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Thursday, June 30, 2022

Wood River Health Services grows and changes

Group celebrates all those who helped

Photo by Seth Jacobson Photography

On Monday, June 27, Wood River Health Services (WRHS) hosted a Groundbreaking Ceremony to mark the commencement of excavation work for its new building and to celebrate the donors who have made the expansion possible. The new building is an addition to its 823 Main Street property and is projected to cost $5 million. It was designed by Vision 3 Architects and A/Z Corporation has been secured to oversee construction. 

The expansion will enable the federally qualified health center to better serve its current patient base and expand its community’s access to medical, dental, behavioral and social services and supports. It will increase its clinical space by 57%; increase dental patients by 1,200 visits per year; and expand behavioral health services access for individuals, families and groups. The expansion will also enable WRHS to offer Radiology, Physical Therapy and Specialist services. 

There were over 100 attendees at the Groundbreaking Ceremony. Event speakers included The Honorable Jack Reed; The Honorable James Langevin; The Honorable Dennis Algiere; Nadia Duvilaire, MD, Associate Medical Director at WRHS; Ruth Morgan, Vice Chair, Capital Campaign Committee and WRHS Board Member; Peter Marino, President & CEO of Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island; WRHS patient Chris Hedenberg; and Alison L. Croke, President & CEO of WRHS. 

“The Community Health Center model was designed to remove barriers and challenges to care such as the lack of transportation, different languages, literacy, and race, by providing services in communities where people would otherwise not have access to doctors, primary care, and other essential health services,” stated WRHS President & CEO Alison L. Croke. 

“Community Health Centers were also among the first to go beyond the four walls of medicine to address the causes of chronic and poor health conditions such as nutrition and food insecurity, homelessness, dangerous environmental conditions, and unemployment. These issues and these barriers still exist in our local community today.” 

Senator Jack Reed spoke to how Rhode Island’s health care centers operate with community leadership while incorporating their community’s feedback. “They do it remarkably well,” he stated. “They are responding to the mental health crisis, the opioid crisis, and this new facility will help them to be much more effective. Alison and her board have done a superb job in getting us to this very important day at the Groundbreaking. They have been assisted in their daily activities by a tremendous group of doctors, nurses and staff and I want to salute all of them.”  

Congressman Jim Langevin and Senator Jack Reed were instrumental in ensuring the heath center received federal support by supporting HR 2471: Consolidated Appropriations Act 2022. One million dollars of the Act’s funding was earmarked to support the cost of WRHS’ new facility.  

“I am just very glad to be here today to celebrate health care in Rhode Island,” stated Congressman Jim Langevin, “I thank you all for the extraordinary work that you all do on the front lines every day making sure that the best quality of health care can be delivered to residents of this area and that happens every day.” The Congressman also spoke to how Wood River Health Services provides integrated health care and how critical it is to treat the whole person. 

“At Wood River Health Services, we are not just a medical practice,” stated Nadia Duvilaire, MD. “We have embedded dental services, social services, community support services and behavioral health services so that we can provide every patient with integrated, wrap-around care – all under one roof. And if you’re here today, you know that we need a bigger roof.”  

Dr. Duvilaire continued, “This expansion will enable us to better support our patients in our community by increasing their access to high quality health care and resources. And that’s exactly what community health centers are designed to do: to meet the needs of our community members, one patient at a time.” 

“Our Capital Campaign members have been working hard to help raise the funds for this incredible addition,” stated Capital Campaign Vice Chair Ruth Morgan. “The Board Members and Wood River leadership are enthusiastically committed to making it possible to bring this project to completion. We’ve been fortunate to have such strong support from both our Wood River Health community and our community at large.” 

Morgan listed the individuals, corporations and foundations that contributed over $10,000 to the Capital Campaign. They included Alison Croke and Matt Roach, Ashaway Charitable Trust, Centreville Savings Bank Charitable Foundation, Chariho Furniture, The Champlin Foundation, Daniel Makin, Delta Dental of Rhode Island, Frank Hopkins, The Horace A. Kimball and S. Ella Kimball Foundation, Fred M. Roddy Foundation, Grey Sail Brewing Company, Hebert Family Fund, In Memory of Theodore Perich, Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island, Rotary Club of Chariho, Shah Family Trust, The Warren Alpert Foundation, Washington Trust Charitable Foundation, and Westerly Community Credit Union. 

“Neighborhood is proud to play a key role here in supporting Wood River as a Capital Campaign donor to expand the Hope Valley campus,” stated Peter Marino, President and CEO of Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island. “As we know, having high quality care close to home can be life changing for folks. One of the things we have to remember here in Rhode Island is that the community health centers are really the backbone of our public health system and we are very fortunate to have such sophisticated operations throughout the state.” 

Senator Dennis Algiere stated that he was proud to serve as the Honorary Chair for Wood River Health’s Capital Campaign. “Supporting organizations that are making our community a better place will always be a top priority for Washington Trust, my employer, and we are proud to support this Capital Campaign. It cannot be overstated what a valuable resource Wood River Health Services is for this community. They have provided quality, accessible health care in Rhode Island for 45 years. The need for health care is only growing, and this expansion will position Wood River to meet this need. I encourage all members of our community to support this campaign.” 

Speaking to why she chooses WRHS to receive her medical care, Chris Hedenberg stated, “It’s local, they get it, their skills are amazing, the technology is incredible, they’re up to date, [they’ve attended] some of the best programs in all of New England. It’s just remarkable.” 

The event also served to kick off the public phase of its Capital Campaign. During its silent phase, the Capital Campaign raised over $1.8 million. Due to the tremendous amount of support the Campaign has received by the community, the goal has been increased to $2.8 million. Details about the Capital Campaign can be found by visiting