Western Connecticut Health Network Receives $75,000 from Union Savings Bank to Support Lyme Disease Education and Community Outreach

DANBURY, CT (May 4, 2016) – The Western Connecticut Health Network Foundation has received a $75,000 gift from the Union Savings Bank to support community education and outreach efforts of the Western Connecticut Health Network (WCHN) Lyme Disease Research program.

The gift from Union Savings Bank will enable WCHN to strengthen its Lyme disease program by offering expanded community education about tick-borne disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

“An estimated 300,000 people in the U.S., including 22,000 Connecticut residents, are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year,” said Joann Petrini, PhD, director of clinical outcomes and health services research at WCHN. “This number grows year to year. Major efforts are needed to combat the continuous increase in cases.”

WCHN started the first hospital-based registry in the nation to focus interdisciplinary research on the impact of Lyme disease. The WCHN Lyme Disease Registry aims to build an increasingly robust database of information gathered from individuals diagnosed with Lyme disease.

“We are deeply grateful to Union Savings Bank and its leadership for their support of this initiative,” said John M. Murphy, MD, president and CEO of WCHN. “This funding will allow us to expand our research efforts to better understand how to treat and prevent the disease. The Bank’s support of our mission of improving the health of our community is invaluable.”

Lyme disease is spread by the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis, also known as the deer tick, which are typically found in wooded and grassy areas. Most cases of Lyme disease occur between May and September, although it is possible to contract Lyme disease during the winter. Common symptoms of Lyme disease can include fever, headache, and fatigue, all of which can be easily confused with the flu. Some patients, but not all, develop a characteristic bull’s-eye rash soon after a tick bite.

“Union Savings Bank truly cares about the health of the communities in which we live, work and serve,” said Cynthia C. Merkle, president & CEO of Union Savings Bank. “Lyme disease can affect anyone and we believe in supporting the Western Connecticut Health Network in their research, education, and development of new treatments for this debilitating disease.”

If you have been diagnosed with Lyme disease and are interested in learning more about the WCHN Lyme Disease Registry, please call (203) 739-8383 or visit lymeregistry.org.

About Western Connecticut Health Network

Western Connecticut Health Network is the region’s premier, patient-centered health care organization serving residents of Western Connecticut and adjacent New York. The organization, which is now anchored by three nationally recognized hospitals, Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital and Norwalk Hospital, as well as their affiliated organizations. In addition to the three hospitals, the continuum of care offered includes Western Connecticut Medical Group, an integrated physician practice offering primary and subspecialty care across the region, Western Connecticut Home Care, an agency for home health care services, the nationally renowned Western Connecticut Health Network Biomedical Research Institute, the Western Connecticut Health Network Foundation, the Norwalk Hospital Foundation, and other affiliates. For more information, visit TheNewWCHN.org. Share your comments with us at Facebook.com/DanburyHospital; Facebook.com/NewMilfordHospital and/or Facebook.com/NorwalkHospital

About Union Savings Bank

Established in 1866 and headquartered in Danbury, Conn., Union Savings Bank is a $2.3 billion mutual bank dedicated to being the bank of choice. As a full-service financial institution, Union Savings Bank provides banking, mortgage, investment, trust and insurance products throughout western Connecticut with 26 offices in Bethel, Brookfield, Canton, Danbury, Goshen, Kent, Litchfield, Marble Dale, Monroe, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Ridgefield, Roxbury, Southbury, Torrington and Washington Depot. The bank provides financial services to individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations and government entities through its commercial, business banking, residential and consumer lending, treasury services, branch banking and wealth management divisions.

For more information, please visit unionsavings.com, and connect with the bank on LinkedIn and Facebook.