TO: The DMR Community
FROM: Gerry Morrissey, Commissioner
DATE: November 12, 2003
RE: Update 135

Department Reorganization

Effective November 1, 2003, the Department of Mental Retardation has reorganized into four Regions. Along with this Regional reorganization, two Areas shifted to new Regions and one Area merged with another.

Below you will find the old Region number, the new Regional names and the Areas they cover:

1/2. Central/West Region - Terry O'Hare, Director
Including the following Areas:
South Valley, Worcester, North Central, Berkshire, Franklin/Hampshire, Holyoke/Chicopee, Springfield/Westfield

3. Northeast Region - Mandy Chalmers, Director
Including the following Areas:
Central Middlesex, Lowell, Merrimack Valley, Metro North, North Shore

5. Southeast Region - Rick O'Meara, Director
Including the following Areas:
South Coastal, Fall River, New Bedford,
Taunton-Attleboro, Cape Cod and the Islands,
Plymouth, Brockton

6. Metro Region - Gail Gillespie, Director
Including the following Areas:
Metro Boston, Charles River West, Middlesex West and Newton South Norfolk

2003 Real Choice Systems Change for Community Living Grants

The Department of Mental Retardation has been awarded one of the 75 Real Choice Systems Change Grants in 2003. The 36 month grant in the amount of $579,178 will fund the "Massachusetts Community Based Personal Assistance Services and Supports" (MASS C-PASS) Project which will build capacity in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to provide consumer-driven personal assistance services and services. One key component is to provide leadership and incentives to foster field-based development and trial of innovative PASS alternatives. Persons benefiting from this project will be individuals of all ages and all disabilities, including long-term illnesses. All consumers will be persons who are seeking personal assistance services. This project will result in gains in access, availability, quality and value of PASS. The overarching goal is to develop sustainable mechanisms that insure consumer choice and consumer direction of PASS.

2003 Planning Grant from the Federal Administration on Developmental Disabilities

The Massachusetts Department of Mental Retardation in partnership with the Massachusetts DD network, (including the Developmental Disabilities Council, the Disability Law Center, the Institute for Community Inclusion and the Shriver Center), and other human service agencies (DPH, DMH, MRC, MCB, MCDHH, DMA, DSS, and DOE) received a one year $100,000 planning grant to design a One Stop Family Center for poor, unserved and underserved families from diverse ethnic, racial and linguistic backgrounds who have a child or adult family member with a developmental disability living in the city of Springfield, an Enterprise Community.

This planning project will create a strong partnership with all family support entities, state and local human service agencies, and family members and grass roots organizations to develop a comprehensive plan for the development and implementation of a One Stop Family Center that will be responsive to the varied and multiple needs of diverse families with a family member with a developmental disability.

2003 Performance Recognition Winners

The Department is pleased to announce this year's DMR Performance Recognition Program winners for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Performance Recognition Program recognizes state employees who have provided exemplary and outstanding service to the Commonwealth over the past year.

This year, the Department has two top winners. Jane F. Ryder, Director of Northeast Residential Services is the winner of the prestigious Manual Carballo Governor's Award for Excellence in Public Service, and Marianne Fritsch, Speech Language Pathologist from the Central Region is the winner of the prestigious Eugene H. Rooney, Jr. Public Service Award.

2003 Manuel Carballo Award Winner

Northeast Region

Jane F. Ryder, Director of Northeast Residential Services

As the Director of NRS, Jane is responsible for the direct oversight of a 21 million dollar operational and personnel budget and the overall management of 46 state operated residential programs staffed by 660 employees, located in 23 cities and towns, supporting 212 individuals, all of whom have varying levels of mental, physical and psychiatric disability. Jane has embraced and expanded upon her role as a director of this large residential program. She has not only flawlessly performed the requisite and critical senior management functions of planning, development and fiscal control, but also has developed a style of management that includes active participation in the lives of these individuals. She is very much a hands-on manager who extends herself every day to ensure a meaningful life for the individuals who live in the NRS homes.

