SOUTHINGTON – Susan Bencivenga-Lonczak, the new director of the Plainville-Southington-Middlefield Regional Health District, aims to assist the communities she serves in navigating the covid-19 pandemic while fostering other initiatives to improve public health.
Bencivenga-Lonczak began her position on Nov. 22, succeeding Shane Lockwood, who had served in the role since 2012. She brings to the position nine years of Public Health experience and a Master’s Degree in Public Health.
“I received a wonderful welcome,” she said. “I’ve already had many meetings and phone calls speaking with town officials in all three towns. I’m looking forward to getting involved in each town. My door is always open if people need help.”
The Plainville-Southington-Middlefield Regional Health District operates out of the Southington Municipal Center at 200 N. Main St.
Bencivenga-Lonczak said that she has always had a desire to help others. Her education was initially as a classically-trained chef, which then led to her becoming a health inspector. Her career then took her down the path of becoming the Acting Director of Health and Chief Sanitarian for the Chesprocott Health District before accepting her current position.
Bencivenga-Lonczak said that she believes that the three communities in the health district have “done a great job” with the pandemic so far. Her aim, she said, is to continue that “critical” work.
“Connecticut as a whole has tried to be ahead of the times as much as possible and to mitigate the problem as much as possible.” She said. “We have had to evolve with the pandemic. I plan to continue to moderate the pandemic and look at the numbers and help to protect people as best as I can at a time that is not so great.”
Bencivenga-Lonczak described the covid-19 pandemic as “constant chaos” but said that she is grateful to have had the opportunity to work closely with town and school officials to combat it.
“I have loved every moment of being able to be there as a support for the community,” she said.
The next stage of the pandemic response, Bencivenga-Lonczak said, will be the push to vaccinate younger children as vaccines become available to them. The health district, she said, will also continue to encourage people who are on the fence or haven’t gotten vaccinated yet to do so. She said she is optimistic that the situation will continue to improve.
While her focus will be the pandemic, Bencivenga-Lonczak said she also ultimately aims to have more community health outreach initiatives, have more flu vaccine clinics available and advocate for the hiring of a community health nurse.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.