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Groundbreaking held for Capitol Hill renovations

Groundbreaking held for Capitol Hill renovations

A May 20th groundbreaking ceremony at our Capitol Hill Health Center marked the kickoff of renovations that will allow us to care for another 4,000 patients. At the event, Merrill Thomas, President and CEO, shared his thoughts on what expanded medical services will mean for the community. He also discussed the legacy of the late Dr. John Moran, a pediatrician who joined PCHC in 1973 as our first full-time physician and spent much of his career at Capitol. A dedication ceremony will take place later this year in memory of Dr. Moran.

Groundbreaking held for Capitol Hill renovations

A number of Dr. Moran’s friends and relatives were in attendance at the ceremony including his sisters Patricia Moran Bombardier and Mary Moran. They are pictured in the groundbreaking photo along with Merrill Thomas, Capitol Hill’s longest serving employee Alex Balon, Health Center director Patricia Terceira, and Dr. Beth Toolan. The new space will add 3,616 square feet to the already existing 8,649 square feet of clinic space and will provide 10 exam rooms (including a negative pressure room with direct access to the outside), a waiting room, team space, a provider room, and restrooms. Renovations are expected to be completed by December 2021.

COVID testing tent

PCHC in 90: In the COVID testing tent with Dr. Jennifer Hosmer

After 13 months and nearly 10,000 COVID tests, Providence Community Health Centers has wound down opera­tions of the state’s first drive through and walk up COVID testing site. With dozens of locations around the state providing testing, PCHC can now fully focus on vaccinating people in the community.

On May 5th, the testing site’s final day, Dr. Jennifer Hosmer shared about what the experience has meant for the community as well as her colleagues.

This is the first in a new 90 second video series called "PCHC in 90" detailing the people and programs of Providence Community Health Centers.

Best Places to Work

PCHC named one of RI’s “Best Places to Work” for 6th year in a row

For the 6th year in a row, Providence Community Health Center has been named one of Rhode Island’s “Best Places to Work” by the Providence Business News. This award is a reflection of our team’s commitment to our mission and dedication to our patients, their families, and each other. The honorees that receive this award are judged based on completed confidential surveys of employees and the organization’s human resources policies. With more than 500 employees, PCHC was recognized in the “Enterprise Employer” category along with some of the largest companies in the state.

PCHC will be honored at a virtual ceremony on June 9th and will be profiled along with the other awardees in a special section in the June 11th print issue of Providence Business News. While the past year has brought unprecedented challenges, our team responded the way we knew they would: with a focus on providing the community with the best care possible. Thank you to our staff for everything you do to make PCHC one of our state’s best places to work!

Kids - Lactation consultations

Lactation consultations now available at PCHC

kids 2021Breastfeeding has many proven benefits for both the newborn baby and mother. Providence Community Health Centers is now offering lactation health support provided by Kristen Hylan, MSN, FNP-BC, who is an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant.

Kristen, who is Assistant Director of our Nurse Practitioner Residency program, is excited to help new parents with challenges related to breastfeeding. Lactation consultants can improve the outcome of breastfeeding and lactation care through education and management. They can help new mothers with nearly every conceivable aspect of breastfeeding.

I like to focus on the parent’s breastfeeding goals,” said Kristen. “This could include a myriad of lactation-related issues like latch problems, tongue ties, poor weight gain, breast pain, low milk supply or over supply, mastitis, thrush, and candidiasis of the breast.

Kristen is pictured at the top left performing a suckle evaluation on baby Noellie. This is used to determine the newborn’s coordination of tongue, lips, pallet swallow, and suction. The evaluation gives practitioners like Kristen helpful information about a baby’s ability to transfer milk from breast to mouth. 

Any of our patients who think they can benefit from lactation health support can ask their provider for a referral to see Kristen.

Rising to the challenge of COVID-19

VIDEO: Rising to the challenge of COVID-19

When COVID-19 emerged as a global threat, Providence Community Health Centers pivoted to innovative ways to care for people inside and outside our clinics while keeping our staff safe. This video details that journey.

From virtual visits and the state's first walk up/drive-through testing site to a team effort in vaccinating the public, PCHC has been there for our community. Hear from six of our team members as they narrate the story of our response to COVID-19.

Golf Tournament

14th Annual Golf Tournament Taking Place On July 19th

 

Please join us for a great day of golf for a great cause! Our 14th Annual Golf Benefit Tournament takes place at Warwick Country Club on Monday, July 19th, 2021 with a 1:00 p.m. shotgun start.

By playing in or sponsoring our tournament, you will be supporting more than 60,000 patients who rely on our health centers for care every year.

Golf foursomes are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. The event includes opportunities for corporate sponsorships, tee sponsorships, and prize donations.

Founded in 1924, Warwick Country Club features an 18-hole Donald Ross-designed par 69 classic seaside golf course. The layout measures around 6,500 yards from the back tees with views of Narragansett Bay from every hole on the scorecard.  

For foursome and sponsorship reservations, please contact Debra Spicuzza at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 401-780-2560.

NPR Story

NPR Story Focuses On Our Efforts To Vaccinate The Underserved

interview

Sofia Rudin,a  reporter at The Public’s Radio (Rhode Island’s NPR)  recently reported on Providence Community Health Center’s efforts to get underserved members of the community immunized against COVID-19. You can hear the story and view pictures here: https://thepublicsradio.org/article/vaccine-inequity-getting-shots-to-vulnerable-residents-is-a-marathon-not-a-sprint- or read a copy of the story below.

Vaccine Inequities: Getting shots to vulnerable residents is ‘a marathon, not a sprint’

(story by Sofia Rudin, Editor/Reporter, The Public’s Radio)

 

Filiberto Paredes first heard about the coronavirus vaccines on the news.

