Community Partnership Award

The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) Community Partnership Award is presented to individuals and/or groups whose contributions to support the mission of HEALTH have been exceptional through community efforts. The award recognizes our partners who have engaged in one or more activities, which are above and beyond the expected and support the department's mission to promote and protect the health and safety of Rhode Islanders.

The Director of Health presents this award (Governor's Citation) at quarterly All Employee Meetings.

Award Recipients 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007

December 2011 Community Partnership Award Winners

Recipient: Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation

Contribution: The Gemma Foundation supports HEALTH’s Women’s Cancer Screening Program (WCSP) by helping to educate Rhode Island women about the importance of breast cancer screening. Through the agency’s outreach efforts of the Gloria Gemma Breast Bus, women who meet the eligibility requirements are referred to the WCSP for no-cost breast and cervical cancer services. In addition, the Gemma Foundation provides financial support to expand the services of the WCSP and covers the cost of mammograms for Rhode Island women who are between the ages of 40 and 49.

Recipient: Dr. Benilda Seballos

Contribution: Dr. Seballos is a primary care physician at Thundermist Health Center and is the Champion for Change there. She organizes motivational, education sessions, in English and in Spanish, for her patients with diabetes. In 2011, Seballos arranged access to the farmer’s market by providing vouchers to her patients so they could purchase healthy, locally-grown fruits and vegetables. She has also organized walking groups for her patients and often joins her patients for the neighborhood walks.

December 2010

Recipient: Gregory Fox, MD, FAAP

Contribution: Dr. Fox has worked tirelessly on pediatric obesity prevention in his own practice and also on a community and state level. He organized a series of three Pediatric Conferences to educate his fellow colleagues on the importance of childhood obesity prevention, is a member of the Health Care and Health Plans Work Group, and has worked on policy initiatives related to obesity prevention testifying at the Rhode Island State House on behalf of HEALTH during legislative sessions. Dr. Fox is also the CEO of Camp Surefire, a summer camp for kids with Type 1 diabetes. Camp Surefire has a full staff of counselors, kitchen staff, and medical staff who work around the clock to keep Camp Surefire campers happy and safe. While at camp, kids meet other kids with diabetes, and learn from older campers, counselors, and staff. A few years back, Camp Surefire Camp was on the verge of closing. Thanks to Dr. Fox’s hard work and dedication the camp continues to operate keeping it viable for future operation.

Recipient: AARP-RI accepted by Deborah Miller

Contribution: AARP-RI is a key partner in supporting multicultural outreach and has embraced the Rhode Island Department of Health Living Well Rhode Island (LWRI) self-management workshops conducted in English and Spanish. Living Well RI workshops follow the Stanford Chronic Disease Self-Management model, a Stanford evidence based program running in several states including Rhode Island. Free workshops run in convenient locations throughout Rhode Island once a week for six weeks. With the support of Deborah Miller, AARP-RI Associate State Chair and Chair of the Diabetes Multicultural Commission, AARP-RI was awarded a grant award that provided $10,000 in funding to provide sustainability and support for the LWRI program. Deborah Miller also serves on the Living Well Rhode Island steering committee.

August 2010 Community Partnership Award

Recipients:Corinne Clapper, East Bay Met School & Jade Shriver, Beacon Charter High School

Contribution: HEALTH’s Immunization Program sponsored its first National Immunization Week poster art contest earlier this year. Students were asked to submit artwork depicting the importance of children or young adults getting vaccinated. The winning artwork was printed on posters and brochures that are being distributed to health centers, pediatricians, and family practitioners.

Corinne Clapper is a sophomore at the East Bay Met School in Newport and Jade Shriver is a sophomore at Beacon Charter High School in Woonsocket. School Nurse Teacher Lisa Shwartz is accepting the award for East Bay Met School. Principal Dr. Robert Pilkington and Artistic Director Patricia Hawkridge are accepting the award for Beacon Charter School.

April 2010 Community Partnership Award

Recipient: Dr. Joseph DiMase

Contribution: Dr. Joseph D. DiMase has created a model program for cooperation among individual and institutional healthcare providers and the Department of Health. The Screening Colonoscopies for Underserved Populations (SCUP) initiative has now provided over 100 free procedures for uninsured, low-income adults and is on track to triple that number in the coming year.

