VIM News

Midsummer’s Night Party a Great Success

It was a magical evening at VIM Berkshires’ Midsummer’s Night Party at Gedney Farm on August 9. The event was sold out, and many paddles were raised during the auction, making this VIM’s most successful Gala yet. Thanks to all who helped us fund another year of patient care at VIM’s free healthcare facility!


Wheatleigh 2018 – Annie Selke hosts a Dinner to Support VIM Berkshires

In May, VIM Berkshires held its now annual Chefs’ Dinner at the Wheatleigh Estate. Thanks to the generosity of Linfield and Susan Simon, the owners of the estate, and the capable curation of Marc Wilhelm, the evening was one of ease and comfort.  The jazz trio Swing Theory played during the cocktail hour. The doors were open and the warm evening air invited the guests to stroll on the back lawn. (more…)

VIM Executive Director Ilana Steinhauer, FNP-BC

Ilana featured in “40 Under Forty”

VIM’s own Executive Director Ilana Steinhauer was featured as one of Berkshire County’s outstanding young community leaders. Presented by Berkshire Community College as “40 Under Forty,” the group is the 3rd annual class of 40 individuals being recognized for their achievements and contributions to the local community. Ilana is on Page G29 in the March 21, 2018 article in the Berkshire Eagle.

You can view the whole article here:

A Driving Connection

By Marc Rosenthal

I started volunteering at VIM a few months ago for the Communications Committee. VIM is such a beautiful organization and I wanted to help. But, it wasn’t until I started as a volunteer driver that I came to feel a real connection to our community and to the organization.

So far, I have been driving people to and from their appointments at VIM from all around Berkshire county. All have been Spanish speakers with varying abilities in English. This has been really interesting as my ability in Spanish is pretty limited. Spending a half an hour with them feels like a trip abroad. I am determined to learn more Spanish, but in the meantime I am enjoying finding ways to communicate. And I’m filled with admiration at the way my passengers have learned to speak English. (more…)

VIM’s Volunteer Certified Nurse Midwife Linda Baxter Provided Critical Care to Pregnant Refugees in Greece


By Nancy Fernandez Mills

For Linda Baxter, offering her time and skills to treat female patients at VIM Berkshires is a rewarding and meaningful volunteer job. But this nurse midwife has considerable global healthcare experience and travel is in her DNA.

“My family moved a lot because my father was in the Army,” said Linda. “I didn’t really have a home town in my childhood. I like travel and I’m used to diversity in my patients, since I started my career in Brooklyn at Downstate Medical Center.”

Linda has a Masters degree from Columbia University in maternity nursing. After 17 years working in New York, she moved to the Berkshires to start a maternity clinic at Fairview Hospital. She continued that work at Community Health Practice, raised three children and also volunteered in Namibia, Nigeria and Tibet. After her retirement in 2014, she spent a year in Rwanda. (more…)

Giving to the Community – 100 gift bags from Hevreh were received with gratitude

A resounding “Thank you!” to the students and personnel at Hevreh of Southern Berkshires, who donated 100 holiday gift bags in early December, 2017 to VIM. The gift bags, assembled and beautifully wrapped at Hevreh, included hats and gloves, donated by Alan Bloom, and various items donated by Jeremy Liebowitz of Newell Brands in New York City. We’re grateful to all the participants for bringing holiday cheer to VIM’s patients and their children.

Kaiser Report: Rising Fear and Stress Levels Harming Immigrants’ Health

When immigrants seek a safe place for health care in the Berkshires, many turn to Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires.  However, the current political climate has heightened fear of harassment and deportation even among VIM’s patients.  The clinic has responded in several ways, including adding more transportation services for patients who are reluctant to drive to appointments.

The Kaiser Family Foundation has issued a new report highlighting how anti-immigrant rhetoric from the Trump Administration is harming families and especially children.  You can read more about the report here.

