Fundraising News from Rhode Island Hospital

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.; Rosalyn 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.

Champions honored 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.”

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.

“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.

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.; Rosalyn 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.

John Peterson Memorial Basketball Tournament Raises More than $25,000

To close Mental Health Month, Bradley Hospital and Rhode Island Hospital hosted the first annual John Peterson Memorial Basketball Tournament on Wednesday, May 30 in the East Providence High School gymnasium.

The fundraiser was held to honor the memory of John Peterson and his dedication to patients struggling with mental illness. John, who served as the director of clinical business operations at Bradley Hospital, passed away unexpectedly this past March. Prior to his untimely death, John had been collaborating with colleagues James Florio, Jr., MBA, director of psychiatry operations and business development at Rhode Island Hospital, and Michael Montella, outpatient operations analyst for Bradley and Rhode Island Hospital outpatient psychiatry, to organize a charity basketball game.

Making sure John’s vision became reality, the event featured a friendly – yet competitive – basketball game between colleagues from Rhode Island Hospital Adult Psychiatry and Bradley/Hasbro Children’s Child Psychiatry, as well as a three-point contest with donations for every basket made during a two-minute period.

In what was a nail-biter, the Adult Psychiatry team squeezed out a single-digit win on an evening that raised more than $25,000 for transportation and other support services for adult psychiatry patients, and for the healing arts programs in children’s psychiatric residential settings. The night of fun and reflection attracted fans from across Lifespan behavioral health services.

John was a beloved staff member at both hospitals, and friends and colleagues look forward to continuing to raise funds in his honor for programs that were of significant meaning to him. Nothing could be more fitting for this long-time basketball fan that what will now become a much-anticipated annual event. To contribute to the Peterson Memorial Fund at Rhode Island Hospital, please click here.

Participants in the first annual John Peterson Memorial Basketball Tournament, including the Adult and Children’s Psychiatry teams, Bradley Hospital and Rhode Island Hospital department leadership, and members of the Peterson family.

James Florio, Jr. (far right) and Mike Montella (center) present the Peterson family with what would have been John Peterson’s #1 jersey.

New Infusion Facility Opens for Experimental Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease

A local couple, grateful for the care provided to them by The Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders Center at Rhode Island Hospital, recently donated $20,000 to create a new infusion clinic to be used by the center for clinical trials that are aimed at the prevention and treatment of early Alzheimer’s disease.

The improvements will double the current capacity of the center, which is part of the Norman Prince Neurosciences Institute.

“The addition of the new infusion facility will greatly increase our capacity to carry out these important clinical trials, as well as improve the comfort of the participants during their study visits,” said Brian Ott, MD, director of the center.

The center is conducting four clinical trials that involve IV infusions of monoclonal antibodies, with a fifth infusion trial beginning in early 2018.

The hospital also houses a state-of-the-art positron-emission tomography (PET) scanner that enables researchers to discern the amyloid plaques and tau tangles in the brains of people in the earliest stages of the disease. The scans allow researchers to identify the best candidates for new and developing therapies.

A recent report from the Rand Corporation found that the most pressing limitations on the nation’s ability to confront the expected tidal wave of new Alzheimer cases include limited access to dementia specialists, PET imaging to diagnose patients, and infusion centers to deliver new treatments being developed by the pharmaceutical industry.

The Rand Corporation simulation analysis predicts that in 2020 patients will have to wait an average of 18.6 months for treatment. An estimated 2.1 million patients will develop Alzheimer’s dementia between 2020 and 2040 while on waiting lists, the analysis concluded.

Research currently enrolling at Rhode Island Hospital includes adults ages 50-80 with a variety of current conditions: no signs of memory loss, family history of Alzheimer’s disease, early concerns about memory loss, or early-stage diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s. Interested volunteers for these studies should contact Dr. Ott or Lori Daiello, PharmD, at the Lifespan Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders Center at 1-844-5MEMORY or by email at

Rhode Island Hospital Foundation Welcomes 7 Community Leaders to Board

Rhode Island Hospital, the principal teaching hospital of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and the state’s only Level 1 trauma center, today announced the appointment of seven new members to its Foundation Board of Governors.

Joining the Foundation Board of Governors are Christopher Buchanan, Anne Marie Johnson, Philip Morin, Kate and Kevin Murphy, Tricia S. O’Neil, and Maureen Soutter.

Members of the Board of Governors are volunteer ambassadors for the hospital and leaders in the community. They focus on enhancing philanthropic support and partnerships with individuals, families, businesses, and foundations to benefit Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children’s Hospital.

Christopher Buchanan is director of public affairs and state and local government relations for the New England region for Walmart Stores and Sam’s Club. He joined the company in 2000. Chris also manages the company’s media relations, and is chairman of its Foundation Philanthropic State Giving Councils. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from American University, and a bachelor of arts in political science from Providence College.

Anne Marie Johnson joined The Claflin Company in 1978 and was appointed its president and COO in 2016. Specializing in operational and administrative business processes of distribution and supply chain efficiencies, Anne Marie serves on the steering committee of the Health Industry Distributor Association (HIDA) for the industry’s improvement initiative, “Pricing Accuracy.” She is also a member of its Educational Foundation to advance research and analytics in healthcare. Anne Marie is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island.

Philip Morin retired following a career of more than four decades in the plastics industry. During retirement, he has dedicated much of his time to volunteering. In 2011, Philip’s wife, Phyllis, was diagnosed with glioblastoma and the Lifespan Cancer Institute at Rhode Island Hospital became their primary resource for care and treatment. Following his wife’s passing in 2012, Philip became an advocate for brain tumor research. He holds an MBA from the University of Hartford, and a BS degree in plastics engineering from the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Kate Murphy is a vice president in the Providence office of Regan Communications Group, the largest privately held public relations agency in New England. With more than 15 years of PR experience, Kate manages a variety of Regan’s hospitality and corporate accounts, focusing on community and media relations, event coordination, and consumer outreach. A graduate of Providence College, Kate is an active member of the Junior League of Rhode Island, serving as co-chair of the Community Outreach Committee to support young people aging out of the foster care system.

Kevin Murphy, Esquire, co-founded the Hatch Entrepreneurial Center in downtown Providence in 2013 at the same time he established the Law Offices of Kevin B. Murphy. Early in his career, Attorney Murphy obtained a legal fellowship in Washington, D.C., working for U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI). He also served as judicial clerk for the Honorable Maureen McKenna Goldberg, Justice of the RI Supreme Court. Kevin later joined Home Loan Investment Bank, FSB (HLIB) and also worked for Adler Pollock & Sheehan P.C. A graduate of Brown University, Kevin is the creator of the superhero character known as “Hope Man,” who attends community events and spreads messages of goodwill throughout the state.

Tricia S. O’Neil, CFA, is a senior vice president, financial advisor and family wealth director at Morgan Stanley. Her work focuses on developing investment strategies for high net worth individuals. Prior to her role with Morgan Stanley, Tricia worked with BNY Mellon/The Providence Group. In addition to her volunteer leadership role with Rhode Island Hospital, Tricia also serves on the board of directors of Rhode Islanders Sponsoring Education (RISE), and is a past-president of RISE.

Maureen Soutter has been working in the pharmaceutical industry for the past 25 years. Deeply committed to the community, Maureen has served on the board of directors of the Barrington Preservation Society, and has been a parent agent at The Pomfret School in Connecticut. Currently, Maureen is an active volunteer with the Providence Preservation Society in support of their annual gala and other fundraising efforts. She has been active with Hasbro Children’s Hospital for the past 18 years.