June 27, 2017

New treatment center dedicated to Sister Caritas at ribbon-cutting ceremony

Story and photos by Julie Beaulieu

Mayor Domenic Sarno (left) assists with the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new TMS East facility in downtown Springfield.

SPRINGFIELD — “Dedicated to Sister Mary Caritas: In honor of her lifetime legacy of providing hope,” reads the plaque which will now hang in TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) East, a new office on Main Street, here, which will provide cutting-edge treatment to those suffering from mental illness.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno led a ribbon-cutting ceremony in honor of Sister of Providence Mary Caritas Geary during Achieve TMS East’s grand opening on June 29.

Dr. Thomas Bombardier and Dr. Oscar Morales hold the plaque dedicating the new facility to Sister of Providence Mary Caritas Geary.

“Sister Caritas is always a wonderful person to honor,” said Mayor Sarno. “She doesn’t look for any of these types of accolades. She’s given her head, her heart, her soul and her gut with the Sisters of Providence to make sure that people in need have the medical care and access to the facilities that they need.

“Today, what’s being done here is something that helps with depression and mental health, and we all have family and friends who have gone through it or are going through it, and to be able to have an opportunity with cutting edge treatment to be able to treat this, is very, very wonderful,” he said, noting that some types of mental illness, left untreated, can turn into a vicious cycle of poverty, public safety issues and incarceration.

Dr. Thomas Bombardier, a founding member of Ambulatory Surgical Centers of America and advocate of TMS services, recalled an interaction with Sister Caritas.

“I told her that those of us lucky enough to encounter her on the way through life, it’s impossible not to see the reflection of how unique she is, and it has nothing to do with her age,” said Bombardier. “I had a chance to ask her about the continued direction in her life and the one word that seems to guide her is hope. This center, then, is dedicated to hope.”

Dr. Kenneth Jaffe, a board-certified psychiatrist who will be working with Achieve TMS East, explained how deep transcranial magnetic stimulation can help those suffering from moderate to major depressive illness.

“This is something new we have to offer now to people who haven’t been able to tolerate, or haven’t benefitted from anti-depressants, and to those, who, for whatever reason, don’t want ECT (Electro Convulsive Therapy), this is a kinder and gentler treatment,” said Dr. Jaffe. “It doesn’t involve any anesthesia. There are no problematic side effects. It’s 20 to 25 minutes of mild electro-magnetic pulses to one particular area in the frontal cortex, and we get good results. So, we’re very excited about being here.”

Dr. Jaffe added that deep TMS is approved by the Food and Drug Administration and is a safe, non-invasive treatment that has been tested in over 60 clinical studies. TMS treatment is covered by Medicaid and Medicare in Massachusetts.

Demonstrating the TMS machine are Larissa Hayden (left) and technician Stacey Kroneberg.

A demonstration of the machine was given, accompanied by an information session.

In addition to the facility at 3550 Main St. in Springfield, three more offices are opening in Northampton, Amherst and Pittsfield.

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