WellOne Celebrates 100th Anniversary and New Name

December 1st, 2009

In celebration of a century of caring for local patients, Northwest Community Health Care directors and staff joined with honored guests on Friday, November 6th at Crystal Lake Golf Club in Mapleville for an evening of dinner and dancing.

From its inception as an anti-Tuberculosis league with one nurse in a horse and buggy caring for Burrillville residents to nearly 100 employees today in three locations tending to 13,000+ patients in nine communities, Northwest has never wavered in its dedication to providing high quality health care, regardless of one’s ability to pay. Over the years, Northwest has demonstrated the ingenuity of local efforts and how a rural community can come together to provide healing, relief, and comfort to its citizens and respond to their evolving needs. Northwest is not only amongst the oldest providers of public health services in Rhode Island but the entire nation, and throughout its long history has been a pioneer in the provision of public health services, often leading both the state and the nation in implementing important practices and policies as demonstrated by its history of laudable accomplishments: blazing the trail for community-wide immunizations as well as hosting the first measles clinic in Rhode Island and the first mumps clinic in the nation; organizing some of the first dental clinics in the United States; the first facility in the state to utilize an autoclave sterilizing unit in a community setting; the first RI community health center to implement rapid HIV testing; together with Rhode Island’s other community health centers creating one of the first Medicaid HMO’s in the country (Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island), consistently ranked amongst the best in the nation; and the first officially designated Rural Health Clinic in the country.

“For 100 years, Northwest has played an enormously important role in providing health care to the uninsured and underserved of our communities,” applauded Congressman Jim Langevin. “I congratulate staff and board members, past and present, for keeping this organization and its mission thriving and expanding. As WellOne reaffirms the Northwest commitment of providing everyone with access to health care that they both require and deserve into the next century, I look forward to continuing our relationship.”

The evening’s program included guest speaker, internationally renowned lecturer and author Judy Norsigian, Executive Director of Our Bodies Ourselves, who addressed the audience with a speech titled, “Health Care Reform and Primary Care.” In addition, in honor of Rhode Island philanthropist June Rockwell Levy, who served as Northwest’s board president for 51 consecutive years and is the namesake of The June Rockwell Levy Foundation, Northwest has established an annual June Rockwell Levy Annual Public Health Service Award. The award was presented to the Fogarty Family in recognition of their dedication and significant contributions to the advancement of public health in the state of Rhode Island. Former Lieutenant Governor Charles J. Fogarty accepted the award on the family’s behalf.

Northwest is now WellOne!

Northwest also announced a new organization name, WellOne. In order to unify the organization under a common banner, Northwest Community Health Care and Bayside Family Healthcare have changed their name to WellOne Primary Medical and Dental Care. In 100 years of serving Rhode Islanders, the organization has continuously evolved in response to the changing needs of the community and its patients as reflected in the organization’s mission and name. WellOne denotes the organization’s commitment to achieving the highest attainable level of physical, psychological and social well-being by providing preventive care for all – the individual and family as well as the community – through health and wellness in addition to treatment. WellOne also reflects the organization’s vision to be the best at what its does.

About Northwest Community Health Care

Northwest Community Health Care, established in 1909, is the oldest nonprofit community health center in Rhode Island, was the first rural health clinic in the nation, and historically has served as a pioneer in public health initiatives including its ground-breaking immunization and chronic disease management programs. Northwest’s mission is to provide high quality primary medical and dental care to the residents of the communities that it serves. Northwest operates sites in Pascoag, Foster and North Kingstown and serves more than 13,000 patients of these communities and the surrounding towns of Glocester, Smithfield, Scituate, West Greenwich, East Greenwich, and Exeter. In addition to primary medical and dental care, the organization provides behavioral health, mammography and bone density scanning services. The organization offers services on a sliding fee scale to qualifying uninsured patients and operates a discount pharmacy program in collaboration with CVS.

