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The $30 million cancer center at BMC's Hillcrest campus is being named the Phelps Cancer Center in honor of former BHS President David Phelps who was instrumental in its development.

BMC Renaming Cancer Center After Former President, CEO

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Health Systems is renaming the BMC Cancer Center to honor former health system President and CEO David E. Phelps in recognition of his leadership in the development of the center and its membership in the Dana-Farber Cancer Care Collaborative.

The new name is the Phelps Cancer Center.

"Throughout Dave's nearly three decades at the helm of our organization, BHS overcame a seriously troubled financial outlook and weak quality performance to become an A-rated system financially and a nationally recognized performer in patient care, quality, and safety," said Darlene Rodowicz, president and CEO of Berkshire Health Systems. "One of Dave's greatest accomplishments during his tenure was the establishment of the cancer center at the Hillcrest Campus of BMC, which opened in fall 2013."

Phelps, who retired in January, developed a vision for a cancer care facility that would not only smoothly coordinate the highest quality care for patients in a convenient, close-to-home location, but would also offer integrated, whole-patient care for patients and their families, including social worker support, fitness, acupuncture, nutrition assistance, and other types of integrative wellness programming.

The cancer experience of a close family member led Phelps to engage with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and the idea of maintaining a close relationship with a leading research organization like Dana-Farber became an integral part of his plans for the future of cancer care in the Berkshires, which ultimately led to the creation of the Dana-Farber Cancer Care Collaborative, of which BMC was the first member.

"Our organization's relationships with community hospitals have allowed Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to collaborate and expand what's possible. That started here in collaboration with Berkshire Medical Center," said Elizabeth Liebow, chief integration officer and senior vice president of strategy and organizational effectiveness for Dana-Farber. "BMC and Dana-Farber have been involved in a 10-year relationship of respect and mutual learning."

As a collaborative member, Phelps Cancer Center standards and practices are validated by one of the nation's leading cancer care and research institutions. The relationship ensures that patients can have streamlined access to specialists and second opinions at Dana-Farber in Boston. It also gives them access to participate in Dana-Farber clinical trials and enables Phelps Center clinical staff to engage with Dana-Farber professional groups and other collaborative members to continue developing new ways to serve Berkshire patients.

Barton Raser, chair of the Berkshire Health Systems board of trustees, commented on the incredible value of the cancer center, stating, "Dave has given our community a priceless gift — what we have right here in the Berkshires at the cancer center is hope. And the promise that no cancer patient is ever alone. On behalf of the board and leadership of BHS, we are proud to re-name the cancer center in Dave's honor."

 


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Berkshire County Regional Employment Board Awarded State Grant

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Healey-Driscoll Administration announced $16.3 million in Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund (WCTF) grants awarded to nine organizations to upskill 1,860 individuals for careers in high-demand occupations in healthcare and behavioral health sectors across Massachusetts. 
 
The funding will support initiatives to train and hire unemployed and underemployed individuals while providing current employees with the skills to meet the needs of Massachusetts employers for roles such as Emergency Medical Technician, Certified Nurse Assistant, and Mental Health Peer Support Specialist.
 
"Industries across the state are experiencing workforce challenges, but the need is particularly great in behavioral health care, as we need enough trained workers to provide the care that our residents need and deserve," said Governor Maura Healey. "These grants will help address these challenges by hiring and training new talent and upskilling existing talent."  
 
In Berkshire County, the Berkshire County Regional Employment Board, Inc. was awarded $2,227,173.
 
Berkshire County Regional Employment Board will provide training and placement services to prepare 510 unemployed and underemployed participants for Medical Assistant, Certified Nurse Assistant, Acute Care Nurse Assistant, and Registered Behavioral Technician positions. They will partner with Community Health Programs, The Brien Center, Berkshire Health Systems, and Integritus Healthcare. 
 
This partnership also aims to assess the demand and develop programming opportunities for Licensed Practical Nurses, career pathways for Licensed Practical Nurses to Registered Nurses, and provide career advancement training for incumbent Behavioral Health workers.
 
The Workforce Competitive Trust Fund Program grants, administered by Commonwealth Corporation on behalf of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, are part of the Healey-Driscoll Administration's strategic investment to retain and upskill existing talent in Massachusetts' current workforce. The Healthcare/Behavioral Health Hub Grants announced today support investments in collaborative efforts focused on addressing healthcare and behavioral health workforce needs in regions across the Commonwealth. 
 
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