSU is the only baccalaureate nursing program in the state to achieve a 100 percent pass rate last year.

In 2011, WSU ranked 44th out of 47 nursing programs in the state with an 80 percent passing rate. With a change in strategies and a renewed commitment to student success, the 2012 cohort scored 100 percent and were the top-performing baccalaureate program in the state.

Read the entire story on the Worcester State University website

PayScale ranks Holy Cross No. 12 best value liberal arts college

According to PayScale’s 2017 College Return on Investment Report, the College of the Holy Cross ranks No. 12 among the best value liberal arts colleges in the country.

Holy Cross was included in the online salary information company’s eighth annual ranking of colleges that “give alumni a high return on investment and prepare them for successful careers.” PayScale ranked more than 900 U.S. colleges and universities based on total cost and alumni earnings.

Read the entire story on the College of the Holy Cross website

Kennedy Center CEO named to Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation board

Antonia “Toni” G. McGuire, president and CEO of the Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center in Worcester; and Bruce Nash, senior VP of Health and Medical Management at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, have been named to the board of directors of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation.

Toni McGuire

Toni McGuire

“We are thrilled to have Toni and Bruce – two health care practitioner executives who truly understand the mission of community health – join our board,” said Phil Johnston, chairman of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation.

McGuire has more than three decades of experience working in or with community health centers. Since 2008 she has led the Kennedy Community Health Center, where she directed an intensive strategic planning initiative.

She previously served as CEO of Manet Community Health Center in Quincy and, while at Boston Medical Center, helped establish a family practice residency program embedded in Boston-based community health centers.

You Inc. offers free nurse assistant/home health aid training

You Inc. is offering a free nurse assistant/home health aid training course May 15-June 22.

The 120-hour course runs 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8 a.m.-noon on Fridays at Quinsigamond Community College’s Southbridge branch at 5 Optical Ave.

Participants will learn entry-level skills to safely provide basic nursing assistant care in long-term facilities or health care agencies. There will be paid work experience and job placement assistance. Participants must be between 18 and 24 years old and have high school equivalency.

To enroll, contact Kate Pesa at 508-849-5600, Ext. 232 or by email at

This project is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act and provided locally through the Central Mass. Workforce Investment Board.

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