rhode island department of health

Health Care
6:00 am
Thu March 26, 2015

Interview: Dr. Michael Fine On Four Years Helming Health Dept.

Dr. Michael Fine has led the state’s department of health since 2001. Friday marks his last day at the agency. 

He came to our studios this week to look back on his accomplishments, and offer some advice to his successor, Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott. Fine told us that, as he leaves office, Rhode Islanders are not as healthy as they could be. But despite the challenges people face, there’s progress to be proud of.

  

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Health Care
3:14 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Alexander-Scott Nominated To Lead Health Dept.

Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, left, is Gov. Gina Raimondo's pick for the state's top public health post.
Credit Office of Gov. Gina Raimondo

Gov. Gina Raimondo has nominated a new leader for the state Dept. of Health.

Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott is currently Consultant Medical Director for the state health department’s division of infectious diseases, focusing on HIV and AIDS, viral hepatitis, and other infections. She’s a board-certified specialist in infectious disease in both children and adults. Alexander-Scott is also on the faculty of Brown University’s medical school. She studied medicine at the State University of New York Upstate Medical School and received a Masters in Public Health from Brown.

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The Pulse
12:34 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Timely Approval For New Meningitis Vaccine; Controlling An Outbreak

Photomicrograph of the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis
Credit James Volk / CDC

Three strains of meningococcal bacteria - the critters that can cause meningitis - circulate and cause disease in the U.S. Until recently, we only had vaccines to protect against two of them. But in October 2014, the FDA approved a new vaccine for the strain known as serogroup B; on January 23rd, the agency approved a second vaccine for serogroup B, this one requiring just two doses, rather than three.

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The Pulse
2:26 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Ever Sign An Agreement With Your Doctor?

At a public hearing yesterday at the Dept. of Health, doctors, dentists, physician assistants, and advanced practice nurses voiced their opposition to the department's proposed regulations governing the prescribing of opioids. The new rules would require prescribers to sign a fairly lengthy agreement with patients, alerting them to the risks of taking prescription painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin, and agreeing to certain kinds of monitoring. Many health care providers feel these agreements aren't necessary and that, in fact, they're patronizing.

What do you think?

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Health Care
3:26 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Proposed Rules Could Change Painkiller Prescribing

Donna Policastro, representing Rhode Island nurses, says the proposed regulations are unnecessary.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island health officials are considering new regulations governing how health care providers prescribe painkillers. So far this year, 212 Rhode Islanders have died from accidental drug overdoses, most involving opioids, according to the health department.

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Health Care
2:07 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Community Health Centers Join Ebola Preparations

Hospitals have gotten most of the attention when it comes to Ebola preparedness. But at a recent hearing for state lawmakers, questions were raised about the readiness of community-based health care providers to deal with the threat. 

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The Pulse
12:22 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Health Dept. Releases Ebola Emergency Plan

An Ebola prep cart, with personal protective equipment, at Rhode Island Hospital.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island health officials have unveiled the state’s Ebola emergency response plan. The plan spells out the steps state agencies will take to handle potential cases.

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Health Care
1:05 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Health Dept. Conducts Ebola "Exercises" With Hospitals

The Rhode Island health department says it’s conducting exercises with hospitals to test their readiness for Ebola patients.

In a weekly update to reporters, state health officials say there are no cases of Ebola in Rhode Island, although they have investigated – and ruled out – "a number of" possible cases since August.

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Health Care
2:40 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

For Now, Monitoring, But No Isolation For W. African Arrivals

The Rhode Island Department of Health says it’s currently monitoring several recent arrivals from West Africa to guard against Ebola. But some members of the West African community want the health department to do more.

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Health Care
10:44 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Health Officials Report First Death With Possible Link To EV-D68

Rhode Island Dept. of Health director Dr. Michael Fine speaks to reporters Wednesday morning about the child's death.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A child from Rhode Island has died from a combination of infections, including enterovirus D68, or EV-D68. It’s one of the first known deaths with some kind of link to EV-D68. What role the respiratory virus played in the child’s death is still unclear.

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