Lifespan Community Affairs

Newport Hospital Community Forums

More than a dozen Aquidneck Islanders came out to the Middletown Y to discuss their health care concerns in May, in a forum arranged by the Lifespan Community Health Institute to learn about the community’s perceived problems and potential solutions. Many of the participants were members of the Y and on the younger side of the age range for Newport County.

The most common concern in this venue involved transportation on Aquidneck Island. While the RIPTA bus routes offer frequent stops on the main roads – and one directly in front of Newport Hospital – other areas of the towns have no bus service at all. With physician offices scattered on both the RIPTA routes and other streets, participants said that people sometimes have difficulty finding transportation to the physician practices for visits and diagnostic testing.

Other questions and concerns focused on preventive medicine, especially in the areas of youth activities leading to good health, and availability of educational outreach programs on such topics as nutrition and obesity.

Lifespan Community Health Institute director Carrie Bridges Feliz, who coordinated the series of forums throughout Rhode Island, said, “Residents are especially concerned about limited public transportation routes and schedules, availability of youth programs that promote healthy lifestyles, and access to community-based educational outreach programs.”

The specific concerns of people in Rhode Island communities are exactly what Lifespan is looking for. “Hearing feedback like this is why these community forums are so valuable,” said Bridges Feliz. “Equipped with the concerns of our neighbors, Lifespan is better able to determine when to lead a response, when to partner with others, and when to relay the concern to the responsible entity.”

For more information about the Community Health Needs Assessment meetings or the Lifespan Community Health Institute, please contact Carrie Bridges Feliz, MPH at 401-444-8009 or cbridgesfeliz@lifespan.org.