Our mission, Delivering health with care, is four simple words that can be interpreted in a variety of ways. An obvious one is the care we provide to our individual patients that restores them to health. A broader interpretation includes the things we do for our communities in support of a
healthier environment. This broader interpretation includes clinical care but it also includes education, work force development, screenings, prevention and much more that sometimes gets overlooked. Today I would like to focus on that more expansive part of our mission. (Apologies in advance for those
programs I don’t mention. There are many more initiatives than space allows me to cover.)
We know that health is directly related to income and education, which is why Lifespan has been a leader in the effort to revitalize south Providence, one of our state’s most economically depressed communities. We committed $5 million over ten years as the anchor tenant in the Prairie Avenue
Revitalization Initiative, and in recent years we relocated hundreds of Lifespan employees to revitalized buildings in the Allens Avenue neighborhood. When we restore empty buildings and fill them with workers, we are sending a powerful message to residents that we are committed to a
better future for that neighborhood. There’s a positive financial impact on the city when we put previously abandoned buildings on the tax rolls; but there’s also a positive impact on the community: safer streets and new jobs.
We also support The Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence. This group sponsors, among a number of programs, men and women (called “street workers”) who go into Providence neighborhoods blighted by violence and build relationships, help resolve conflicts before they become violent, and work with
families affected by violence. They also help quell an aftermath of retribution that could spill into the Rhode Island Hospital emergency department after an incident of gang violence results in members being treated at the hospital. Lifespan supports this work with a $125,000 grant that
is reviewed every year. In further support of efforts in the city of Providence, Lifespan has voluntarily provided the city with $2.8 million (PILOT payments) over the past four years in recognition of our important partnership with the capital city.
We are also educators. Lifespan’s summer youth employment program is a paid, eight-week program for teens that gives them a chance to experience a variety of health care careers. Thanks to another program, Stepping Up, more than 175 entry-level Lifespan employees have returned to school to pursue careers in
nursing and other health care professions. We also support Year Up, a program dedicated to training disadvantaged youth in areas such as information services so that they qualify for high paying jobs at the end of a six-month internship with us. Over the past several years, Lifespan has committed over
$600,000 to this program, trained more than 30 young adults and hired more than 20 graduates of the program into full-time jobs.
For the past 20 years, Lifespan Community Health Services has improved the health of communities around the state, providing services such as free screenings for HIV/AIDS, blood glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol, skin cancer, breast cancer, and cervical cancer. In FY 2014, Lifespan Community Health Services
held 33 screenings. It also offered 37 flu and immunization clinics, 198 CPR and AED training sessions, 55 lectures and workshops and 7 conferences. And all of these efforts are paid for by Lifespan. Lifespan Community Health Services reaches between 25,000 and 30,000 people annually, which is why I am
excited about its new focus. In October, Lifespan Community Health Services will change its name to the Lifespan Community Health Institute, and while it will continue its invaluable work of screenings, immunization clinics and the like, it will make primary prevention the foundation of its
efforts. The Lifespan Community Health Institute will concentrate its primary prevention efforts on populations and neighborhoods in our cities and towns where lifestyle diseases affect a disproportionately higher percentage of people. A menu of training courses will be offered for adults. The
institute will also conduct programs for youth, including a mentorship program for students interested in health careers that will help them prepare for college and those careers.
Our affiliates do their part as well, from longstanding programs that have served generations to newer programs that respond to more recent needs. For many years, Rhode Island Hospital has offered free clinics to the uninsured and underinsured. Hasbro Children’s Hospital’s free programs include car-seat
safety checks and Dream Night at the Zoo. The Miriam Hospital has invested in increased programming for youth development, health and wellness projects, and community revitalization and environmental improvements. Newport Hospital supports a variety of community lectures and health
initiatives. Bradley Hospital sponsors an annual Parenting Matters conference, providing a nationally known author for its opening session and workshops presented by Bradley clinicians. Gateway sponsors the Friends Way program for grieving kids and families free of charge. This is a very
small sample of the dozens of programs run every week by our affiliates in support of their neighboring communities. (I encourage you to go their websites to learn more about upcoming programs.)
Lifespan is a significant contributor to the wellbeing of our region and our efforts extend beyond health care. We refurbish abandoned buildings on forgotten streets, restoring the vitality of neighborhoods; we support those who devote their lives to end violence; we educate youth and adults and assist those who
want to better their lives. We provide free screenings, immunizations, primary and specialty care. We are bringing primary prevention to combat the diseases caused by unhealthful behaviors and habits.
Finally, despite the fact that more than 1,000 hospitals in our country are owned by the state or the local government, Rhode Island has no public hospital to meet the health care needs of the uninsured and underinsured, so Lifespan hospitals provide the majority of that care. In fiscal year 2014 alone, Lifespan
provided over $75 million (at cost) in free and charity care to our communities. It is part of who we are.
This is a just a small sample of the many things we do to fulfill our mission to the communities we serve. We do it gladly and with your help. It’s Delivering health with care, and so much more. And it makes a difference. It makes all the difference in the world.
In the steadfast pursuit of excellence, I remain,
Timothy J. Babineau, MD
President, CEO of Lifespan