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Maria Silva

Maria Silva retiring after 52 years of service; started with PCHC as a teenager

1972 PCHC irene viera maria silva jack fittro
Maria is pictured in the middle of this 1972 photo with Irene Viera and Jack Fittro.

Maria Silva started work as a health aide in 1969, the year after Providence Community Health Centers opened its doors. PCHC’s Fox Point health center was located just blocks from Maria’s home. She was a 16 year old student looking for an after school job. Maria walked in and applied, not realizing that she would spend more than 50 years with the same organization, caring for patients and then their children and grandchildren.

“It’s the only job I’ve had my whole life,” says Maria, who will be retiring at the end of this year after 52 years with PCHC.

At Fox Point, she was trained on the job. It was a small team – one doctor, one nurse, and one health center assistant. Maria’s family moved to Rhode Island from Portugal just three years earlier so she became the translator for patients who spoke Portuguese. (She later learned to speak Creole and some Spanish.) The Fox Point center was open from 1 p.m.-9 p.m. weekdays and Maria worked after school. “I was taught to do everything … work the front desk, register patients, draw blood,” she recalls.

Maria eventually married and her two children both became PCHC patients. “We prided ourselves on the health care we delivered so why would I bring them to a private doctor?” she asks.

Maria when an obstetrics room at Chafee was named in her honor on the occasion
Maria is pictured in 2019 when an obstetrics room at Chafee was named
in her honor on the occasion of her 50th anniversary of service with PCHC.

As more patients came to Fox Point, the need for space grew. The center moved to a new location off Allens Avenue and it was here at Chafee Health Center that Maria worked for the rest of her career. Although she is retiring, Maria will stay connected to the center and continue to work with the community. She will also be spending time with her first grandchild, born in October of this year. As she reflects back on the thousands of patients she has cared for, Maria says, “What has been most satisfying is helping patients from different walks of life.”

Community Health Advocates

Community Health Advocates working to help patients address issues of homelessness

chas team photoThe care provided to our patients extends well beyond the walls of our health centers and clinical sites. Recognizing the toll that social determinants of health take on a person’s overall well-being, our team is dedicated to tackling root causes like homelessness or the lack of reliable housing. PCHC has team members working actively to address this issue that can create both physical and mental health issues for patients.

Among the ways our Community Health Advocates (CHAs) address homelessness is through our Permanent Supportive Housing program. The goal of the program, a partnership between PCHC, ONE Neighborhood Builders, and Rhode Island Housing, is to support patients in their transition from homelessness, to ensure they stay housed and engaged with their primary care team. CHAs like Dennis Hermida-Gonzalez assist with lease signings, utilities setup, finding furniture, checking in on rent payments, applying for SSI and SNAP, and finding employment and transportation. Currently, they are 12 patients enrolled in the program, three of whom have families and two of which are waiting to move in.

Crossroads Rhode Island, which is home to one of our health clinics, is dedicated to addressing homelessness. As the PCHC Nurse Case Manager assigned to Crossroads, Jasmine Rodriguez must stay connected to individuals who often forgo needed medical care because they are focused on finding a place to live. One recent patient brought a host of medical issues including an untreated mass on their spleen and a history of trauma and drug usage. Jasmine worked to gain the patient’s trust and then directed him to appointments with the oncologist and several specialists. Following each appointment, Jasmine met with the patient to summarize and simplify the treatment plan. The patient is now in a sober house and regularly meets with his medical team. The patient has completed a Hep C treatment program, gained part-time employment, and even purchased a car. With Jasmine’s assistance, the patient is enrolled in SSDI and was recently approved for housing. While Jasmine is still there to help, the patient needs less case management help as he takes control of his life. 

PCHC works with RentReliefRI, a program of RI Housing that provides rental and utility assistance, to address homelessness. Our CHAs assist patients in filling out applications and gathering documentation while educating landlords about the program. Earlier this year, Crystal Rosario, CHA, received a provider referral for a three year old child who is a patient at PCHC. After Crystal met with the patient and her mother, she realized the family was falling behind on their rent. With Crystal’s help over the period of several months, the mother received $9,000 in rental relief which has helped stabilize her housing situation. Another way we assist patients with their legal issues related to housing is through our collaboration with the Rhode Island Center for Justice and Rhode Island Legal Services. This partnership helps prevent eviction while addressing poor housing quality, discrimination, and other issues.

Thank you to all our team members who work to address the issue of homelessness and housing insecurity.

