Senator Markey Visits Codman, Calls it the “Platinum Standard”

US Senator Ed Markey visited Codman on February 23 to talk with providers and staff, and to discuss his efforts to make diabetes care more affordable. Several local press attended the event, which featured Codman’s CEO Sandra Cotterell, Codman’s Chief Medical Officer Renee, Crichlow, MD, and Boston Medical Center’s Christian Arbalez, MD, Chief of Emergency Services.

US Senator Markey (center) poses with Chief Medical Officer Renee Crichlow, MD (left), Sandra Parisien, RN, Siiri Bantz, RN, Paulette St. Germain, RN, Janay Sanford, RN, and Mah Weah, MA.

Sen. Markey toured the health center and chatted with staff, asking about their jobs, patients, and work. He talked, laughed, and took photos with many staff members, and was very engaged in learning more about Codman’s services.

Sen. Markey reminisced about his last visit, and said, “In 2018 I said Codman wasthe gold standard of health centers. As I walk around and see the changes, I now say you are the platinum standard.” He continued: “You just keep getting better and better at what you do.”

After Markey’s introductory remarks, he talked about the challenge for many people to afford their medication, specifically insulin for people with diabetes. He pointed out that some people may pay more than $1,000 a month for insulin and added that the scientists who discovered it sold the patents for $1.

Sen. Markey is advocating for legislation that would cap out-of-pocket insulin expenses for those who need the medication.

Dr. Crichlow elaborated on the importance of insulin and its affordability. “It’s not just about the insulin — it’s about getting the insulin to the right people at the right place at the right time,” said Renee Crichlow, Codman Square Chief Medical Officer. “You have to realize equity is putting resources where they’re needed most. “

Dr. Arbalez talked about how, as an emergency room physician, he sees the results of acute illness brought on by inadequate diabetes care. He told the story of a patient who came to the emergency department with severe complications of her disease as a result of not being able to afford medication.

Sen. Markey’s legislation has broad support among many other lawmakers and interest groups.

Three eye doctors in lab coats

Eye Care Welcomes New Leadership & Providers, Expands Capacity

Debi Sarma, OD

Codman made some exciting updates to its eye care department that will expand access to eye care services for our patients and community. We now have openings to accommodate people who need eye care appointments in the coming weeks.

Like many medical providers, the impact of COVID on our operations meant that we were not able to see patients as quickly as we wanted. Fortunately, we recently welcomed two new experienced and dynamic eye care providers, and that is opening our schedules.

We are excited to welcome Doctors Debi Sarma, DO, and Dan Phuong Nguyen, DO, to Codman!

Dr. Sarma joins as Codman’s new Director of Eye Care. Dr. Sarma has deep experience delivering eye care in community health centers and other settings. She is passionate not only about giving patients the best care possible but doing so by getting to know her patients and understanding what treatments and services work best for them.

Dr. Sarma is also committed to working closely with her patients and colleagues to take proactive steps to prevent blindness. Dr. Sarma speaks English and Assamese.

Dr. Dan Phuong Nguyen joined Codman in February 2023 and brings her valuable experience working in busy ophthalmology practices, including at other community health centers. She is excited to get to know the Codman patients and community. Dr. Nguyen was born in Vietnam, and speaks speaks English and Vietnamese.

The new providers join other Codman eye care providers Dr. Khuu in ensuring that Codman’s patients’ eye care is top notch. Codman’s eye care providers work closely with our primary care providers to take special care to reach out to patients who are at risk for diminished vision.

If you are looking to book an eye care appointment at Codman, you can fill out an appointment request form or call 617-822-8271.

Codman Recognizes World AIDS Day

Codman recognized World AIDS Day by hosting a health center-wide event for the staff with food, giveaways, staff and patient stories, and giveaways. World AIDS Day occurs on Dec. 1 each year

and is an opportunity for people to unite to fight against the spread of HIV, show support for people living with HIV, and commemorate those who have died from AIDS-related illnesses.

This year, Codman’s Communicable Disease Prevention Program (CDPP), which coordinates care for people living with HIV, performs testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, and more, hosted the World AIDS Day event.

CDPP staff prepared an engaging trivia contest that tested people’s knowledge of the history of the illness, its treatments, and its activists. They also ran a presentation highlighting HIV activists over the years, CDPP patient stories, and staff biographies.

Codman’s CDPP program offers extensive services for patients who are living with HIV including:

  • Case managers who can support patients with appointments, transportation, advocacy, and more
  • Onsite pharmacy
  • Integrated behavioral health services
  • Prevention (PrEP, free condoms)
  • Highly specialized and experienced medical staff

If you are interested in learning more about World AIDS Day, HIV, or Codman’s services testing for sexually transmitted infections, prevention HIV, or living with HIV, please contact 617-822-8350.

Codman Distributes Hundreds of Toys to Young Patients


Codman hosted its annual Holiday Gift Giveaway on Saturday, Dec. 17, in the Great Hall in Codman Square and gave away hundreds of wrapped gifts to patients.

Families from Notre Dame Academy in Hingham donated 480 carefully selected gifts. The students at the school joyously wrapped them and packaged them up by age and gender for young Codman patients.

Each year, Codman gives parents the opportunity to register their children who are patients of the health center for a holiday gift. Codman staff create a gift bag from the donated presents for each family who registered that includes a gift(s) for each of the children that is specific to the child’s gender and age.

On the day of the Gift Giveaway, parents came in to a festive scene with decorations, Holiday music, staff handing out presents, and children’s entertainment. Kristen Hale delighted children at the event with her custom-made balloon animals, face painting, and more!