Upon retiring after 36 years practicing gastroenterology in Rhode Island, Dr. DiMase volunteered to attend patients and teach Fellows. Dissatisfied with a two-year wait for essential cancer screening in poor and minority groups, Dr. DiMase recognized the many barriers (social, financial, procedural, etc.) standing in the way of this important health equity issue.

He created a professional advisory board for SCUP, recruited several dozen surgeons and gastroenterologists and gained the cooperation of most Rhode Island hospitals to provide free services. He garnered the assistance of the Rhode Island Health Center Association (RIHCA) to recruit and refer appropriate patients. The Cancer Control Program of the Department of Health collaborated by providing technical expertise on database development and patient navigation support for the community health centers. SCUP has also received a large donation of colon preparation product from its manufacturer, Braintree labs.

January 2010

Recipient: The Honorable James Doyle, Mayor of Pawtucket

Contribution: A Unique Partnership Between the Pawtucket Citizens Development Corporation and The Rhode Island Department of Health Focusing Upon HIV Prevention and Sex Workers . The innovative approach to mobilizing community partners towards a unique endpoint related to HIV prevention and other community concerns associated with crime and unsafe neighborhoods has won Project RENEW much acclaim. Mayor Doyle has lead this effort among police and community and has supported the sex workers involved in Project RENEW to get involved with education and job placement activities. His leadership has been exemplary and he has been an inspiration to numerous high-risk (for HIV and other communicable diseases) woman.

Recipient: RI Parent Information Network

Contribution: WIC services were in jeopardy in the Pawtucket and CF area in February, for 5400 clients. Within days RIPIN offered space and a way for WIC to provide temporary services for five months. They allowed flexibility in how long we stayed in the location, welcomed WIC families with open arms and provided stability in a very high risk area of the state. Because of this organization along with the dedicated staff at HEALTH, clients who had transportation issues, new babies, those in shelters and many others were able to continue to access needed services.

July 2009 Community Partnership Award

Recipient: Jane Eskelund, Rebuild Together

Contributions: Jane Eskelund is the Director of Rebuild Together, a non-profit organization, that helps people who can't afford repairs on their homes. Mrs. Eskelund has recruited and organized 22,000 volunteers which equals over 200,000 hours of work and a dollar value of $9.5 million. Mrs. Eskelund has been dedicated to this cause and the Providence community for over 16 years.

April 2009 Community Partnership Award

Recipient: Bhaskar R. Vyas, Rite Aid Pharmacist

Contributions: During a glitch in the RI AIDS drug assistance database in Octboer 2008, Bhaslar R. Vyas, a Rite Aid pharmacist, worked with clients and the DOH-ADAP to ensure that all clients whose primary pharmacy declined their request for medications received their medications without disruption.

Recipient: George Lauro, M.D.

Contributions: Dr. George Lauro has long been afillliated with the Office of State Medical Examiners. Since his retirement from active practice, he has served as a contract physician providing coverage during periods of staffing shortages. Recently OSME had two doctors retire in short order and left the office with only one full-time medical examiner. Repeatedly, Dr. Lauro came forward to relieve the burden of casework as well as assist greatly in the closure of autopsy reports of the departing doctors. His energy, experience, and efforts prevented substantial delays to families in need of these autopsy reports.

January 2009 Community Partnership Award

Recipients: Flu Day Participants, 11 Healthcare Providers

Contibutions: Each of the eleven providers participated in the state’s first Flu Vaccination Day in November and hosted flu vaccination clinics during non-traditional times that were more convenient for patients. Flu Vaccination Day gave Rhode Islanders the opportunity to protect themselves and their families from getting the flu. In addition, vaccine was offered at no charge to anyone who was uninsured. The participants included private providers, mass immunizers and pharmacies.

