PROVIDENCE, RI — With the director of the Rhode Island Department of Health set to depart next week, Gov. Dan McKee has assembled the search committee tasked with finding her replacement. The seven-person team will name both an interim and permanent director of the department.
"I thank the esteemed health care professionals who have stepped up to support our Administration in selecting a new director to lead the Rhode Island Department of Health," McKee said. "As we conduct the search, I want Rhode Islanders to know that our work to address COVID-19, expand testing capacity, and get more shots in arms will continue."
The governor said that former Emergency Management Director Marc Pappas has been named the head of the state's "whole of government" response to the COVID-19 pandemic, while Major General Christopher Callahan has reactivated the Rhode Island National Guard to offer support.
"We have a strong team in place to ensure a smooth transition," the governor reassured Rhode Islanders.
The search team will consist of Dr. Megan Ranney, Dr. John A. Stoukides, Dr. Bradley J. Collins, Dr. Kristina Duarte, Dr. Abdul Saied Calvino, Dr. Heather A. Smith and Dr. Chris Abhulime. A brief biography of each, provided by the governor's office, is included at the end of this article.
The search committee was assembled after Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott announced last week that she would leave her role as director after nearly seven years. She is set to depart next week.
Megan Ranney, MD, MPH is a practicing emergency physician, federally-funded researcher, and national advocate for innovative approaches to health. She is the Academic Dean for the School of Public Health, as well as founding Director of the Brown-Lifespan Center for Digital Health, and currently serves as the Warren Alpert Endowed Professor of Emergency Medicine and Professor of Behavioral and Social Science at Brown University. She serves multiple national leadership roles, including co-founder and Senior Strategic Advisor for AFFIRM at the Aspen Institute (http://www.affirmresearch.org), a non-profit committed to ending the gun violence epidemic through a non-partisan public health approach; she was co-founder and President of the Board of GetUsPPE.org, a start-up non-profit that delivered donated personal protective equipment to those who needed it most across the country. She has received numerous awards for technology innovation, public health, and research, and is a leading national voice on the health system and public health response to COVID-19. Dr. Ranney earned her medical doctorate, graduating Alpha Omega Alpha, from Columbia University, and her master's in public health from Brown University. She completed her residency in Emergency Medicine and a fellowship in Injury Prevention Research at Brown University.
John A. Stoukides
John A. Stoukides, MD, ScD. is board certified in Internal Medicine, Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Quality Assurance and Utilization Review. He is Vice Chairman of the Department of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Roger Williams Medical Center and also serves as Medical Director of Utilization Management for CharterCARE Health Partners. He has been overseeing the COVID vaccination program at CharterCARE hospitals. He received his pharmacy degree from URI and medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine along with an Honorary doctor of science in Geriatrics from URI in 2005. He serves as a Clinical Professor of Pharmacy at URI, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine and Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University and is Associate Professor of Nursing at URI.
Bradley J. Collins, MD, SFHM, FACP
Bradley J. Collins, MD, SFHM, FACP is an internist and hospitalist at the Miriam Hospital. He serves as an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. He currently serves as President of the Rhode Island Chapter of the Society of Hospital Medicine and is a current member and past President of the Rhode Island Medical Society. Collins received his medical degree from Pennsylvania State University and completed his residency at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.
Kristina Duarte, MD, ScM is a family physician at Providence Community Health Centers. She earned her medical degree from Dartmouth School of Medicine. After completing her family medicine residency at the Brown University School of Medicine affiliated site at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, Dr. Duarte completed a Master of Science in Epidemiology at Brown University during a two-year clinical Maternal Child Health Fellowship. For 11 years, Dr. Duarte was the Assistant Program Director for the Brown University Family Medicine Residency. She has received numerous teaching awards. She currently is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and continues teaching while her focus is on clinical work.
Abdul Saied Calvino
Dr. Calvino earned his medical degree from the University of Panama Medical School and his Master in Public Health from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). He completed his general surgery residency at UIC and his surgical oncology fellowship at Roger Williams Medical Center. He is board Certified in General Surgery and Surgical Oncology. Besides his clinical practice, he has established an active community outreach and cancer navigation program to improve access to surgical care in underserved populations. For the impact of his work on the community, he has received numerous awards and recognitions at the local and national level, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Carol Friedman National Award for excellence in addressing cancer care disparities.
Heather A. Smith
Heather A. Smith, MPH, MD, FACOG is a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist, educator, and leader in women’s health advocacy. She is an Assistant Professor at Brown University, serving as an Academic Generalist as well as the Director of Quality for the Emergency Department at Women & Infants Hospital. Her work is centered on addressing disparities in maternal outcomes and patient experiences, with a focus on improved communication and community engagement. Active in health policy and advocacy, Dr. Smith is the current president of the American Medical Association (AMA) Foundation, the Vice Chair to the Council on Legislation as well as a delegate representing the American College for Obstetricians and Gynecologists to the AMA, and the Vice President to the Rhode Island Medical Society. After receiving her undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Virginia, Dr. Smith served with City Year Boston and then worked in community outreach and education. She subsequently earned a master's in Public Health and a master's in Medical Sciences from Boston University prior to attending medical school at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and completing residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Smith completed a post-doctorate fellowship in health services research through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program at Yale University.
Chris Abhulime, DVM, MS, PMHNP-BC is Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Dan McKee. He will serve as the liaison between the advisors and the Governor’s Office. He is an accomplished clinical/biopharmaceutical scientist with over 15 years of technical, operational, and managerial experience in clinical immunology, diagnostic testing, regulated bioanalysis, quality assurance, assay validation, clinical trials, and lab automation. He is a board certified/licensed Psychiatric-Mental Nurse Practitioner and previously served as a Research Lab Manager at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He earned a Master of Science from Regis College, a master’s degree in clinical laboratory science/medical technology from the University of Rhode Island, and a Doctor of Veterinary degree.