The alliance of central Connecticut hospitals that employs medical residents and fellows in UConn-sponsored programs is honoring two UConn Health residents for their work in the community.
The Capital Area Health Consortium presented Community Service Awards to Dr. Meghana Singh, chief internal medicine resident, and Dr. Nancy Presnick, pediatrics resident, Wednesday.
Additionally, the consortium awarded its T. Steward Hamilton Scholarship to Mariam Zacharias, an assistant nurse manager in UConn Health’s psychiatry unit, and presented its Robert U. Massey Award for Distinguished Service to Dr. Scott Allen, UConn Health’s chief medical officer.
The residents were nominated by their program directors for their efforts to serve in the community.
“Dr. Singh embodies the leadership our community expects from physicians,” says Dr. Robert Nardino, director of the UConn Internal Medicine Residency Program. “She serves as a role model for young physicians and medical students. She goes above and beyond to bring together residents from different backgrounds to share a common cause of serving our community at a time when it is sorely needed.”
Nardino credits Singh with leading efforts among the residents to participate in COVID-19 vaccination campaigns in Hartford neighborhoods, collecting gifts to help families in need celebrate Christmas, and working with Mercy Housing and Shelter Corporation to set up a fund to help provide housing, supportive services, and necessities for women and their children.
“I want to thank Dr. Nardino for this honor,” Singh says. “This award is very meaningful to me as it recognizes my efforts and reinforces my belief that resident physicians can contribute significantly to the community at large, both in and outside the hospital. I am grateful to my program for supporting all my efforts to collaborate with my colleagues in helping the community.”
From Presnick’s nomination, by Dr. Christine Skurkis, interim pediatric residency program director, and Dr. Jonah Mandell, associate director:
“Dr. Presnick has not only been integral to the residency program in advancing our advocacy, but she also has been key in trying to make change on an institution level with her work. Through this work within the institution and her work on CLE and numerous projects she has shown a commitment to advocacy and service that will be impactful even after her residency.”
Her directors say Presnick has spearheaded many projects over her three years in their program, including a push to engage with state lawmakers to encourage them to support mental health legislation, improvement of education for residents caring for patients with mental illness, a grant to provide age-appropriate toys and education for parents on how to effectively use them, and a needs assessment of social determinants of health and structural competency while on a community-based rotation.
“I’m truly honored to receive this award,” Presnick says. “It is a testament to the meaningful support and mentorship I have found in the pediatric residency program. It is also an example of how advocacy and community involvement are essential to physician training. I know we will continue to expand on our current work to even better serve our community.”
The T. Stewart Hamilton Scholarship, one of three accolades the consortium awards every year, is intended for those seeking to further their careers in health care management, medicine, or nursing. Zacharias is enrolled in the psychiatry mental health nurse practitioner’s program at Walden University, from which she plans to graduate May 2024.
“Mariam has a strong work ethic and is extremely dedicated to her patients and improved patient outcomes,” says UConn Health Chief Nursing Officer Caryl Ryan. “She is truly deserving of this award and is dedicated to furthering her education within nursing. Always respectful, engaging, collaborative and professional, we are very fortunate in her representation of John Dempsey Hospital in receiving this award.”
Hamilton was the first president of the Capital Area Health Consortium, founded in 1974.
“I am honored to have been selected as the recipient of the T. Stewart Hamilton scholarship,” Zacharias says. “As I further my education in the field of psychiatry, I am sure I can be a provider who can make changes for people who are suffering from mental illness. Thank you for investing in my future and for noticing my potential to do great things for our community.”
The consortium presents the Robert U. Massey, MD, Award annually to a person or organization who has contributed to the advancement of cooperative arrangements among health care providers in the region. Massey was UConn’s medical dean from 1971 through 1984.
Allen has been representing UConn Health on the consortium’s board of trustees since 2013, including as chair from 2017 to 2021.
“He has done a wonderful job in his leadership and dedication to the hospital supporting quality and safety efforts, especially during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic,” says Dr. Bruce T. Liang, UConn Health’s interim CEO and executive vice president for health affairs, who presented the award to Allen.
“As a medical educator working with residents since 1994 when I first arrived to UConn, being recognized for ‘Distinguished Service’ by the consortium is truly a special honor,” Allen says. “Residents and fellows are a critical part of our workforce that cares for the citizens of Connecticut. It has been an honor to serve on the CAHC board of trustees in support of our residents and fellows and a special opportunity to work collaboratively with our partner teaching institutions to advance our educational mission, creating the best training environment for our trainees.”
The six-hospital consortium administers the salary and benefits to all the residency and fellowship programs the UConn School of Medicine sponsors. It also provides educational seminars to residents and fellows to help them plan life after residency.
The member hospitals include UConn John Dempsey Hospital, Connecticut Children’s, Hartford Hospital, the Hospital of Central Connecticut, the Hospital for Special Care, and Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center.