Jane is an exemplary leader. She consistently advocates for Northeast Residential Services (NRS), the residents, the families, and the staff who support them. Like all successful leaders, she possesses the rare ability to make people around her feel confident and better at what they do just by her presence.

An excellent example of Jane's leadership skills occurred this past year when she was asked to assume a temporary leadership role at a provider agency whose contracts had been terminated. The situation could have caused harm to the agency and the more than 100 people the agency supported, if not for Jane's steady hand and calm presence. She visited all program sites, reassured staff, and monitored the delivery of supports. She managed the transition to new provider agencies, maintained a strong presence in the administrative offices to ensure fiscal accountability and a smooth transfer of funds, and kept good lines of communication open with direct support staff.

While overseeing this transition, Jane continued to run the operation of NRS, holding evening and weekend meetings with her staff and visiting homes on a regular basis.

The Manuel Carballo Governor's Award for Excellence in Public Service is given annually to no more than ten Commonwealth employees who exemplify the highest standards of public service. We are pleased that Jane has been selected for this high public honor because she is a true public servant who has positively impacted people with disabilities.

2003 Eugene H. Rooney, Jr. Public Service Award

Central/West Region

Marianne Fritsch, Speech Language Pathologist I

While a Speech Language Pathologist position is her primary responsibility, Marianne Fritsch has taken it upon herself to share her expertise with a broader audience in an effort to raise the competency of staff that supports the individuals in our care. Over the last four years, Marianne has worked tirelessly with the Regional Training Office to provide skills training to direct support and professional staff at the Glavin Regional Center and the greater Central Massachusetts area. As a trained Speech Language Pathologist she has truly mastered the art of effective communication. She uses these skills to provide staff with both formal and informal trainings that will make a difference in the lives of the individuals we support. She is an active hands-on practitioner who identifies areas of need and addresses those needs through the use of training. Her profession is that of Speech Language Pathologist, but education is at the heart of Marianne's work.

Besides Marianne's ability to communicate with staff, she demonstrates an ability to reach the individuals we support in a manner that cannot be taught. She understands that to be an effective communicator you must be a better listener. As a result she strives to use her skills to assist individuals supported by the DMR to reach their fullest potential. While her schedule is busy and her responsibilities numerous, she never is too busy to stop what she is doing to take time to answer the questions of staff or to assist the individuals the DMR supports.

The Eugene H. Rooney Jr. Public Service Award highlights human resource development as a planned, continuous effort to provide personal and professional growth opportunities that will enhance employee competency levels. We are pleased that Marianne has been selected for this high public honor in recognition of her work and dedication in improving skills, knowledge and attitudes about people with disabilities.

Other DMR Performance Recognition honorees are:

Central Office

Andrew Frechette
Quality Enhancement Specialist

Andrew is being recognized for more than 30 years of dedicated service and excellent work. In particular, he is being cited for his contributions to a statewide work group that is developing recommendations for improving the DMR quality enhancement survey process.

Among his peers, Andy is a pioneer, a mentor, and a dedicated leader. As a licensor and a quality enhancement specialist in the Western Region, Andy has earned broad-based respect within the DMR and the provider community. This regard is based on his comprehensive knowledge of DMR standards for support, and his reputation for fair and impartial promotion of safeguards and quality services for individuals.

Cheryl Steiner
Paralegal Specialist

Cheryl has a long history of working with and for persons with disabilities. Her first job at DMR was as a secretary in the Legal Office. Within a brief period of time, she had proven herself so competent and committed that she was elevated to the Metro Region legal office paralegal.

Cheryl has the ability to maintain calm within a storm. She is very adept at working with family members, direct care workers, service coordinators, attorneys, administrators, and individuals with disabilities as she works with them to answer their questions and address their concerns.

Central/West Region

Daniel Barrett
Occupational Therapist

Daniel is an Occupational Therapist for the Commonwealth Community Services (CCS). As part of the clinical team he is responsible for providing direct and indirect services to many individuals. A large part of his work is working with residential supervisors, staff, nurses, and other clinicians to help people become as independent as possible. Daniel is always responsive to the needs of the individuals and their staff and frequently fills the void when there is no one else to turn.