Thank you to the students, families, and staff at Notre Dame Academy for the generous donations, and thank you to all the health center families for sharing in this joyous time with us!

Mass DPH & American Academy of Pediatrics (Mass. Chapter) Issue Advice for Parents on Kids Fever Reducer Shortage

parent with sick child

An especially active year for pediatric colds, flus, and other illnesses has increased demand for pediatric fever reducers (Acetaminophen/Tylenol; Motrin/Advil). Parents may have a hard time finding these medications. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a letter for parents during this time. See the content of the letter below.

Dear Parents and Caregivers:

We are writing with recommendations regarding a current shortage of infant and children’s pain and fever-reducing medications in stores and pharmacies nationally and in Massachusetts. This shortage includes common liquid preparations of acetaminophen and ibuprofen and other cold and flu medications that can reduce fever.

During this time when we are seeing increased cases of flu and other respiratory viruses, you may be unable to find these medications on pharmacy shelves. While this can be distressing, it’s important to remember that fever-reducing medicines do not cure or even shorten the duration of illness. While a fever can be uncomfortable, fever is a sign that your child’s body is fighting infection. Low to moderate fevers do not require fever-reducing medications and children are able to tolerate such low fevers well.

There are several steps you can take to help comfort your child if they develop a fever and you are unable to find fever-reducing medications including:

  • Encourage your child to drink lots of fluids including water and electrolyte-containing fluids for children. Staying well hydrated is important to help your child feel better and fight the infection.
  • Keep their room comfortably cool.
  • Dress them in light clothing.

It’s important to remember that fever in children should never be treated with aspirin or rubbing alcohol as both can cause serious illness.

During this current shortage of fever-reducing medications, it is recommended that you purchase only the quantity that you need for your child, to avoid worsening shortages and ensure available supply for others.  Please note: If you don’t see fever-reducing products on the store shelf, ask the pharmacy staff as they may be storing their limited supply behind the counter.

If you have questions about the medications you have at home, or have purchased, please check with your health care provider or pharmacist. Additional guidance can be found here:

Group of people serving food

Men of Boston Cook for Women’s Health Celebrates 25 Years of Food, Fun, and Fundraising

Codman celebrated its 25th annual Men of Boston Cook for Women’s Health on Thursday, Oct. 20, under the gala tent in front of the health center. Hundreds of community members, supporters, and staff gathered to network, sample local food and drinks, and raise money for Codman’s women’s health programming.

Since 1996, the health center has hosted the event onsite. Organizers find hosting the event at the health center enables patients and community members to attend easily and brings supporters from other areas of the region to a neighborhood they may not otherwise visit.

This year was extra special to everyone because, not only was it the 25th anniversary, it was the first time the event had been held in person since 2019. At that 2019 event, we had no idea that the same tent would be used as part of our public health response to a global pandemic. (Codman hosted COVID-19 testing in the front parking lot during the first year of the pandemic.) Everyone was excited to see each other in person again and to see the tent used for a party!

Attendees enjoyed food from more than 20 local restaurants including long-time nearby establishments Tavolo Ristorante and Ashmont Grill, seen below.


Boston City Council President Ed Flynn, CNN’s John King, and Marc Bonanno, executive chef at Ashmont Grill and Tavolo Ristorante.

WCVB’s Meteorologist Mike Wankum and CNN Anchor and Chief Political Correspondent John King, also a Dorchester native, emceed the event. Both celebrities are longtime supporters of the event where in addition to their official event duties, they love to mingle with the crowd and have fun. (pic below)

Another long-time celebrity chef, Governor Charlie Baker, spoke eloquently about the value of Men of Boston Cook for Women’s Health and presented Codman’s CEO Sandra Cotterell with a citation honoring the event’s 25 years.

The evening also featured:

  • Live performances by The Blue Hotel
  • Live performance by Boston’s own Louie Bello
  • Food and drink from more than 20 local restaurants and bars
  • WCVB was our media sponsor again

Codman CEO Sandra Cotterell was thrilled to see everyone under the gala tent and meet up with community members and supporters in person again. “Every year, Men of Boston Cook for Women’s Health is one of my favorite evenings. However, after the changes we all had to make during the pandemic made me appreciate seeing everyone even more!”

Protect Yourself this Respiratory Season

flu and vaccine clinic image

We are coming into winter, which means it is the season you are more likely to suffer from common respiratory illness.  Colds and flu can wreak havoc on anyone during this time, but the addition of COVID makes the season even more challenging.

You can protect yourself against flu and COVID at Codman’s Respiratory Season Vaccine Clinics. Even if you have had a COVID vaccine and two boosters, the new bivalent booster will help you fight the omicron strains of COVID. Clinics are Dec. 22 and Dec. 29 from 9 am to 4:30 pm.

At our Respiratory Season Vaccine Clinics, not only can you protect yourself with these vaccines, you can also:

  • Enter to win prizes
  • Receive a gift card (only available for COVID vaccines)

Cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) have spiked early in children this year, and children’s hospitals have been filling with patients ill with the virus. While there is no vaccine for RSV, protecting children against flu and COVID can help prevent severe illness and keep kids out of the already-burdened hospitals.

Adults over 65 are more at risk for complications from flu and COVID, and vaccines are their best defense against severe illness. We encourage appointments, which you can make by calling 617-822-8271 or filling out an appointment request form (orange button on the right of this). We accept walk-in patients if space permits.