She may not have been outfitted with the iconic Red Sox uniform and “B” cap, but Regis College alumna Susan Katz Sliski ’02, ’12, managed a team of healthcare professionals at Fenway Park this year, supervising the mass COVID-19 vaccination site at the historic stadium where about 69,000 shots were administered.
“It has been an amazing experience,” said Katz Sliski. “Everyone who came to Fenway for the vaccine was referred to as a guest of Red Sox Nation and treated with dignity and respect.”
An occupational health nurse with extensive experience in healthcare innovation and consulting, Katz Sliski said she was eager to join the pandemic front lines and use her skills to help. That is when she came across an advertisement to work at the commonwealth’s mass vaccination sites. She initially started working at Fenway Park site and the helped open the new site at the Hynes Convention Center.
“Along with everyone else who joined the effort, I had the mentality of ‘I’ll do whatever is needed,’” she said. “But pretty quickly I saw they needed more help at the managerial level.”
Working alongside a former local fire chief, Katz Sliski oversaw a team of about 50 different volunteers per day at Fenway, including greeters, vaccinators, and pharmacists. She said her favorite part of the day was before the doors opened to the public when all the volunteers came together to learn about the operation and the roles they would have that day. “It was all about setting the stage,” she said. “There is a full gambit of people who just want to help.”
Katz Sliski said each day brought a new set of challenges and teachable moments, from how to use the needles provided by the state to troubleshooting scheduling glitches to ensuring the exact number of vaccine doses needed were drawn by the end of the day.
The breadth of backgrounds and experience the volunteers brought made it a true interdisciplinary team. Katz Sliski said she particularly enjoyed working with student volunteers studying to join the healthcare field.
“For me the most wonderful thing has been supporting this next generation of leaders in a real-time environment,” said Katz Sliski, who has also worked as an adjunct professor at Regis. “Having them here to listen and see how we triage, prioritize, and respond in the moment just adds to their knowledge base.”
With the Fenway vaccination site now moved to the Hynes Convention Center, Katz Sliski said she’s excited about collaborating with FEMA and U.S. Navy personnel at the new facility where they plan to scale up to 6,000 doses per day.
“The past two months have been an incredible experience,” said Katz Sliski. “I can’t wait to continue my role in the fight against COVID.”