Gustin health care conference to focus on collaboration

Published on Wednesday, 31 January 2018 21:44
Written by Angie DeRosa


NEW BRITAIN - When Marie Gustin’s parents, Susie and Charles, died, she wanted to honor their memory.

Ten years ago, she did just that by endowing the Dr. Marie Gustin Professional Excellence Conference through the Hospital for Special Care Foundation.

“Their ideals and values, deep faith and courage, I felt were imbedded in the fabric of my life,” Gustin said.

At the time, Gustin was familiar with Hospital of Special Care because she had served on its board of directors. She became impressed by the hospital and knew she wanted to work with them.

The first conference, in 2008, focused on nursing, but as time went on, it expanded to include other medical disciplines.

As a New Britian school superintendent, Gustin made a lot of connections through the city. She also served as a board member at the Hospital of Central Connecticut.

“Nursing itself demands sophisticated judgment and extensive knowledge,” Gustin said. “Any missed detail can mean disaster. Nurses are a critical backbone of the health care system. If we’re going to transform health care, we need to invest in health care education.”

The eighth annual Dr. Marie Gustin Professional Excellence Conference will take place on Friday, April 13, at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville.

The theme for this year’s conference is “Inter-professional Healthcare Innovation: Bringing the Buzz Words to the Bedside.” It will focus on the importance of inter-professional collaboration for effective care.

Nurses, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and other health professionals will be able to learn why innovation in health care is more important now than ever before.

Jean Thomas, a doctor at Hospital for Special Care and a member of the planning committee for the event, said inspiration for the themes of the conference and other topics to discuss comes from the health care students and professionals in attendance.

“It’s topics they think are relevant,” Thomas said.

In addition, attendees receive credit through the Connecticut Nurses Association.

The guest speakers at the conference will be Tim Raderstorf, chief innovation officer at the Ohio State University College of Nursing, and Christine Meehan, entrepreneur-in-residence at the University of Connecticut.

New this year is the innovation competition, in which people can submit their ideas for new health care products, services and solutions. The top entrants will be able to present their innovation at the conference and win $2,500.

“This is a really critical time in health care. Things are changing at the speed of light. How do we innovate with changing technology?” Thomas said.

She added, “Sometimes staff has great ideas with apps or new products and say ‘Gee, I could have done that.’ This conference gives a change to help staff bring forward a good idea, how to market it, how to get the word out there.”

Tickets for the event are $125 for individuals, $99 for three or more people in the same organization, and $35 for students.

The Connecticut League of Nursing, a major partner in the conference, will sponsor 10 people.

For more information and to register, visit

“We’re privileged for Marie to host a conference like this. Without her support, we wouldn’t be able to do all of this,” said Thomas.

Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Wednesday, 31 January 2018 21:44. Updated: Wednesday, 31 January 2018 21:46.