2018 President's Pursuit of Excellence

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Rhode Island Hospital Celebrates Acts of Altruism and Honors Its Champions at Annual President’s Pursuit of Excellence Dinner

On November 15, Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children’s Hospital president Margaret M. Van Bree, MHA, DrPH, hosted more than 550 guests at the Rhode Island Convention Center for the President’s Pursuit of Excellence Dinner. The signature event celebrated Rhode Island Hospital’s accomplishments of the past year and honored local community champions for their selfless contributions.

Guests were welcomed by Lawrence A. Aubin, Sr., chairman of the Lifespan board of directors and the Rhode Island Hospital board of trustees. “The pursuit of excellence begins with an ideal. Then, you do whatever it takes to make that ideal a reality. Tonight is about celebrating the people who go above and beyond to help advance the pursuit of excellence at Rhode Island Hospital.”

President's Pursuit of Excellence Honorees
From left: Margaret M. Van Bree, MHA, DrPH, president of Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children’s Hospital; James “Jamo” Carr, Jr., president and CEO, H. Carr & Sons, Inc.; Sarah Sinclair; Richard Goldberg, MD, MS; Lawrence A. Aubin, Sr., chairman of the Lifespan board of directors and the Rhode Island Hospital board of trustees; and Roger N. Begin, chair of the Rhode Island Hospital Foundation board of trustees.

The 2018 President’s Pursuit of Excellence Dinner was chaired by Roger N. Begin, chair of the Rhode Island Hospital Foundation board of trustees, and his wife, Diane, and Beth and Michael Huber. It was co-chaired by Ziya Gokaslan, MD, Latha Sivaprasad, MD, and Tracey L. Wallace, MBA. Presenting sponsors the Rhode Island Hospital Guild, University Orthopedics, and Amaral Revite, and Platinum sponsors Belvoir Properties LLC and Rhode Island Medical Imaging were among the event’s more than twenty sponsors.

After highlighting Rhode Island Hospital’s innovative partnership with GE Healthcare to improve health care delivery and the expansion of the hospital’s behavioral health, physiatry and pediatric neurology programs, Dr. Van Bree set the stage for the evening’s guest speakers.

“We focus daily on the high-tech, cutting-edge aspects of our work that define a leading academic medical center,” said Dr. Van Bree. “But as I walk through the hospital’s halls each day, I am in awe of the humanity I see in the people who work there. So tonight, I want to shine a light on some of the acts of altruism that bring our commitment to delivering health with care to life.”

Dr. Van Bree then introduced Dr. Vidya Gopinath, a first-year attending physician; Matthew Peck and Ari Veras from VPNE valet services; and nurse Linda Hill.

Dr. Gopinath shared the moving story of her patient’s final request: to die in his homeland. She shared the quick and painstaking medical and emotional measures she and her colleagues took to make it possible for this young man to make the long flight home. “His dying wish was fulfilled. And for all of us here who cared for him, the opportunity to help shape this man’s ending was as satisfying as it was painful.”

Valets Matthew and Ari love what they do, which for them is about more than parking and retrieving cars. “We take a lot of pride in being the first friendly faces that welcome many of our patients and their families.” They recounted the story of a 13-year-old girl who often refused to get out of her parents’ car until she saw them. They would play music and dance with her on her way to her cancer treatments. After her last round of chemo, the young girl’s first stop was to take a family photo with the valets to celebrate the moment. The photo now hangs in the valet station as a reminder of the impact small gestures can make.

There was also the emotional telling of a bedside wedding organized by Linda Hill, RN on the hospital’s oncology floor. From the hospital chaplain who performed the ceremony to the nurses who took care of every detail – a wedding gown made of sheets and pillowcases, makeup and flowers for the bride, and wedding music playing from a cell phone – the care team brought happiness to a couple who would face heartache just ten days later. “I still get teary thinking about that day. The wedding was a once-in-a-lifetime event for me as a nurse. But the feeling behind it – delivering health with care – is with me every day. It’s as automatic as breathing.”

The event continued and concluded with the recognition of Rhode Island Hospital’s 2018 Champions.

2018 President's Pursuit of Excellence
Ari Veras, a valet at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, proudly displays the bracelets he wears in honor of the young patients he meets who are undergoing treatment.

2018 President's Pursuit of Excellence
From left: Fatima Decosta, CNA; Linda Hill, RN; and Dr. Vidya Gopinath. The three were involved in moving stories of patient care which were shared with the audience.

2018 President's Pursuit of Excellence
Richard Goldberg, MD, MS, speaks to guests at the President’s Pursuit of Excellence Dinner after receiving Rhode Island Hospital’s Lifetime Achievement award.

2018 President's Pursuit of Excellence
Margaret M. Van Bree, MHA, DrPH, president of Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children’s Hospital (left) and Lawrence A. Aubin, Sr., chairman of the Lifespan board of directors and the Rhode Island Hospital board of trustees (center) with James “Jamo” Carr, Jr., president and CEO of H. Carr & Sons, Inc.


Sarah Sinclair, the daughter of Rosalyn Sinclair, expresses her family’s appreciation for being honored by Rhode Island Hospital as she accepts the hospital’s Individual Champion award on behalf of her mother.