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Sunday, August 22, 2021

Heidi Simmons at WRHS honored by peers

Assistant Director of Nursing at WRHS Recognized by RI Health Center Association

WRHS’ CEO Alison Croke, Board Chairman Frank Hopkins, 
Assistant Director of Nursing Heidi Simmons and Director
 of Behavioral Health Amanda Brycki.

The RI Health Center Association recognized Heidi Simmons, MSN, RN, Assistant Director of Nursing at Wood River Health Services (WRHS) during a National Health Center Week press conference hosted at WellOne in North Kingstown. Simmons was nominated for playing a significant role in creating strong community relations during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Heidi Simmons is one of eight recipients, each employed by a Rhode Island Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). Jane Hayward, President and CEO of the Rhode Island Health Center Association, presented the awards. Governor Daniel McKee, Senator Jack Reed, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman David Cicilline recognized the awardees for playing vital roles throughout the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring their communities have affordable, quality care.  

“Heidi championed getting all our staff vaccinated in late December and led the effort to organize vaccine distribution among our patients,” stated Alison Croke, President & CEO of WRHS. “Most recently, she partnered with the Jonnycake Center to facilitate a COVID vaccine clinic at their location in Westerly. Her efforts helped to improve the safety and wellbeing of 150 individuals living in an underserved community.”  

Heidi Simmons joined WRHS in the fall of 2020, while the pandemic was in full swing. She assisted the FQHC with opening its respiratory clinic and establishing a secure COVID testing area in a rented mobile unit. Simmons spearheaded WRHS’s COVID vaccine coordination efforts and worked directly with the RI Department of Health to ensure leadership, staff and patients remained up to date on the latest developments related to the pandemic. She partnered with WRHS’s facilities to confirm all CDC-required cleaning and disinfecting procedures were being followed. When the vaccine became available, she led the effort to secure vaccines for staff, and helped the organization navigate the complex ordering and procuring process at the state and then the federal level.    

“While I am deeply honored to receive this award, it has truly taken an organized team effort to ensure the safety of Rhode Islanders during this pandemic,” stated Heidi Simmons. “I can’t speak highly enough about the efforts that my fellow health center staff and community partners such as the Jonnycake Center have contributed over the last 18 months. I strongly encourage anyone who has not gotten vaccinated to protect yourselves, your families and your neighbors by making an appointment today.” 

WRHS is community-based health care provider that provides primary care and dental services in underserved areas. Individuals ages 12 or older now have the opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. For information related to the vaccine or to schedule an appointment, call (401) 539-2461 or visit 

About Wood River Health Services 

Since 1976, Wood River Health Services (WRHS) has provided high-quality affordable medical, dental and social services to the communities of southwestern Rhode Island and southeastern Connecticut. A private, non-profit Community Health Center, WRHS is devoted to providing quality patient care to more than 8,000 patients. It is recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as a Patient-Centered Medical Home. WRHS is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), a community-based health care provider that receives funds from the HRSA Health Center Program to provide primary care services in underserved areas. FQHCs must adhere to a stringent set of requirements including providing care on a sliding fee scale based on the ability to pay and operating under a governing board that includes patients. For information about its programs and services, visit