News & Events

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


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: 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.”

Millie Diaz

Millie Diaz first PCHC employee to graduate from College Unbound

Millie Diaz small photoMillie Diaz, Medical Front Desk Supervisor at our Chafee Health Center, is the first Providence Community Health Center employee to graduate from College Unbound. Millie took part in her college graduation ceremony via Zoom on February 27.

College Unbound is an innovative, degree-granting college focused on adults seeking a Bachelor of Arts degree. PCHC offers tuition reimbursement to employees enrolled in the program.

Millie was among the first group of PCHC employees enrolled in College Unbound in September 2019. She received her associate degree from CCRI in 2018 and was enrolled at URI when she learned about College Unbound and decided it was a better fit. It took her three semesters and some summer classes to complete her bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership and Change Studies.

“It was intimidating at first taking on full-time school with work and my personal responsibilities,” said Millie. “What helped immensely was the support I received from school and PCHC.”

Millie pursued her degree for the sense of personal reward. She is the second person on either side of her family to receive a bachelor’s degree. “I’ve always been held to high standards, even as a child, and I felt I needed a degree to meet those standards,” she said.

Millie joined PCHC in 2002 as a float patient services representative and held a number of positions before assuming her current role. Her ability to solve problems has led Health Center Director Michael Spoerri to refer to Millie as Chafee’s “Chief Solutions Officer.”

“I want other employees to know this is something they can accomplish,” she said. “It is an opportunity for both educational and personal growth. After College Unbound, I see things differently in terms of my professional life. I recognize things in my work that I didn’t before and I know my fellow students do the same.”

Tufts Health Plan

Tufts Health Plan and PCHC team up to expand access for Medicaid beneficiaries

In collaboration with The Providence Community Health Centers, Tufts Health Plan is providing its Medicaid RITogether members with increased access to high-quality care. Members can now see providers from the State’s largest Federally Qualified Health Center. 

“Our goal is to provide high quality, holistic health care to Rhode Island Medicaid beneficiaries, and increased access to care is an integral part of contributing to the health and wellness of our members,” said Jean Yang, president of Public Plans at Tufts Health Plan. “The Providence Community Health Centers is not only known for its quality and member satisfaction, but also its culturally-competent care delivery.”

Tufts Health Plan’s RITogether members can access any of Providence Community Health Center’s eight locations.

“We appreciate Tufts Health Plan’s commitment to equality, inclusion and helping communities cope with the disproportionate effects of the pandemic and racial equity, which align closely with our work,” said Merrill Thomas, president and CEO, Providence Community Health Centers. “We are committed to serving all members of our community and are pleased to expand our services to more Rhode Islanders through our new relationship with Tufts Health Plan. Like Tufts Health Plan, we are committed to serving all residents, regardless of major financial, social, cultural, and language barriers.”

RITogether members who may have questions regarding their coverage should call Tufts Health Plan for more information, at 866-738-4116.

vaccinating community

Health Center’s role in vaccinating community to grow in coming months

vax montage photoAs of early March, Providence Community Health Centers has been involved in two public vaccination clinics this year, one organized by the city of Providence in late January and another that we ran for our elder­ly patients in February.

This is just the beginning of our vaccination efforts. PCHC is one of the first 250 health centers nationally to be selected to receive ad­ditional vaccine supply directly from the federal gov­ernment.

The February 6th clinic saw our team vaccinate approximately 90 of our patients -- all 75 or older.

Our team continues to collaborate with our partners at the Rhode Island Department of Health for vaccine sup­plies and guidance regarding the priority populations targeted for immunization. Given our ability to report data by race and ethnicity, that dialogue has very much been a two-way process. PCHC data was instrumental in the state’s decision to expand immunization to lower ages earlier than initially planned.

The Incident Command Team – Kimberly O’Connell, Ralph Chartier, Wendy Chicoine, RN, MSN, PHNA, Dr. Nadine Hewamudalige, and Dr. Andrew Saal – continues to develop and refine our strategy to deliver as many doses as possible as soon as we can. Our vaccination plans include a blend of immunizations in our own neighborhood clinics, along with larger-scale events at a later date in collaboration with our community partners.

As we have done for more than a year, PCHC will play a critical role in caring for the community during this pandemic.

President’s Award honoree

Dedication to moms, newborns make June Carrara first-ever President’s Award honoree

June CarraraJune Carrara, RN, has been working in pediatric nursing with the Providence Community Health Centers for 28 years. This means she has cared for newborns who decades later are in her care again as they deliver their own children. It is those relationships that June, the first-ever recipient of the PCHC President’s Award, values the most.

“Every day, I get to spend one-on-one time with new mothers and babies,” said June, who has been our Newborn Nurse Coordinator since 2003. “This quality time is not always the case for providers today so I’m excited to be one of the first people in the room to get the child and mother off to a good head start.”

June is a critical link between newborns, their families, Women & Infants Hospital, and PCHC. She delivers newborn education, records prenatal histories, and provides documentation in the medical record. June credits community health advocate Yohana Sosa for her everyday assistance with translation services, case management referrals, and other important support functions. June joined PCHC in 1993 as a pediatric nurse at our Allen Berry Health Center before being named Assistant Health Center Director. Today, it is in a patient room that she is most comfortable.

“It is important to be there to answer a question the parents may have about a newborn who is up most of the night fussing or just feeding frequently,” said June. “Parents are often sleep deprived and are looking for the right information about what is considered normal. I am there to offer reassurance that our team at PCHC is always a phone call away.”

The PCHC President’s Award was created to recognize employees who are exceptional in demonstrating our core values while serving as a role model for others. June was nominated by five co-workers, one of whom wrote: “There is no way we could do what we do with the large number of patients at Women & Infants without June.”

Congratulations to June on this well-deserved honor.


Groundbreaking held for 9th PCHC health center site

Groundbreaking fotoOn January 8th, Providence Community Health Centers held a groundbreaking ceremony for its ninth health center -- PCHC Atwood. The new site, located at 31 Atwood Street, is scheduled to open in early 2022 and will include an Express Care department.

Merrill Thomas, President and CEO of PCHC, said the development of the new center was born from a board-led strategic plan and market assessment that identified Olneyville as the neighborhood with some of the worst health outcomes and data in Providence.


This $15 million dollar investment in the community will not only provide space for 14,000 more patients, it will also create over 50 full time, sustainable paying jobs,” said Thomas. “More importantly, this investment will provide a medical home and allow us to better address the health and racial equity issues that this neighborhood currently experiences.

The event included remarks from elected officials and PCHC representatives pictured here: Sen. Jack Reed, Board President and Chairperson Elena Nicolella, Merrill Thomas, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, and Providence City Council Sabina Matos.

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