He is willing to go the extra mile in providing this support. Recently, he went above and beyond his scope of responsibilities. Through his concern and perseverance, several individuals from a home in Amherst finally went on a camping vacation. Through Daniel's initiative he foresaw and solved any hindrances to the trip. He found ramps so that wheelchairs could get in and out of cabins, and a shower chair that would fit through the shower doorway.

Kathleen Biastof
Service Coordinator

Kathleen has been a DMR employee for more than 25 years. Recently, she has served as the Rolland Service Coordinator for the Springfield Area Office. This position entails integrating services between the Department, nursing facilities, provider organizations, and the community to enhance the lives of these former nursing home residents.

Kathleen has always met the timelines of this project. She piloted the Rolland Integrated Service Plan in the Western Region and has assisted in training presentations. While she excels at working with various agencies to make sure things run smoothly, her main priority is her commitment and dedication to the individuals residing in nursing facilities and their families.

David Chevalier
Service Coordinator

David is the Child Services Coordinator for the Franklin/Hampshire Area Office. He has strong personal beliefs about choice and self-determination for individuals and families who receive DMR services. But he is also very adept at locating services and supports that families need.

During this past year, David worked very closely with Franklin/Hampshire Area's Family Support agencies to develop caseloads and expertise in providing services to some of these families. When families had difficulty locating specialized clinicians and behavioral consultants, David worked with his supervisor to develop these supports within the existing clinical agency.

Ryan Desormier

Ryan works at a residence in Lee that is managed by Berkshire Service Group. She is a strong staff person who works well with her colleagues and with the people who live at this residence. She has been recognized before for the outstanding quality of her work, but recently her work with one woman is worthy of significant recognition.

The woman that Ryan works with had many challenging issues making it very difficult for staff to take her out in the community. Ryan worked very hard to develop a positive relationship with the woman and was not intimidated by her previous reputation.
Slowly they began to make trips into the community and with each success expanded the shops, businesses, and places they could visit.

Cindy Brown
Director of Health Services
Monson Developmental Center

Cindy is a valuable resource to many staff who work at the Monson Developmental Center. In her position coordinates all medical and allied health services at the Center. She has served on and consulted with numerous committees and work groups including the Mortality Review Committee, and the Strategic Planning Committee for Healthcare.

She has been instrumental in the resolution of health care issue for many individuals with complex medical needs in the community. Cindy has also served as an in-house heath consultant in the community.

Julie Richard
Recreational Therapist
Templeton Developmental Center

Julie works as a Recreation Therapist at the Oak Lodge. She provides therapeutic and leisure recreation to 28 individuals. She also provides leisure supports to all of the Templeton residents through her active involvement in seasonal facility activities. She takes her responsibilities very seriously and seeks to maintain excellence in all of her responsibilities in the Recreation Department.

Julie's drive and commitment means that she knows each individual very well; their likes and dislikes, their concerns, and interests. She is a strong advocate for the Oak Lodge residents and goes out of her way to make sure their voices are heard and their needs addressed. She will dive into any project if it means that the quality of life for the individuals at Oak Lodge will be improved.

Annette Szivos
Director of Vocational Services
Templeton Developmental Center

Through Annette's dedicated leadership and direction, there is a thriving vocational program at Templeton and a successful community supported work program that has been in operation for the last 10 years.

Annette is whole-heartedly committed to the individuals she supports. In addition to her managerial responsibilities she provides vocational rehabilitation services to eight Templeton residents.

Louise Ward
Personnel Officer
Monson Developmental Center

Louise performed outstanding work this past year providing human resources support while also integrating and managing the Central Region's entire payroll at Monson.

