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BERST Academy Faculty

Our faculty welcome your interest and questions. Please email us at

Rebecca Blanchard, Director

Rebecca Blanchard, PhDRebecca is the Director of BERST Academy, Senior Director of Educational Affairs, Assistant Dean for Education and assistant professor at UMMS-Baystate. She received her PhD in education research and statistics.

Rebecca uses this lens to develop, disseminate, collaborate, and mentor in education research and scholarship. Her passion is to foster growth in all teachers and leaders regardless of role, credential, or area of work, using the BERST principles of motivation, innovation, and reflection.

Raquel Belforti

Dr. Raquel BelfortiRaquel is an academic hospitalist at Baystate Medical Center, Associate Program Director of the Internal Medicine Residency, and Assistant Professor of UMMS-Baystate. She received her medical degree and Masters in Medical Education Leadership from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine.

She has a passion for curriculum design and creating innovative ways for learners across the educational spectrum—UME through CME—to learn. She has dedicated much of her work at Baystate to improving and innovating clinical education, and received a Curriculum Development Honorable Mention, Excellence in Teaching Award from Tufts University School of Medicine in 2014. She is dedicated to continuous growth and continually draws the attention of the entire BERST community to how feedback and reflection promote learning.

Kevin Hinchey

Dr. Kevin HincheyKevin is Chief Education Officer at Baystate Health and Senior Associate Dean for Education at UMMS-Baystate. He received his medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine. He joined Baystate Medical Center in 1988, completed his internal medicine residency, and stayed an additional year as Chief Medical Resident.

Kevin went on to become the program director of the Internal Medicine Residency for 12 years. His lens is deeply focused on education as a way for self-development, and his openness about his own growth and reflective process help to promote those values in the BERST community.

Reham Shaaban, Assistant Director

Dr. Reham ShaabanReham is the Assistant Director of BERST Academy, Program Director of the Internal Medicine Residency, Director of the Healthcare Quality & Hospitalist Track, and Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine. She received her medical degree from A.T. Still University Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine. Reham speaks multiple languages, including Arabic.

Her dedication to checking for learner understanding serves as a model for the BERST community—encouraging us to think of evaluation not as an endpoint, but as one part of the continual growth process for both learners and educators.

Angela Sweeney

Angela SweeneyAngela T. Sweeney, MEd, MA is a Curriculum Design Specialist. She designs curricula for BERST and supports team members across Baystate Health through both curriculum consultation and teaching.

She was a high school English, Creative Writing, and Theater teacher, and also taught English and Film Studies at the college level. In addition to working with BERST, she is a UMass Medical School instructor and adjunct faculty in English at Holyoke Community College.

Her passion for, and experience with, the Humanities allows her to effectively teach others how to use Humanities interventions in health professions education.