Generous Gift Expands Lyme Center's Capabilities

Deer tick

Your gift will be matched, thanks to a generous donor.

Your gift will be used to help advance the Lyme Disease Center’s capabilities by hiring and training a nurse practitioner to expand access to more patients. Also, the Collis Foundation will generously match all donor gifts to the center up to $100,000.

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'Tis the season . . . for ticks. And that’s not good news around here, because Rhode Island has a high incidence of tick-borne illness, specifically Lyme disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says there were 7,983 total cases of Lyme disease in Rhode Island between 2000 and 2016. But their data only counts confirmed cases reported to them, which, the CDC acknowledges, represent just a fraction of the actual volume, and the real number could be 10 times higher.

“It’s a significant public health concern that touches many lives. We are extremely grateful to the Collis Foundation for their support.”
-- Timothy Flanigan, MD

“Not everyone who has Lyme disease has the telltale bull’s-eye rash, is administered a course of antibiotics, and recovers quickly,” says infectious diseases specialist Timothy Flanigan, MD. “Far more, unfortunately, have symptoms that can be vague and mimic those of countless other conditions. So, patients may go to their primary doctor complaining of chronic fatigue and lethargy, headaches, stiffness, fever, chills, body aches, joint pains, etc., and be told it’s something else—when in fact, it’s Lyme disease or another tick-borne illness.”

Dr. Flanigan serves as co-director of the Lifespan Lyme Disease Center at The Miriam Hospital, alongside Jennie Johnson, MD, from the Division of Infectious Diseases at Brown Medicine. The center has infectious disease specialists working in collaboration with behavioral health specialists, physical therapists, and other health care professionals to offer an innovative, multi-faceted approach to treatment that’s specifically designed to help patients feel and function better and achieve their health goals.

Grant Allows the Center to Treat More Patients

A recent grant from the Collis Foundation—an organization that has been making grants to Rhode Island nonprofits that support family, education, and health for nearly 25 years—will enable providers to see more patients. “The Miriam has a sophistication and expertise around the Lyme complex that no in-hospital program locally can match,” says Frohman Anderson, a director of the Collis Foundation. “So, we’re proud to support them as they build on their already stellar work.”

Specifically, the Collis Foundation will match all donor gifts to the center for the next two years up to a total of $100,000. The money will be used to hire and train a nurse practitioner to expand access to more patients. “We invite our fellow Rhode Islanders to join us in helping to advance The Miriam’s Lyme Center capabilities,” Frohman adds, “because our state is really underserved in this area.”

Frohman’s own family has been waging a difficult, complicated battle against the disease for years. His son and daughter suffer from chronic Lyme disease, as does his sister and two of her children.

“It’s a significant public health concern that touches many lives,” Dr. Flanigan reiterates, “and without this gift, we would not be able to expand our services or fulfill our vision. So, we are extremely grateful to the Collis Foundation for their support.”

Learn more about the Lifespan Lyme Disease Center »