This project entailed bringing in and training three new payroll clerks, and managing various time and payroll practices at different payroll sites. Her work allowed the payroll to be completed in a uniform way, adhering to agency rules and practices, while maintaining timeliness and accuracy. Louise is very skilled at setting up systems to manage large amounts of work. She sets a strong example by assisting on payroll when needed, and working long days and weekends when necessary to make sure paychecks are on time.

Northeast Region

Manfred Jones
Business Manager
North Shore Enterprises

As Business Manager for North Shore Enterprises, Manfred's primary responsibility is finding work and supported employment opportunities for people with disabilities. As a result of his work, North Shore has established successful relationships with local industries than ever before. This means more jobs with local industries, and a wider variety of opportunities to develop and refine vocational skills.

Manfred is always on the phone or pounding the pavement to find new jobs for the people DMR supports. He is never content to sit on his laurels and follows through on any lead believing that there can never be enough job opportunities. He is a good communicator, who will not miss an opportunity to promote the success of Northeast Enterprises. Manfred attends many events on the North Shore to network and find new opportunities.

George Manos
Hogan Regional Center

An agency as large as DMR succeeds because of dedicated staff who do their job, day in and day out, with little fan fare or recognition. For more than 20 years, George has dutifully performed his duties as groundskeeper at the Hogan Regional Center keeping the 54-acre campus in the best shape possible.

A year ago, George briefly bumped to another position in the laundry. Within a few weeks, a number of staff remarked on the noticeable difference in the appearance of the Hogan campus. Luckily, George returned to his grounds position in September, 2002.

Kathy St. Hilaire
Hogan Regional Center

A dedicated employee since 1988, Kathy has the magic touch in her ability to transform an institutional setting into a comfortable, home-like environment. She accomplishes this transformation through her knowledge and insights into the preferences of the people she supports. Kathy takes her position very seriously and makes it her business to ensure that clothing and living spaces reflect the personality and preferences of the individual.

Kathy approaches even the smallest task with unusual diligence and care. She is one of those staff who works quietly behind the scenes, yet frequently is the first to volunteer for a project whether it be sewing curtains or hems, or any other task to help the Hogan residents feel better and more at home.

WISH Project
Susan Graves, Michelle Litchen-Taraska, Diane Mudgett, Ann Lorenzo
Human Service Coordinators

A few years ago these women became increasingly aware that many young women with mental retardation from the Lowell area had become victims of exploitation, sexual, or physical abuse. A number of attempts had been made by various agencies to increase safety awareness and situations to avoid for these women, but the results had been mixed.

A year ago, staff from the Lowell Area Office submitted a comprehensive proposal to address these concerns. The result was a project named WISH, Women in Self-Help. The program increases self-esteem in an effort to maximize social skills and minimize behaviors that place people in risky situations. WISH would also provide opportunities to build networks with local businesses and creates forums for positive interactions.

This team began to develop a comprehensive schedule of positive and healthy activities for 10 women from the Lowell area. They met once a week. They invited guest lecturers, like local police and firemen, beauticians and clothing consultants, nutritionists and exercise specialists.

Metro Region

Alison Arnold
Human Services Coordinator
Middlesex West Area Office

With a caseload of nearly 50 individuals, most service coordinators would find it a difficult challenge to consistently individualize services and supports. Yet this is the daily charge and standard by which Alison has always operated. All of the individuals and families she supports have benefited from her extensive knowledge of resources and her advocacy on their behalf.

In this past year, Alison has worked wonders with a number of individuals. She helped a 61-year old man who relished his independence deal with increasing health and mobility problems while maintaining his dignity and freedom and maximizing his safety and quality of life. She worked with a young woman to help her become employable and also find a suitable housemate. She helped an over-protective family to understand the importance of letting their brother gain a little more independence and attend a more suitable day support program.

Marilyn O'Day
Michael Bradley
Metro Region Nursing Facility Specialists

Together, Marilyn and Michael have completed more than 240 pre-admission nursing home screenings. Although these numbers are impressive, their accomplishments go well beyond meeting their basic job requirements.