Susan Minnich Honored at VIM Holiday Party

Human Resources Manager Susan Minnich was honored for her many years of service at VIM’s Annual Holiday Party on December 1st at Dewey Hall in Sheffield.  Board Chair Art Peisner, Executive Director Ilana Steinhauer, FNP, and Office Manager Robert Olsen presented Susan with a laptop computer and other gifts.  (more…)

Michele Shalaby

VIM Welcomes Michele Shalaby to Management Team

Michele Shalaby, local activist and member of the Board of Selectmen for the town of New Marlborough, has been named Human Resources/Volunteer Manager by Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires. She replaces Susan Minnich, who will retire in December. (more…)

VIM Executive Director Ilana Steinhauer, FNP-BC

Ilana Steinhauer, MSN, FNP-BC Is Now Our Executive Director

Ilana takes on the leadership of VIM Berkshires and the entire staff and board are excited to support her efforts. Art Peisner, Board Chair of VIM Berkshires announced the decision of the Board and welcomed her to this position at a recent staff meeting.

“In the short time that Ilana has been with VIM, she has already had a lasting impact, (more…)

VIM Berkshires Wins Henry Schein Gold Medal

Following a nationwide competition, VIM Berkshires has been awarded the Gold Medal in the Medical Category for organizations that demonstrate excellence in expanding access to care for the underserved. (more…)

Robert Davenport, MD Named Medical Director

When Bob Davenport’s career in primary and family care was winding down, he heard about an opportunity to get involved with Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires from his supervisors at Berkshire Health Systems. (more…)

VIM Receives Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Grant

VIM Berkshires gratefully acknowledges receipt of a $6,000 gift from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Quality of Life grant. This grant supported the construction of the wheelchair lift inside the clinic and the wheelchair ramp leading up to the clinic front door. (more…)

VIM Open House

About 70 supporters of Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires (VIM), including members of the Board of Trustees, volunteers and clinic staff, celebrated the expansion of the clinic on Thursday evening, June 16th.

Highlights of the celebration included tours of the newly renovated space and remarks from longtime VIM champion State Representative William “Smitty” Pignatelli as well as Great Barrington Town Manager Jennifer Tabakin. (more…)

Jeffrey Blake, MD Named “Senior Volunteer Physician of the Year”

Jeffrey W. Blake, M.D., Board Member and clinical volunteer at Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires (VIM), has been honored by the Massachusetts Medical Society as the 2016 recipient of its Senior Volunteer Physician of the Year Award.

“This is terrific!” said Dr. Blake.  “It’s very nice to be recognized, but in a way, it’s a greater honor for VIM for providing the kind of opportunity for volunteer doctors to serve our patients.  We do it because we love to do it.” (more…)

Non-Opioid Pain Management

We are thrilled to share with you this front page coverage in Sunday March 13’s Berkshire Eagle of VIM Berkshire’s leadership in efforts to fight the deadly epidemic of opioid addiction. As you may know, VIM’s patients with chronic pain are treated with non-opiod pain management, including acupuncture, massage, nutrition and mental health counseling. We have convened a Task Force of leaders from hospitals, law enforcement and various health care providers to share our knowledge and extend our alternative treatment approach throughout the Berkshire region. It’s exciting to see the enthusiastic response to VIM’s efforts. This is just the beginning.

Dan Burke of Iredale Mineral Cosmetics Joins Board of Directors

Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires (VIM) is pleased to announce that Daniel J. Burke, CPA, Vice President of Finance and Controller of Iredale Mineral Cosmetics, Ltd., has joined its Board of Trustees. (more…)

Shared Medical Appointments

The second in a series of groundbreaking VIM Berkshires Shared Medical Appointments kicked off on October 14 at Berkshire South Community Center. A group of Spanish speaking women patients will meet twice a month for the next six months and receive in-depth education about healthy eating, stress reduction and weight management. Integrative Medicine specialist Susan Lord, MD and VIM health coach and yoga teacher Nancy Fernandez Mills will facilitate, supported by VIM clinical staff. The program is made possible by a grant from the Massachusetts Medical Society. To read about the first SMA session, on high blood pressure, click here.

