Generations Family Health Center | Willimantic, Norwich, Putnam and Danielson CT

New song encourages young people to “Mask It Up”

Mask It Up Cover

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Getting the word out to the younger set

Generations uses 'Norm' to teach kids about COVID



WILLIMANTIC : Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, many have heard theadvertisements that discuss living in the new "norm."

In the Willimantic area, there is a new norm ? as in a new cartoon canine named " Norm," who was created to help youngsters understand safety precautions during the coronavirus.

"Norm the COVID-19 Community Watchdog" hopes to help children develop and maintain healthy habits and reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.

The dog is a marketing effort done in partnership between the Generations Family Health Center and the Northeast District Department of Health.

Norm is geared to help children aged pre-K through the fifth grade.

"There is a natural level of apprehension some families, children and school staff feel about heading back to school," said Generations Director of Communications and Development for Generations Allison Heneghan in a release issued by Generations.

"Norm is intended to be a calming presence, positive role model and an educational tool."


First grader Quinn Jones, 6, reads information about COVID-19 from 'Norm the COVID Watchdog'


A character created by Willimantic- based Generations Health Care Center to teach children about the current pandemic.

Norm has his own website ? ? that offers children, parents and educators tools to reinforce behaviors that reduce the risk of COVID-19.

"If you're a mom and you're struggling with your 3-year-old who doesn't want to wear a mask, you can just say something like 'what do you think Norm would do?" said Generations Chief Executive Officer Arvind Shaw.

"Norm will come to the rescue and hopefully get you over the hump."

Kids can enjoy animations, coloring pages and can download a Norm " adoption" certificate when they successfully demonstrate their understanding of five simple strategies to fight coronavirus.

Norm will also be promoted through traditional and social media channels.

"We wanted to find an entertaining, engaging way to remind everyone to keep up the healthy habits they learned throughout the pandemic: wear a mask, keep your distance and wash your hands," NDDH Education and Communications Coordinator Linda Colangelo said in the release.

"We believe children of all ages will connect with Norm, the official ' maskot' of our prevention campaign."

Shaw said he hoped Norm can soon be brought into local schools.

The project is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services under the CARES Act.

The cartoon appeals to younger children, while a music video recently released titled " Mask it Up" appeals to teenagers and young adults.

Both Norm and the "Mask it Up" music video were created in an effort to connect with young people about the importance of taking precautions against coronavirus.

*To learn more about " Norm the COVID- 19 Community Watchdog," visit*

*Follow Claire Galvin on Twitter - @CGalvinTC.*

Mask It Up

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Teens and young adults are told to 'Mask It Up'



WILLIMANTIC : A new music video encouraging teens to " Mask It Up" was recently filmed in Willimantic.

The song and music video is an effort of the Generations Family Health Center and the Northeast District Department of Health.

" Mask- wearing is one of the most important prevention strategies we currently have in reducing the risk of COVID-19, but it's also the most challenging behavior to convince people to adopt," said NDDH Education and Communications Coordinator Linda Colangelo in a release issued by Generations.

" We wanted to find a platform that would be appealing to teens and young adults ? and we found it in artist Zack Kindall and ' Mask It Up.'" Kindall is a 20- year- old, Connecticut- based recording artist and is a former student- athlete at Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic.

The music video was filmed in Willimantic and features iconic landscapes like the Thread City Crossing bridge and Windham Town Hall.

The video encourages people to follow the main guidelines during the coronavirus, wearing a mask, practicing social distancing and hand-washing.

" I love being able to see people smile from my music, especially during these stressful times, and I want to have a positive impact on them," Kindall said in the release.

"I hope people like the song, but more importantly, I hope they take the message seriously and 'Mask It Up.'" He will add " Mask it Up" to his Europe and North Africa tour in 2021.

Generations Chief Executive Officer Arvind Shaw said he believed it was one of the best marketing efforts they've had.

" Having peer to peer communication, there's nothing like it," Shaw said. " Young folks sometimes tune out parents, but they're always listening to friends and paying attention."

The music video accompanies other marketing efforts by Generations and the NDDH, like " Norm COVID- 19 Watch Dog."

*The short music video can be seen at*

*Follow Claire Galvin on Twitter - @ CGalvinTC.*


Cameraman Dan Fish films singer Zach Kindall during a recent music video shoot in Willimantic for the song 'Mask It Up.' Courtesy of Generations.

Thanks to Ann Nyberg and WTNH News 8 for helping get the word out about Norm the Dog


Thanks to Ann Nyberg and WTNH News 8 for hosting Generations to help get the word out about Norm the Dog ( as well as our new hip-hop song, "Mask it Up!". Our goal is to educate children of all ages on safe practices during COVID-19.

A statement from Generations - June 2020

condemn racism

We condemn racism in all its forms and demand that we do better as a society so that all of our residents can live freely, without disparity in the treatment of individuals.

The Mission for Community Health Centers was created from the Civil Rights movement, to seek healthcare equality after centuries of oppression of minorities and the poor.  In 1983, our community responded to the health crisis, and created Generations to improve access for patient services- free from any kind of discrimination- and this was developed further over the coming years with goals of 100% Access and 0% Disparities for all of our patients.  The evidence that we have maintained this goal is shown in the improved health outcomes of the patients we serve. We must continue this effort, to ensure healthcare equality for all.