“Pregunté a la doctora si podía ponérmela. Me dijo que no, que tenía que esperar un poco. Seguí insistiendo.” 

“I asked my doctor if I could get it. She told me no, that I would have to wait. But I kept insisting.”

He called Anna Delgado, a community health advocate with the Providence Community Health Centers, months ago. 

“At that point, we didn't even have the vaccine. So I said to him, ‘We don't even have it because the frontline has not even gotten it.’”

She put him on the clinic’s list to get a vaccine. It would take three community health workers scheduling multiple rides to get him in the door. 

 

***

Filiberto is 76 and lives alone in Providence. 

In his majority-Latino zip code, one in six people has tested positive for the coronavirus. And Latino Rhode Islanders have been hospitalized and killed by the virus at higher rates, and at younger ages, than white residents. 

Health officials named Filiberto’s zip code as one of the priority areas for vaccine distribution.

And in mid-February, the health department gave 100 doses to the Providence Community Health Centers for their patients. 

“So there were about 10 of us calling patients all day on Thursday, Friday, and then on Saturday morning, as well,” said Chelsea DePaula, who manages the organization’s team of community health workers. 

Filiberto was one of the patients they called. 

 

“La trabajadora social mía me hizo la diligencia para darme esa transportación."

“The social worker coordinated so I could get transportation.” 

 

***

At 10 a.m. on a recent Saturday, patients started showing up at the Chafee Health Center, which sits just a block away from the industrial Port of Providence. Some came with walkers, others on the arm of a child or caregiver.  

After checking in, they took a seat in the long, windowed hallway. Nurses flitted back and forth, offering help with permission forms, answering questions, and calling patients back to the three vaccination stations. After a quick jab, patients headed back to a waiting area, where Dr. Andrew Saal, the health centers’ chief medical officer, was keeping watch. 

In the early afternoon, he got an email that mentioned that a patient was having trouble getting to the health center. It was Filiberto. He’d missed his ride. One of the staff had called him to try talking him through using a map application on his phone instead. The doctor went to check to see if he’d made it in for his appointment. 

“And then Dr. Saal called me and was like Chelsea, that patient never showed up,” said Chelsea DePaula, who was working the phones from home.

She called Filiberto back and scheduled him another ride. And she stayed on the phone with him until he got in the car. 

“And then Dr. Saal texted me when he got to the health center,” she said. 

“He was actually the last person to get the vaccine that day. The whole staff stayed after. Like, the clinic was supposed to end that 2:00. And I don't think he got there ‘til like 2:45. So everyone waited for him just so he could get his vaccine.”

“And then Dr. Saal made sure that he got in the lift on the way back.”

 

***

“It is a marathon, not a sprint,” said Dr. Andrew Saal. 

Most of the health center’s patients are low-income, and over 90% identify as a racial or ethnic minority. The organization asks all patients whether they need help with food, transportation, housing, or legal aid. And they routinely provide care in a dozen languages. At this vaccination clinic, three quarters of the patients listed their preferred language as s something other than English. 

 “Remember, we’re going for that subset of the population that has language barriers, socioeconomic barriers, transportation barriers,” he said. “These are not the people who, if they got a blast email, could show up at the convention center and participate in a mass campaign.”

He said PCHC will soon be receiving vaccines directly from the federal government -- part of an effort to get vaccines to low income areas and communities of color. The organization plans to vaccinate at six neighborhood clinics. 

Medical anthropologist Dr. Monica Schoch-Spana has studied equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution, and said tools like rides, translation, and conveniently located clinics are only part of what’s needed to address disparities. 

“There is this deficit of social trust between communities of color, or some members in communities of color, and the institutions that are meant to serve them in the middle of a pandemic,” she said. “And that kind of work is different from just jabbing somebody in the arm.”

 

***

In Filiberto Paredes’ case, that trust was built by Anna Delgado. She’s the health worker who’s been working with him for about two years. 

Anna said Filiberto had missed a couple of appointments, so she gave him a call. 

“And I said to him, how about we do this? What about if you just come and you just see the doctor, and then let me sit with you. And then we can talk, let's just talk and then let me know what's going on.”

Filiberto immigrated from the Dominican Republic, and he’s worked butchering chickens and paving roads. At the time he and Anna met, his apartment had no water. 

“For him to get water, he had to go to the neighbor to fill up a bucket of water to be able to wash his face.”

She helped him get the water and electricity turned back on, and get his finances in a better place. And she regularly checks in to see how he’s doing.

“So he had lots of needs, and we just dealt with one thing at a time,” she said. 

For Filiberto, that kind of help has made a big difference. 

 

“Gracias a Dios y a ella. Me ha ayudó bastante. Yo diría que sin Anna Delgado, yo no sería nadie. Yo le agradezco bastante a Dios y después a ella. Porque se ha empeñado bastante con migo, y por la salud mía también."

“Thanks to God and to her. She has helped me a lot. I would say without Anna Delgado, I wouldn’t be anyone. I thank God a lot and also her. Because she really cares about me and my health.”

 

***

Filiberto was eager to get vaccinated. But Anna says many of her patients have been nervous about getting the shot. She finds little ways to ease their concern, sometimes by talking with a worried family member, or by texting pictures of a clinic to a patient, so they know what to expect. Other times, she says she’ll stay on the phone with them when they arrive for an appointment, to ease their worry that no one will speak Spanish. 

“I think the biggest barrier is time. Just giving people the time, giving them your ear, giving them the support,” she said. “It makes a difference, just a little bit more time.”

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