Marilyn has taken on the responsibility for coordinating the Metro Region's outreach program to home care agencies serving senior citizens. Mike has developed and refined the region's nursing facility data base, and serves as the consultant on this data base to the six offices of the Metro Region.

Carrie Haug
Human Services Coordinator

Carrie is a good-natured professional who performs excellent service coordination. Her clear communication, management of priorities, and efficiency in completing tasks ahead of schedule instills confidence in the people she supports and her fellow colleagues.

Carrie is an excellent advocate as a recent case illustrates. She worked with a 56 year old man who had severe communication challenges. Other professionals who had worked with the man did not recognize his abilities, believed he could not be tested, and dismissed his abilities. Carrie developed a primitive method of finger spelling that enabled him to communicate simple phrases. Through ingenuity and perseverance, she told the team that the gentleman actually understood a great deal and devised other strategies to help him communicate his needs and desires.

Susanne Kingston
Program Manager
Fernald Developmental Center

Susanne has worked at Fernald for many years. Late last year, she opted to change her assignment from a Manager of a Unit to Director of Evening Residential Services. She immediately made an impact on this shift by analyzing trouble areas, working with staff to set clear goals, and striving to improve overall conditions. Susanne instilled a more positive work environment and ethic in a relatively short time. Her approach and style of communicating with staff is always done in a positive manner and offered with constructive criticism.

As a result of her leadership and direction, she turned around a shift that was headed for possible problems. The shift now is using less overtime, has seen less scheduling complaints, and the residents are receiving ongoing and consistent quality attention on her shift.

Tom Mucciarone
Residential Supervisor

Tom epitomizes what a front line supervisor in community services can accomplish with consistency, flexibility, and dedication to their work. Tom has a special ability to manage multiple, and potentially conflicting tasks. His insights and experience make him a valuable resource to other managers and supervisors in his Region.

He is excellent at managing budgets, and getting the most out of every dollar to benefit the people he supports. His ability to manage budgets allows the individual he supports to partake of community opportunities and activities that otherwise would not be possible.

Edwin Novoa
Edwin paves the way for excellence in service delivery by creating a bridge between cultures. This is an important goal for the Department as it attempts to reach out and provide support services to more diverse cultures.

In addition to his assigned duties, he uses his understanding and skills in Latino Culture to translate, mentor, and advocate for many Latino individuals and their families.
His familiarity and sensitivity with the culture and customs make it easier for these families to navigate through the complex DMR system.

Vincent O'Connell
Regional Operations Manager
William Serino
Director of Contracts

During tight fiscal times, Vince and Bill organized the business practices, contracts, and payroll budgets of the Metro Region to achieve maximum efficiency and customer service. As a result of their efforts, every dollar is more closely accounted for, maximized and prioritized for direct services and supports to individuals and families.

Vince oversees the entire picture of finance for the Region as well as the human resource and business functions. Due to budget cuts this past year, he reorganized his team for maximum efficiency. His team managed personnel costs, fuel price escalation, and budget cuts. One section of his work unit collected up to 30 per cent more funds on federal reimbursement. Vince has worked out cost-saving strategies at Fernald and in community programs to save money and avoid service cuts.

In a short period of time, Bill has accomplished a great deal of work including re-organizing the Region's Purchase of Service system, working with contract staff to assess and correct errors, and clarifying budgets, and establishing professional business practices. He has vastly improved relationships with provider agencies by honoring historical commitments, correcting billing problems, and providing technical assistance to agency staff.

Shirley Wiggins

Shirley embodies DMR's goals of integration and respect. She is a true advocate for the people she supports, maintains a professional attitude, and inspires them to explore new ideas so they can live their lives to the fullest. She is devoted to helping people become fully integrated members in their local communities.

Shirley has worked tirelessly with local merchants to help them understand the needs of the people she supports. Together with her daughter, a local librarian, they have introduced residents to the resources and offerings of their local library. These individuals learned and perfected the fundamentals of reading, developed computer skills, and explored a wide range of topics such as the varieties of world cultures. She developed this program in collaboration with the Boston Public Library system.