Together we can be better. We can listen more closely to each other and try harder to understand each other. To reach the better world which we all seek, we must be open to having safe discussions about our own conscious and unconscious biases, our judgment of what is right and wrong,  and be able to understand how these beliefs affect our environment and how it ultimately affects each other, as we are all interconnected. In the end, we are all members of the same race, it’s the human race. With this in mind, we encourage all to leave room in your daily lives for compassion and space in your hearts for love.

Generations Family Health Center Senior Management Team 

Local doctors embrace use of telehealth

Local Doctors Embrace Use of Telehealth

Saturday, April 25, 2020


big-Thank You

In the era of COVID-19, routine doctor and mental health appointments are no longer based on face- to- face exams.

Instead, they are now primarily face- to- computer or ear- to- phone interactions.

They have to be to ensure patient and doctor safety.

" It all changed rapidly a few weeks ago," Rushford Medical Director and Hartford HealthCare Vice President of Addiction Services Dr. Jonathan Craig Allen said from his Farmington office. " There's been a very steep learning curve."

Rushford is affiliated with the Hartford HealthCare network, which also oversees Windham Community Memorial Hospital in Willimantic and Natchaug Hospital in Mansfield.

COVID- 19 curveballs have been thrown at clinicians throughout the world, forcing health care providers to embrace and abruptly transition over to telemedicine.

Despite obvious limitations, physical and behavioral health clinicians are staying positive after discovering a few silver linings to telehealth.

Those silver linings include the elimination of some barriers to access care, increased work efficiency, more flexibility in scheduling and the ability to get to know patients in new ways.

" It makes it more accessible for patients, such as the elderly, who may have difficulty coming into a clinic," said Dr. Mohammed Qureshi, a doctor at The William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich and WCMH.

Other doctors and therapists said telehealth also helps patients who have difficulty prioritizing schedules or those who have anxiety.

Insurance has also changed for telehealth during this era of the coronavirus.

" Prior to the pandemic, most insurance companies wouldn't pay for telehealth, or if they did, it was only under certain conditions. We are grateful to the governor and the insurance commissioner for listening to our concerns and stepping in right away to require that this be a covered service," said Susan Grace, who is a psychiatric nurse at the Main Street Wellness Group in Coventry.

Additionally, in contrast to what some previously perceived as an impersonal and impalpable version of health care, telehealth has allowed for new, meaningful connections between doctors and patients, according to local health practitioners.

" I hadn't expected it, but it's really a rewarding experience to see ( patients) in a natural environment," Allen said before listing a few examples of how he was able to better see into the life of his patients.

Allen said, through video appointments, he's been able to meet his patients' dogs or cats that are often talked about, meet patients' spouses, see any projects that his patients have taken on within their homes and see their living spaces.

This gave him the opportunity to get to know his patients in a different way, he said.

" One guy showed me the remodeling job he'd done in his kitchen. He's kind of isolated, you know, go to work and go home and he'd say to me, ' well, I'm working on my house,'" Allen explained.

" And I always wondered what he was really doing in his house and then he showed me his remodeled kitchen so I was actually able to see it."

Generations Family Health Center's Dr. Heidi Tucker has experienced some of her patients being more comfortable with disclosing information to her via a phone or video appointment.

" I feel that people, so far, have been more comfortable telling me things that maybe they wouldn't have in person," Tucker said.

For that to happen though, both Tucker and Allen said the patient must first have an area in the home they feel comfortable talking in.

Allen explained many of his patients go to their parked cars for their appointments.

Tucker said she now has extra time to schedule follow- ups and check- ins with her patients a few days after their initial telehealth appointment.

She added telehealth is helpful for practitioners and patients during medication management and reconciliation because the patient has full access to all their prescription bottles at home.

" It has a lot of the perks of doing an in- home visit, but there's the drawback of not having actual physical contact," Tucker explained.

Every clinician asked agreed that while there have been many learning points, telehealth is no replacement to meeting a doctor in person.

" When you are examining the patients ( in- person), you sometimes notice certain things. When that's not available, you have to make a clinical judgment from just looking at the patient, Qureshi said.

Clinics and medical practices are still seeing people who do not have COVID19 symptoms in person for specific issues.

For example, Tucker stated some types of rashes are simply impossible to diagnose over a computer screen.

With all the challenges overcome, lessons learned and limitations recognized, clinicians agreed telehealth may play a bigger role in life after the coronavirus crisis.

" These are changing times and I feel that the world after COVID-19 is going to be definitely different after these experiences we've had using telemedicine," Qureshi said.

Follow Lisa Massicotte on Twitter @LMassicotteTC.

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Generations Thanks You!

Thank you to Generations Family Health Center’s Board of Directors and Leadership Team for supporting your team of “Generations’ Healthcare Heroes!” We are grateful for your support during these unprecedented times!


big-Thank You


*Due to COVID-19, this group has been postponed. Check back for further updates.*

Teen Girls


Making friends can be difficult for teenage girls. Our new group supports female adolescents ages 12-16 who have trouble making and keeping friends. If you know someone with limited social skills and insights around healthy relationships, this group may be helpful for her to join. They meet on Wednesdays from 4:30-5:30 at our Willimantic site. Call (860) 456-6287 to register. Begins Mar 25.

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Contact Us
Willimantic (860) 450-7471
Behavioral Health Services/Willimantic (860) 450-0585
Danielson (860) 774-7501
Norwich (860) 885-1308
Putnam (860) 963-7917

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