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MIIA is a Membership Service of the Massachusetts

MIIA Workshops at This Year’s MMA Annual Meeting on January 19 and 20

Published in News on by Lin Chabra, Member Services Manager

MIIA workshops at this year’s MMA Annual Meeting on January 19th and 20th will cover important topics relevant to all municipalities including: Strategies for Managing Rising Health Care Costs, A Practical Approach to Mitigating Municipal Cybersecurity Risks, Leading the Way to a Thriving Workplace and Ways to Identify and Eliminate Discrimination in the Workplace.

This years featured speaker at the MIIA Luncheon is Jennifer Michaels, MD, medical director of the Brien Center (Berkshire County’s largest Behavioral Health Agency), attending psychiatrist at Berkshire Medical Center and assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Michaels has spent over 20 years in the field of psychiatry, neurology and addiction medicine and will present on the opioid crisis facing Massachusetts and the nation today. In a recent talk, Michael’s indicated that in Massachusetts, a person is more likely to die from a drug overdose than a motor vehicle accident. “Currently, opioid overdose is the leading cause of death for Americans under age 50, but we can all take steps to effectively battle this epidemic,” said Dr. Michaels. Michaels will discuss specific ways that towns and municipalities can address this growing epidemic.

Strategies for Managing Health Care Costs

As health care costs continue to rise, municipalities are required to allocate a higher percentage of their budget each year to provide health insurance to their employees and retirees. These higher costs have put strains on municipal budgets and are crowding out essential services. Municipalities must find ways to bring these rising health care costs under control without sacrificing the quality of care that is being provided to their employees and retirees.

Workshop attendees will learn more about key programs that target two of the highest cost drivers in health care today: Musculoskeletal disorders – conditions and injuries affecting the bones, joints and muscles that can be painful and debilitating, affecting daily quality of life, activity and productivity, and diabetes.

An estimated 126.6 million Americans (one in two adults) are affected by a musculoskeletal condition –comparable to the total percentage of Americans living with a chronic lung or heart condition – costing an estimated $213 billion in annual treatment, care and lost wages, according to a report issued by the United States Bone and Joint Initiative (USBJI).

Dr. Ron Donelson,a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and the Founder and President of SelfCare First, a consulting, publishing, and low back pain disease management company, will be a member of the panel at this workshop and will speak on the varied musculoskeletal issues that occur.

According to the 2017 Diabetes Statistics Report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are 30.3 million people with diabetes (9.4% of the US population) including 23.1 million people who are diagnosed and 7.2 million people (23.8%) undiagnosed. The numbers for pre-diabetes indicate that 84.1 million adults (33.9% of the adult U.S. population) have pre-diabetes, including 23.1 million adults aged 65 years or older (the age group with highest rate).

Jenna Doucette, a wellness consultant for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and a Certified Health Education Specialist will be a panelist. Also featured in the discussion will be Dr. Thomas Hawkins, senior medical director of Population Health and Analytics for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Hawkins is also a Clinical Instructor of Population Health and Clinical Epidemiology at Harvard Medical School.

Chris Bailey, Manager of the MIIA Health Benefits Trust, will moderate the discussion. Bailey has worked for more than 20 years in the group health insurance space.

The workshop, to be held on Friday, January 19, 2-3:30 p.m. in room 201, will be beneficial for managers, department heads, and job supervisors. 

A Practical Approach to Mitigating Municipal Cybersecurity Risks

Hear from Seth Berman, a partner with the law firm Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP, and a national cybersecurity expert, about the different ways that cyber attacks can occur in municipalities, as well as critical steps you can take to prevent an attack. And finally, learn what you should do after a cyber breach happens. Understand the legal obligations of cities and towns to report cyber incidents, and whether buying cyber risk insurance is enough to mitigate risk.

Berman leads Nutter’s Privacy and Data Security practice group. Organizations and their boards engage Berman to address the legal, technical and strategic aspects of data privacy and cybersecurity risk, and to prepare for and respond to data breaches, hacking and other cyber attacks.

Prior to joining Nutter, Berman led the Boston, New York, and Washington offices of Stroz Friedberg, a leading cybersecurity and digital forensics investigations consulting firm. He also spent six years in London as the head of the consulting firm’s international practice, where he regularly assisted clients with international criminal and digital forensics investigations. Berman is a recognized thought leader in cybersecurity and criminal law. He has appeared on the BBC and SkyNews to comment on cybersecurity issues, and has written extensively on the subject.  Berman also teaches a Cyber Crime law class at Harvard Law School.

Nancy Kiely Fermano, Manager of Operations at MIIA, will moderate the discussion.

The workshop will be held on Friday, January 19, 3:45-5 p.m. in room 202.

Leading the Way To A Thriving Workplace

What does it take to make a difference in your organization’s culture and the wellbeing of your workforce? It’s not what you might think. Successful companies and enlightened leaders build and maintain workplace cultures where people are freed, fueled and inspired to bring their best selves to work – and home – each day. They challenge the status quo and move from traditional wellness to an integrated approach, fusing organizational and individual wellbeing.

Attendees of this workshop will learn from subject expert Dr. Rosie Ward, co-owner of Salveo Partners, LLC, a certified Judgment Index Consultant, a certified Valuations Specialist, and a Board Certified Coach, about how to refocus your efforts to create and influence a workplace where everyone can thrive.

Dr. Ward co-founded Salveo Partners, LLC, to leverage the fusion of organizational and employee wellbeing to create thriving workplace cultures. She works with executive and leadership teams to create a comprehensive leadership development strategy centered around shifting thinking patterns, and she helps organizations develop and implement strategies to create a thriving workplace culture that values and supports wellbeing and the unique, intrinsic needs of employees. She also trains and mentors others to help shift the trajectory of the worksite wellness industry and improve organizational culture.

Wendy Gammons, Health Benefits Trust Wellness Manager for MIIA, will be the moderator.

The workshop will be held on Saturday, January 20, 2-3:30 p.m. in room 208.

Employment Liability Best Practices - Ways to Identify and Eliminate Discrimination in the Workplace

Given the current climate in our nation with announcements of harassment and discrimination allegations in the news on an almost daily basis, MIIA wants to provide its members with practical and topical skills that can help them address these very important issues in their workplace. This workshop will help participants recognize and eliminate harassment and discrimination in the workplace and will feature the following topics: an overview of protected classes, how to handle complaints of discrimination, and when to investigate. In addition, there will be an analysis of recent Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination decisions and cases handled to highlight mistakes that supervisors have made, the resulting consequences, and ways to avoid making these mistakes.

This workshop will be presented by Lin Chabra, Member Training Manager for MIIA, on Saturday, January 20, 2-2:30 p.m. in room 203.

MIIA Rewards

MIIA members are eligible for Rewards credits for attending the following Annual Meeting workshops:


  • “Labor Law Update: Recent Cases and Agency Decisions” – 2-3:30 p.m., Room 200
  • “Marijuana Law: The Way Forward for Municipalities” – 2-3:30 p.m., Room 208
  • “Hiring and Training a Modern Police Force” – 3:45-5 p.m., Room 200
  • “Successful and Effective Land Use and Zoning Policies” – 3:45-5 p.m., Room 210
  • “A Practical Approach to Mitigating Cybersecurity Risks” – 3:45-5 p.m., Room 202


  • “Do’s and Don’ts of Municipal Social Media Policies” – 2-3:30 p.m., Room 202
  • “Municipal Law Update”  – 2-3:30 p.m., Room 200
  • “Employment Liability Best Practices” – 2-3:30 p.m., Room 202



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