Generous Dental Donation

Volunteers In Medicine Berkshires (VIM) in Great Barrington has received new dental equipment worth more than $50,000, thanks to dental equipment manufacturer Midmark Corporation and Henry Schein Cares, the global corporate social responsibility program of Henry Schein, Inc., the world’s largest provider of health care products and services to office-based dental, animal health, and medical practitioners. (more…)

Volunteers Plager and Goodman Profiled

Two long-standing VIM volunteers, Dr. Andy Plager and Board Member Liz Goodman, both Lenox residents, were recently profiled in the November 2014 issue of the magazine Lenox Living. Click here for Lenox Living, then scroll down to page 26 to read Heather Herman’s column “Make a Difference.”

Denyse Adler Elected to Board of Directors

Denyse Adler is one of the newest members of VIM Berkshires’ Board of Trustees and she has quickly made herself invaluable to the clinic. Denyse has been a VIM volunteer for about two years, recently became editor of our newsletter VIM Voices and is also an active member of our Communications Committee.

Denyse deep background and years of experience in healthcare in the New York City area means she offers insight into the current state of medicine nationally as well as compassion for our patients. (more…)

Insurance Mandates Aside, Organization Still Busy Filling Gap in Healthcare Access

By John Townes

Berkshire Trade & Commerce

Much has changed in the decade since Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) Berkshires was established in Great Barrington to provide free healthcare services to area residents who are uninsured or underinsured. First, in 2006, Massachusetts initiated its statewide health reform policy, the Massachusetts Health Care Law (Commonwealth Care), which mandated health insurance and established new systems to provide coverage for those who could not afford it from the private market. Then the federal government passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, which was closely modeled on Massachusetts’ law. (more…)

VIM to Pilot Shared Medical Visits

Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires (VIM) has been awarded a $35,000 two-year grant from the Massachusetts Medical Society and Alliance Charitable Foundation to develop and put into place a program of shared medical appointments (SMAs) focusing on one or more chronic diseases.  This model will break new ground for VIM, according to Board Chair Arthur Peisner. (more…)

Ilana Steinhauer, MSN, FNP-BC Joins VIM as Clinical Care Coordinator

Volunteers In Medicine, Berkshires (VIM) is very pleased to announce that Ilana Steinhauer will be returning in January as our new Clinical Care Coordinator. After graduating with honors from Wesleyan University and taking a year off to travel around the United States and South America, Ilana worked at VIM as our first intern in the fall of 2006. During more than a year at the clinic, she was involved with almost every phase of its operation, and her enthusiasm, ideas and commitment were major assets. Ilana attributes her desire to pursue a career as a nurse practitioner and her fascination with health education issues to the rewarding experience she had at VIM during that time. (more…)

Marion Simon Honored

On June 26th, 2013, Berkshire United Way presented the Edward J. Dery Jr. Memorial Award for lifetime achievement in community giving and caring  to Marion Simon. The following are excerpts from her award, presented to her by 2005 recipient Susan Lombard. (more…)

Ellen B. Rowntree, MD, Elected to VIM Board of Trustees

Ellen Rowntree, MD was elected to the Volunteers in Medicine Board of Trustees in March, 2013.  She has been volunteering as a psychiatrist at VIM for five years and currently chairs the Mental Health Team. She feels very committed to VIM and its mission and she hopes her experience in the clinic will inform her work with the Board and that her participation on the Board will complement her clinical work. She feels privileged to be able to make a contribution to the needs of the community in such a warm, respectful setting. (more…)

Miss Hall’s School Volunteers Serve Others and Explore Medical Careers at VIM

Fifteen year-old Pearl is a sophomore at Miss Hall’s School, a private college preparatory boarding and day school for girls in Pittsfield.  She’s participating in Horizons, a signature program for off-campus experiential learning, by volunteering at VIM Berkshires. “I want to get experience in health care,” said Pearl.  “My goal is to study medicine and I hope that a career in optometry is in my future.” (more…)

AMA Award Winner

VIM Berkshire’s Dr. Matthew Mandel has earned a place in the national spotlight. Dr. Mandel recently accepted the  American Medical Association Foundation’s 2013 Excellence in Medicine Award, the AMA’s highest honor for volunteer physicians.  Click here to learn more about Dr. Mandel and find out why he is an inspiration to all of us at VIM. For more coverage of Dr. Mandel’s award, click here.