The Award recipients were:

  • CCAP - Family Health Services, Cranston
  • CCAP Wilcox Health Services
  • Coastal Medical, Park
  • Hillside Avenue Family and Community Medicine
  • JB Pharmacy
  • Lincoln Pediatric Associates
  • Scituate Health Alliance
  • VNA of Care New England
  • VNS of Newport and Bristol Counties
  • VNS of Greater Rhode Island
  • The Wellness Company

October 2008

Recipient: Dr. Fred Schiffman, M.D. and the staff at Adele R. Decof Comprehensive Cancer Center at Miriam Hospital

Contribution: For their outstanding work in providing care to former patients of a suspended physician. Clinicians and staff stepped in and managed a difficult clinical situation in which a cohort of oncologic patients may not have recieved appropriate cancer care.

Recipient: RISE Clinic

Contribution: For their outstanding work in providing specialty TB care to the students and teachers of Central Falls High School during this years contact investigation and treatment of two students with active TB. Clinicians and Staff provided on site and expanded clinical practice hours to accomodate the needs of the department's investigation of this important public health concern.

July 2008

Recipient: Team from Lifespan - Carol Lewis, MD; Delma-Jean Watts, MD; Marsha Weiss; William J. Kirkpatrick; Mark Fagan, MD; Chris Houck, PhD; Shirley Spater, DMD; Curt G. Beckwith MD

Contribution: Lifespan at RI Hospital and Miriam Hospital have gone beyond their call of duty to assist the refugee populations(s) in Rhode Island. Because of this team's will power, enthusiasm, and development of new ideas and health service venues, refugees in RI are receiving the health care needed to become productive citizens.

Recipient: International Institute of Rhode Island

>Recipient: Diocese of Providence

Contribution: The Refugee Resettlement Program of these agencies is the sole link to refugees coming from Africa and south East Asia. For over twenty years, these agencies have been responsible for easing the transition from living in a country at war into a new culture. Their commitment to public health encompasses tasks in health care, housing, and language and job skills. They do more than humanly possible to assist these most disenfranchised popluations in the state of RI to see them succeed in the new country.

Recipient: Douglas DeOrchis, M.D.

Contribution: Dr. Douglas DeOrchis is the Director of the Stroke Center at The Miriam Hospital. The RI Stroke Task Force was mandated by the RI Legislative assembly primarily as a result of the efforts of Dr. DeOrchis in partnership with the American Heart Association. Due to his efforts, the RI Comporehensive Stroke Prevention and Treatment Act of 2004 identified and declared stroke as a leading cause of death and permanent long-term disability and that currently available prevention and treatment strategies could reduce the number of deaths and disabilities caused by strokes. Dr. DeOrchis has championed the cause of improving stroke systems of care in Rhode Island.

Recipient: Shape Up RI

Contribution: Shape Up RI is a non-profit organization that has done exceptional work to reach all segments of the population. The program provides a supportive atmosphere that encourages lifetime physical activity. Shape Up RI has done extensive work promoting physical activity, weight loss, and healthy lifestyles through a team based, friendly annual competition. This year’s competition engaged over 11,000 Rhode Islanders, who lost over 30,000 lbs, exercised over 339,000 hours, and took over 5 Million steps!

January 2008

Recipient: Leah Holmes, Project Bridge

Contribution: Project Bridge, a program funded by The Office of HIV/AIDS & Viral Hepatitis at RI DOH provides results for access to care and maintenance of care for disenfranchised HIV populations that has received national attention. Project Bridge implements an 18-month intervention that focuses on retaining the client in health care and linking him/her with other services needed to build a life outside incarceration. Project Bridge uses a cognitive behavoir mdoel, in which a caseworker and an outreach worker demonstrate the behavoir needed to successfully seek those services. Leah Holmes and her staff are innovative, tenacious, and true advocates for thier clients resulting in a level of empowerment and independence not seen in many other programs. Project Bridge is an exemplar program in providing an effective public health intervention to some of RI's most vulnerable citizens.

Recipient: Alyson McCann and Holly Burdett, URI Cooperative Extension Coastal Resources Institute

Contribution: Alyson McCann and Holly Burdett have worked with the Office of Drinking Water Quality for five years to develop a program of public assistance and education for private well owners. Alyson and Holly have taken a lead role in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) New England Private Well Initiative, providing coordination and support for conferences in New Hampshire and at Newport, Rhode Island in December, 2007. The educational materials developed by URI Cooperative Extension are used as working examples by other New England States when developing similar materials. By gathering and sharing ideas, Alyson and Holly have made educational assistance for private well owners into a fully tooled program in Rhode Island.

