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  November 12, 2002

Health Center Experiences Baby Boom
By Maureen McGuire

October was a banner month for babies at the Health Center's John Dempsey Hospital.

A record 71 babies were born in the nursery, according to Dr. Stephen Curry, chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, marking the first time in almost 20 years that the nursery topped 70 babies in one month. He notes that most of the babies born in October were delivered by the capable hands of physicians with the UConn Health Partners OB/GYN practice.

Image: Tiffany and Quincey Johnson
Tiffany Johnson of Bloomfield holds her son, Quincey, one of a growing number of babies born at the UConn Health Center this year.

Photo by Peter Morenus

"This is a wonderful milestone for the Health Center," says Dr. Curry. The number of deliveries at John Dempsey Hospital has been steadily increasing since the UConn Health Partners doctors joined the UConn faculty in 2001. "This is a real tribute to our general OB/GYN practice," Curry adds.

The UConn Health Partners OB/GYN physicians see patients in East Hartford, West Hartford, and Farmington, in the new Charlotte Johnson Hollfelder Center for Women's Health at the Health Center.

"As part of the UConn team, we offer patients a distinct advantage," says Dr. Joseph Walsh, lead physician with the UConn Health Partners OB/GYN group. "We hope people continue to see the advantages of having general OB/GYN physicians working side by side with maternal-fetal medicine specialists, neonatal specialists, and all the other benefits of being part of an academic medical center."

In addition to Dr. Walsh, the UConn Health Partners OB/GYN practice includes: Drs. Cathleen Campbell; Mary Fiske; Ursula Steadman; and Marcia Waitzman.

Dr. Steven Strongwater, associate dean of clinical affairs and director of John Dempsey Hospital, is delighted by October's record number of deliveries. "The increase in deliveries is fantastic," he says. "We are pleased that our new faculty have become recognized in the community and have had so much growth in deliveries in such a short period of time. It is exciting to bring new children into the world, and for our hospital and our faculty to play a small part in this miracle."

Dr. Strongwater says the hospital is adequately staffed to meet the surge in growth and that the employees have been, "just great" in accommodating the heavy workload. Two new private rooms were opened this year and, if the numbers are sustained, he adds, the option exists to open additional rooms next year.

He says the UConn Health Partners' contributions to the overall health of the institution have gone well beyond the walls of the nursery. He estimates the practice is responsible for as much as 70 percent of new clinical activity throughout the Health Center.

"It's been a great relationship," he says. "It's increased the use of our inpatient services and given patients access to our physicians, but it's also given patients access to educational and research initiatives they might not have available to them elsewhere."

At the same time the nursery has been extra busy, enrollment in the Health Center's childbirth education classes has jumped by about 50 percent, according to Gwyn Muscillo, nursing manager.

Muscillo says parents have been very pleased with all the services the Health Center offers. "Comments on patient satisfaction surveys have been very positive," she says. "Parents say they are happy with the care they receive and happy with our facility."

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