Caring without Insurance: Volunteers in Medicine Serve

By Margot Welch, Special to The

GREAT BARRINGTON — December brightens when you walk into the warm clinic at 777 Main St. This is Volunteers in Medicine (VIM), where dozens of Berkshire residents are delivering free, integrated medical services to people without health insurance — and loving the work.

“Often personal experiences with health insurance motivates people to volunteer at VIM,” explains Susan Minnich, volunteer coordinator. (more…)

Community Nursing Volunteers at VIM

This is flu season and the signs are everywhere – Get Your Flu Shot Today!  Since prevention is the best policy, VIM Berkshires ran two free flu shot clinics for patients in October, with help from two local school nurses. This is flu season and the signs are everywhere – Get Your Flu Shot Today!  Since prevention is the best policy, VIM Berkshires ran two free flu shot clinics for patients in October, with help from two local school nurses. (more…)

Barry R. Shapiro Elected to Board

Prominent lawyer and non-profit activist Barry R. Shapiro has been elected to the VIM Berkshires Board of Trustees.  (more…)

Snowbird Volunteering

Dr. Jeff Blake has been spending six months in the Berkshires and six in Florida for several years now. Life as a “snowbird” volunteer at VIM Berkshires has suited him just fine. Dr. Jeff Blake has been spending six months in the Berkshires and six in Florida for several years now. Life as a “snowbird” volunteer at VIM Berkshires has suited him just fine. (more…)

Berkshire Magazine: Giving Back

Tucked into a nondescript, 2,500-square-foot suite on Main Street in Great Barrington, Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires has been quietly pursuing a revolutionary model of healthcare since its founding in 2004. The one-stop integrative approach brings physicians, nurses, dentists, an optometrist, mental-health professionals, acupuncturists, and a nutritionist all under one roof. To read more: Download the PDF

Massachusetts Medical Society Honors VIM Medical Director

“Stockbridge resident Matthew B. Mandel, M.D. has been honored by the Massachusetts Medical Society with its 2012 Senior Volunteer Physician Award, an honor recognizing a senior member of the society who has shown a dedicated commitment to volunteerism and to sharing experience and medical expertise. The award will be presented June 27 at a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Medical Society in Waltham…”
Click here to read the Massachusetts Medical Society press release.

Congressman Neal Visits VIM

Congressman Richard Neal, along with state representative Smitty Pignatelli and Fairview Hospital  CEO, Gene Dellea, visited and toured the VIM clinic on Tuesday, May 22.  The Congressman met with Art Peisner, Board Chair, and Dr. Matt Mandel, Vice Chair and Co-medical director, to learn about the clinics services and the needs of its patients here in the Berkshires.


In June, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  As the national government moves to implement the provisions of the law, some may question the need for free healthcare clinics like VIM Berkshires. However, as the national office of Volunteers in Medicine reports, “experts agree that even when millions of people are able to purchase affordable insurance as a result of the provisions in the ACA, there will still be millions of people who do not qualify for, or are excluded from applying for, subsidized insurance. Those people will continue to rely on Volunteers in Medicine safety net community-supported clinics for their healthcare.”  Read more at VIMI.

Berkshire Record: VIM Delivers “Medicine As It Should Be”

VIM Berkshires’ care for the uninsured was described as “remarkable, comprehensive and free” by News Editor David Schribner.  Read more by clicking on the links below…

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VIM on Television

Connecting Point, WGBY57’s magazine-style news program, featured a conversation with VIM NP Ilana Steinhauer and Board Chair, Arthur Peisner. Aired on January 21st, you can watch it here. On the Road in South County: Volunteers in Medicine.