Recipient: Bert Yaffe, Founder and Leader of New England Coalition For Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (NECON)

Contribution: NECON, a not-for-profit, non-partisan organization, was established in 1984 with working groups and health-examining task forces whose members represented multiple disciplines from all six New England states. NECON and Bert Yaffe as its leader, has been a key partner of HEALTH for over twenty years. NECON has been a consistent and visible advocate for health promotion and disease prevention in all six of the New England states. The Coalition has fostered networking and collaboration between the New England states on a wide variety of public health challenges. NECON has kept public health issues on the agenda of the New England Governors’ Conference on an annual basis—including twenty-five annual conferences and more than ten major reports and proceedings. Rhode Island and the other New England states have been very fortunate to have such a strong voluntary voice for public health improvement in the region.

October 2007

Recipient: Tucker Bittel

Contribution: Tucker Bittel served as the data manager of the Rhode Island component of the National Violent Death Reporting System. The National Violent Death Reporting System is a comprehensive public health surveillance system that tracks the circumstances of violent deaths. Ms. Bittel provided recommendations for interventions to prevent violent and untimely deaths. HEALTH thanks her and acknowledges that with her support, this important public health system has been greatly improved.

Nominated by: Office of State Medical Examiners

Recipient: Linda Campbell

Contribution: Linda Campbell, Manager of the Warwick Mall, has hosted the Vaccinate Before You Graduate Program’s summer clinics at the Warwick Mall for the past several summers. The goal of the program is to assist the medical community to ensure that all youth are fully immunized against vaccine preventable diseases before they leave school to go on to work or higher education. Ms. Campbell has donated space and staff for the event. She has designed posters and printed tabletop materials at no cost to HEALTH’s Immunization Program. The marquis space is also donated for an entire day and Ms. Campbell provides radio and newsletter advertising. Her generosity has allowed the Immunization Program to provide a fundamental public health service to the youth of Rhode Island.

Nominated by: Division of Community Family Health and Equity

June 2007

Recipient: RI Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics

Contribution: The RIAAP (its members and Executive Director) give their time and expertise to numerous Department of Family Health initiatives, including Successful Start, Child Care Support Network, and KIDSNET. They receive no compensation for the many hours they spend working on initiatives and advisory committees. In addition, the RIAAP has been an early and strong advocate for many enlightened public health policies, including vaccines, screening, obesity prevention, etc.

Recipient: Rhode Island Disaster Medical Assistance Team (RI-1 DMAT)

Contribution: RI-1 DMAT has worked with HEALTH as a trusted partner to implement efficient, effective, and timely responses to medical and public health emergencies. Medical volunteers working for RI-1 DMAT have provided direct medical care in situations when HEALTH has needed additional resources to accomplish its mission. Due to RI-1 DMAT’s support and timely assistance, the provision of critical emergency services to Rhode Islanders has been highly successful.

Nominated by: Center for Emergency Preparedness and Response

April 2007

Recipient: Diane Lemoine

Contribution: Ms. Lemoine acted as a liaison between the Women’s Cancer Screening Program and CVS/pharmacy Corporation to facilitate 16 hospital based breast-screening events. These events increased access to breast cancer screening for low-income, uninsured women.

Nominated by: Brenda DiPaolo, Women’s Cancer Screening Program – Division of Community Health and Equity

Recipient: Worksite Wellness Council of RI

Contribution: The Worksite Wellness Council of RI has invested an enormous amount of volunteer time, from a wide variety of private and public organizations, to support the Governor’s Wellness Objective to become the first Well State in the United States.

Nominated by: William Waters, Deputy Director

January 2007

Recipient: Dr. Greigstone Yearwood

Contribution: Dr. Yearwood volunteered his time and his staff to administer free vaccinations to underprivileged residents of Woonsocket's neediest neighborhoods.

Nominated by: Heidi Wallace, Immunization Program - Division of Family Health

Recipient: Cranston RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program)

Contribution: RSVP personnel volunteered 1,716 hours of work to prepare and mail 22,770 parcels containing informational and educational materials on behalf of HEALTH.

Nominated by: Marilou Freitas- Division of Community Health and Equity