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How This Non-Clinical Support Fund Started After a Doctor Was Hospitalized

June 02, 2021

Dr. John Satterfield has always had an appreciation for colleagues who work behind the scenes at a hospital. Especially since his wife, Anna, initially began working as a volunteer at New Britain General Hospital (NBGH) when she was 14 years old. After two years of volunteering, she began working in food services at the hospital.

“I feel like the people who often make the hospital run as efficiently as it does, like food and environmental services, don’t always get the appreciation and recognition they deserve,” Dr. Satterfield said.

Dr. Satterfield is now the Director of Anesthesia Services at the Southington Surgery Center and works for North American Partners in Anesthesia (NAPA). Anna Satterfield would eventually go to nursing school and become an ICU nurse at New Britain General Hospital (NBGH). She then  completed her Master’s degree in nursing.  Anna now works with her husband at the Southington Surgery Center, overseeing the preoperative screening of all patients. The Satterfields met in 1985 during his time as a UConn resident while doing an ICU rotation at NBGH.

In May 2020, Dr. Satterfield had an acute illness that required a brief hospitalization at The Hospital of Central Connecticut in New Britain. That’s when he met Walter Taylor, a housekeeper in Environmental Services.

“Walter is a very pleasant person,” says Dr. Satterfield. “He was most enjoyable to talk to. I sincerely appreciated his kindness and the attention with which he addressed his work.”

Dr. Satterfield recalls speaking to Walter regarding his plans to further his career or education.

“I told Dr. Satterfield that I was looking to move up in the hospital,” says Taylor, “and that I had been homeless for about nine months – traveling between East Hartford and New Britain. I was having to take two buses to get to work.”

He then explained to Dr. Satterfield how he wanted to become a pharmacy technician, which would allow him to support his young daughter and stepson.

The Satterfields were so touched by Walter’s story that they decided to start a Non-Clinical Employee Continuing Education Support Fund at HOCC – understanding that there were other non-clinical HOCC staff, similar to Walter, who wanted to advance their personal and professional growth, but needed the ability to make it happen.

“We want to support people and provide them with a greater degree of access to educational opportunities,” says Dr. Satterfield. They enlisted the help of Dr. Jeff Finkelstein, Vice President of Medical Affairs in the Central Region, and Tina Fabiani, Manager of Philanthropy, to make it all happen.

Chastity Rivera, a biomedical engineering secretary at HOCC, was the first person to receive the scholarship. Chastity says she’s been wanting to further her education since she was 19 – she’s now 43. (In the photo above, from left, Anna Satterfield, Rivera, Taylor, Dr. Satterfield.)

When she graduated from high school, she was asked to temporarily care for two small children after DCF removed them from a friend’s home. Chastity then had two children of her own. Before making a second attempt at college, she was once again asked to care for two more children who belonged to her cousin. “We ended up legally adopting those two children so I had four children and it was difficult to go back to school.”

Thanks to the scholarship from the Satterfield’s, Chasity started school in January 2021 at Tunxis Community College. She’s now working towards an associate’s degree in Business Administration.

“Mr. and Mrs. Satterfield are very thoughtful and kind for considering others and offering these scholarships. I am extremely appreciative because literally my husband and I live paycheck to paycheck to take care of our children. This scholarship will allow me to advance my opportunities, increase my pay and it means a lot,” Chasity said.

Walter was eventually awarded the second scholarship offered by the Satterfield’s and is now attending Manchester Community College. Walter will soon receive certification as a pharmaceutical technician. Walter says he has tremendous gratitude for the Satterfield’s, and credits God for putting him in the right place at the right time. “They gave me a shot, not looking at me as a housekeeper, or just a young kid. He took the time to listen to me and see me. He didn’t judge me. I will forever be grateful for what they did. If the Satterfield’s ever need help, I would be right there for them,” Walter said.

The Satterfield’s say they plan to continue with the scholarship program. “The non-clinical staff at HOCC work very hard to support themselves and their families. They deserve an opportunity to advance their education and my wife and I want to help make that dream a reality,” Dr. Satterfield said.