Health Happenings Newsletter July 2021

July 22, 2021

Gratitude Gathering

On June 24, 2021, a Gratitude Gathering was held at Holy Cross High School to show appreciation for the hard work and dedication by all StayWell team members.  An inspirational video was produced and released in honor of this exceptional group for their adaptability, perseverance and endurance!  Select the link below to view the moving tribute.

Accolades came from the Board of Alderman represented by Paul Pernerewski, Jr. who presented an official citation from Mayor Neil O’Leary’s office to thank StayWell for the collective sacrifice, dedication, commitment, courage and continued services to patients.  Kim, from the office of Congresswoman Jahana Hayes also presented a Congressional Certification of Recognition for the brave sacrifices to protect the health of our communities.

Together we can get through anything!


Gathering images

A Healthcare Champion is someone who has made a significant positive impact on the health of others, either through direct service, or by contributing to the health and wellness of residents in our area.  Announcing our 2021 Healthcare Champions!

In 1988 when the first Worlds AIDS day was being observed, Dr. Zife Krosi was doing more than observing to addressing this tragic health crises.  She was conducting research, publishing findings, and presenting at international conferences, before becoming a resident at Yale.  She has called StayWell her professional home since 1995, where she has provided primary care for adults.  She compassionately and competently cared for countless patients living with HIV/AIDS.  Together they navigated the challenges, successes and many changes in treatment and now prevention of the virus.  Throughout her time at StayWell, she has never been without a smile or kind word for a patient or colleague.  The significance of such grace and kindness cannot be underestimated.  The positive impact on the lives of patients and those around her for the past 26 years is immeasurable.  

Adam Rinko is the Emergency Management Director for the City of Waterbury, CT and Executive Officer for the Waterbury Fire Department. Adam is an International Association of Emergency Managers Certified Emergency Manager. He has become more widely known in the area since leading the city’s operational response to the Covid pandemic, and has been competent in doing so.  His modesty and friendly disposition have not only made him accessible to all despite the insurmountable demands, but have also reassured and encouraged others during this challenging time.  Previously, Adam spent years doing critical work addressing another health crises: the opioid epidemic.  Adam is a key member of the mayor’s opioid task force and has worked to educate and train countless community members of the signs of opioid overdose and naloxone use in order to save lives.  We honor his over 30 years of emergency management and emergency services commitment.


For more information or to purchase tickets to the event, please contact Jessica Brown, (203)756-8021 Ext. 3112, or 

Pride Month

Pride Month is celebrated annually in June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Riots.  During this month we recognize the resilience and determination of many individuals who are fighting to live freely.  

Dr. Helou

Dr. Elie Helou, StayWell’s Infectious Disease Clinical Director, shares his vision for all of us to aspire, “Pride doesn’t have to be only in June.  It should be all year long. Be kind and don’t judge people.”  This positive, accepting attitude is the foundation for the way that Dr. Helou practices medicine and provides clinical oversight for the Ryan White HIV program.  As soon as patients walk into the exam room, there is a noticeable difference with Dr. Helou-where is the white lab coat?  Dr. Helou states he doesn’t wear one because he wants patients to feel comfortable with him and not think that he is there to judge them. 

Dr. Helou practices at StayWell’s site at 80 Phoenix Avenue in Waterbury.  He has helped create an environment that exhibits inclusion of LGBTQIA+ individuals and provides the health care services specifically needed by this population.  Empowering patients with knowledge, gives them the tools to make their own informed choices. Dr. Helou educates his patients about the importance of prevention, screening, testing and improved treatments for HIV, Hepatitis C and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases.  For example, HIV was once a deadly disease and is now manageable.  HIV PrEP (Pre-Exposure prophylaxis) and PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis) are newer medication options that can prevent someone from getting the HIV virus.  StayWell’s clinical staff are well versed in the latest options to keep patients safe and healthy. 

While Dr. Helou treats all of his patients with respect and kindness, he pays close attention to the data that shows the LGBTQIA+, Hispanic and Black communities are at higher risks for infectious diseases.  Dr. Helou offers in-person and virtual appointments, and is accepting new patients.  He reminds us that, “nobody is immune,” so risk-reduction and testing are the best tools we have at this time.  

Give LocalOn April 20th & 21st, StayWell participated in the Give Local community fundraiser organized by the Connecticut Community Foundation. The 36 hour online give-a-thon helps local non-profit organizations raise money. Thanks to the generous donations from supporters and staff, StayWell raised $21,739.33 in donations and was awarded $3,579 in prize/bonus funds, making the grand total $25,318.33. 

StayWell thanks you for your support during this campaign!  In the 69 days between this event and July 1st, 627 uninsured dental patients needed services.  Your generous donations meant that they were not refused care when they did not have the money to pay the full costs and instead were provided a discount based on their income. 

These patients included Bill who is a senior with Medicare medical coverage which does not include dental coverage.  He needed some dental work, but was concerned about the estimated $1500 cost.  Bill and StayWell are grateful that he was able to have the work done at an affordable cost after completing a sliding fee scale application.  Thank you for ensuring that patients like Bill are able to maintain the dignity of good oral health. 

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