2003 Michael W. Muther Special Recognition Award

At the Fifteenth Annual Exemplary Employer Awards Ceremony held on October 15, 2003, the Governor's Commission on Employment of People with Disabilities presented the Michael W. Muther Special Recognition Award to Hans Toegel, Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Policy Planning and Children's Services. This award recognizes Hans commitment to serving people with disabilities. Hans has been a member of the Governor's Commission on Employment of People with Disabilities since 1996. At the Department of Mental Retardation, Hans has focused on advancing greater employment opportunities for people with mental retardation by pursuing how best to utilize all available resources such as, career centers, public vocational rehabilitation and natural supports to achieve this goal. Hans continues to project manage interagency efforts to streamline and improve employment systems for people with disabilities.

2003 Lifelinks, Inc. Public Service Award

LifeLinks, Inc, a Lowell Area provider in the Northeast Region, awarded their annual Public Service Award to Lowell Area Director Fred Nazzaro. In a very difficult fiscal environment, Fred, guided by his unwavering commitment to provide effective, life-enhancing services, preserved services and supported LifeLinks in its efforts to explore and implement a variety of cost-effective, quality housing models. As LifeLinks' award presenter Deirdre Anderson said, "A budget is about choices. The choices that are made reflect values." Fred garners respect from Lowell Area providers, families, and DMR colleagues. "He listens to people, provides what he commits to and most importantly, thinks about peoples' needs first. He is a true partner, willing to share the risks and the burden of problem solving" - such as securing funding sources to meet individuals' needs. Lifelinks honored Fred for making a real difference in peoples' lives, day in and day out; for his unfailing investment of his time and energy; for working collaboratively with providers in a respectful and productive manner; and for his willingness to invite and support collective problem solving.

Thirty-Four Graduate from NSCC and NECC Direct Support Program--Northeast Region DMR

Twenty-four students graduated from North Shore Community College's Direct Support Certificate Program. They were honored by faculty, providers, family and friends in a graduation ceremony held at North Shore Community College (NSCC), Danvers Campus. Maggie LaBella, Coordinator of the Direct Support Certificate Program at North Shore Community College, as well as other faculty and administrators of NSCC, offered their congratulations to the graduates.

Northern Essex Community College (NECC)'s Direct Support Certificate Program Coordinator Mary DiGiovanni, along with family, friends, providers, NECC faculty and administrators, offered their congratulations to their ten most recent graduates. The graduation ceremony was held at Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill Campus.

To date 103 have graduated from the three participating community colleges' Direct Support Certificate Program in the Northeast Region: Middlesex Community College, Lowell; North Shore Community College, Lynn; Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill, MA.

Ninth Annual CMFOC Leadership Series held in Central Mass

Central Massachusetts Families Organizing for Change is holding their ninth annual Family Leadership Series beginning the weekend of October 17-18, 2003. This is a series of workshops designed for families who reside in Central Massachusetts patterned after the successful family leadership initiatives that originated from the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability. The Family Leadership Series is an exciting and positive opportunity for family members to network, gain resources, learn and share in a comfortable and supportive environment

Central Region DMR and UMASS Medical School Sponsor Event for Medical Students.

On September 26, 2003, DMR Central Region and UMASS MEDICAL SCHOOL sponsored an Interclerkship for third year medical students. Tobin Abraham spoke to the participants in the opening remarks about Family and Career: A Brother's Perspective. The keynote presentation, "What Does the Primary Care Doctor Need to Know When Treating People with Cognitive Disabilitie" was delivered by Richard Antonellis & Donna Antonellis. Students also participated during the day at several workshops.

The goal of the Interclerkship is for students to increase their skill in gathering relevant information when interviewing a person with cognitive disabilities increase their consciousness of assumptions about people with disabilities. Additionally, the Interclerkship hopes to have an impact on how the medical community makes treatment decisions and to increase its knowledge in areas such as community services, family support, and communication aids.

This information is provided by the Department of Developmental Services.