Carl Brown

Carl Brown elected Chairman of the Board of Directors

Carl BrownCarl Brown has been elected Chairman of the Providence Community Health Centers’ Board of Directors. He brings more than 20 years of business management and Information Technology experience to this leadership role. Brown joined the Board in 2018 and most recently served as Vice President. He is an IT Security Manager for the Rhode Island Lottery, a state agency that oversees all aspects of lottery operations and gaming in the State. Prior to this position, he was with the YMCA of Greater Providence for more than a decade, holding positions of increasing responsibility including Chief Operating Officer. Brown received his BS in Business Administration from Providence College.

Carl succeeds immediate past Chairperson Elena Nicolella, who is leaving our board to join the Rhode Island Health Center Association as President & CEO.

I am excited to serve as Board President and Chairman for the state’s largest health center network,” said Brown. “Our Board is proud to provide guidance and oversight as Providence Community Health Centers grows and innovates to meet the needs of more than 60,000 patients annually.

Providence Community Health Centers is also pleased to announce the recent addition of two new board members: Joseph Nagle, former President and CEO at Delta Dental of Rhode Island, and Richard Hemphill, a community leader who has served as President of the Silver Lake/Olneyville Little League for more than a decade.

COVID-19 Vaccination

Upcoming COVID vaccination clinics

Brought to you by / patrocinada por Providence Community Health Centers.

vax event aug2021 covid-19

All events take place in Providence. Todos los eventos tienen lugar en Providence.

Thursday, October 14
4 p.m. -- 6 p.m.
Armory Farmers Market
85 Parade Street

Sunday, October 17
12:30 p.m. -- 2:30 p.m.
Accion Latina
55 Academy Avenue

Monday, October 18
10 a.m. -- 12 noon
Union Market
895 Elmwood Avenue

Tuesday, October 19
5 p.m. -- 7 p.m.
Iglesia Visión Evangélica
1014 Broad Street

Wednesday, October 20
10 a.m. -- 2 p.m.
CAPP Food Pantry
807 Broad Street

Saturday, October 23
Noon -- 3 p.m.
Latin Business Expo & Job Fair
41 Fricker Street


Dr. Lori Marion

Dr. Lori Marion joins PCHC as first full-time pediatric hospitalist

dr Lori MarionProvidence Community Health Centers is now home to its first-ever full-time pediatric hospitalist, a physician dedicated to visiting newborns and parents in the hospital in the days following birth. Dr. Lori Marion joined PCHC in June, assuming this role to ensure newborns and families have the best possible care.

As PCHC has grown, so has the number of children delivered into our care. Dr. Marion joins June Carrara, RN, and community health advocate Yohana Sosa, PCHC staff that has been providing newborn education, recording prenatal histories, and performing other important functions for new families at Women & Infants for years.

Prior to joining PCHC, Dr. Marion held a variety of inpatient and outpatient pediatric roles, most recently as an Associate in General Pediatrics with Palmetto Pediatric of the Low Country in Hilton Head Island, SC, where she worked in an outpatient pediatrics clinic and rounded on newborns in the nursery daily. She completed her Residency in Pediatrics at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, PA.

In a short period of time, Dr. Marion has learned the special bond between PCHC staff and the families in our care. “Collectively, our patients are so kind and appreciate receiving care delivered with respect,” said Dr. Marion. “I’m proud to be part of a team that strongly believes that everyone deserves great care.”

As the number of deliveries of PCHC babies grows, it has become more challenging for pediatricians to round (visit the hospital to see newborns and mothers) every day while also caring for a growing number of patients in our health centers. While our pediatricians still round, it is reassuring to families knowing that Dr. Marion, June, and Yohana are there to support them.

“Hiring Dr. Marion demonstrates our commitment to the whole care of families by assuring that our newborns have quality pediatric care from the start of life,” said Dr. Beth Toolan, Chair of Pediatrics at PCHC.

Safe Zones

Chafee and Randall Health Centers recertified by Blue Cross as LGBTQ Safe Zones

safe zoneProvidence Community Health Centers is excited to announce LGBTQ Safe Zone recertification for our Chafee and Randall Square sites. The recertification from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island follows a rigorous application process that ensures we are providing safe, affirming, and inclusive care to members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) community.

Our Safe Zone certification for these two health center sites was first awarded in 2019. As a member of the Safe Zone network, PCHC staff is encouraged to discuss and promote health equity for all people, particularly members of the LGBTQ community, through dialogue around reducing health disparities and upholding best practices for LGBTQ care within the provider community.

To earn this designation, providers must have: staff training specific to the care of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people; protection for patients and staff from discrimination based on gender identity or expression; gender neutral bathrooms; inclusive forms and procedures; and a public commitment to connecting with and serving the LGBTQ community. Our goal is to certify additional PCHC Health Centers as Safe Zones in the coming years. Thank you to all our team members who made this certification possible as we continue to welcome all people as patients of our health centers.

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