About Judy Norsigian

Judy Norsigian is a co-author of Our Bodies, Ourselves (8th edition, May 2005) and a member of the editorial teams for Our Bodies, Ourselves: Menopause (2006) and Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth (2008). Judy speaks and writes frequently on a wide range of women’s health concerns, including abortion and contraception, sexually transmissible infections, genetics and reproductive technologies, body image, tobacco and women, women and health care reform, and midwifery advocacy. She has appeared on numerous national television and radio programs and currently serves as a board member for Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research. Personal recognitions include: the Public Service Award from the Massachusetts Public Health Association (1989); Radcliffe College Alumnae Association Annual Recognition Award (1995); the 2002 Massachusetts Health Council Award; and an honorary doctorate from Boston University in May 2007.

About the Fogarty Family

For over 75 years, the Fogarty family has contributed significantly to the advancement of public health in Rhode Island. Margaret A. Fogarty, R.N. was a lifelong member of the Rhode Island State Nurse’s Association. She worked for 42 years at Northwest, served as the Executive Director for 30 years, oversaw the expansion of the organization’s service area from one town to five and widened the agency’s scope of service. The organization’s medical building in Pascoag is named in her honor. Her brother, Congressman John E. Fogarty, served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 26 years and was influenced by her passion for health care. He was a strong advocate for the rights of individuals with disabilities and was a leader, nationally and in Rhode Island, to bring those individuals residing in large, impersonal institutions into the community. The John Fogarty Memorial Hospital (now RI Rehabilitation Hospital) in Woonsocket is named after him as well as the John E. Fogarty International Center for Advanced Study in Health Sciences at the National Institutes of Health. Former Lieutenant Governor Charles J. Fogarty is the author of the landmark Health Quality Performance Measurement and Reporting Law, led the fight to restrict money from the tobacco settlement to health care initiatives, revamped the state’s mental health parity law, created the Nurse Reward Tuition Program and dramatically expanded the state’s prescription drug program (RIPAE). He also tightened regulations in assisted living facilities and increased inspections at nursing homes. He served as the President of the Rhode Island Senate for a number of years and during this tenure served as Chair of the Rhode Island Long Term Care Coordinating Council through which he championed legislation to benefit and protect the rights of Rhode Island’s elderly residents. He also served for many years as a member of Northwest’s Board of Directors. The family legacy continues with the election of Senator Paul W. Fogarty to the Rhode Island Senate in 1998. During his time in the senate he has been a strong advocate for Zambarano Hospital and senior health care. He currently serves as chairman of the Senate Labor Committee and is a Deputy Senate Majority Leader. Prior to his election to the senate he served on the Glocester Town Council from 1997-1999 during which time he was council president.

About June Rockwell Levy

June Rockwell Levy possessed a storehouse of energy, even while enduring serious illnesses over the last twenty years of her life. During her lifetime she touched almost every corner of Rhode Island with her generosity. She was born June 14, 1886 in Brooklyn, N.Y. Her family moved to Bristol, R.I., in 1891. She studied at Rosemary Hall in Greenwich, Conn., Lincoln School in Providence, and a private school in Paris. She took courses at the Rhode Island School of Design and was an accomplished amateur artist, often using her original drawings for Christmas cards. Although prevented by ill health from obtaining a college degree, Mrs. Levy was cited at the 1959 Brown University Convocation, and received an honorary Doctor of Law degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1967.

A world traveler, Mrs. Levy found time to serve as a Trustee of Lincoln School, Chair of the Providence Art Club’s Ladies Board, and President of the Providence Garden Club, the latter honoring her for a half century of membership. One of her most cherished associations was with the Burrillville-Glocester District Nursing Association and its successor, Northwest Community Health Care, of which she served as President for 51 consecutive terms. Virtually every Rhode Island hospital, college and university has benefited from gifts from the June Rockwell Levy Foundation, created in her honor by her husband in 1947. Scholarships at the University of Rhode Island and Brandeis were provided through her generosity.

In 1963 she received “The Order of the British Empire” from Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of her contributions and those of her late husband to the welfare and economy of the Bahamas, including the “Levy Medical and Health Center”.

Mrs. Levy died on August 8, 1971 at the age of 85. The funeral was private: she was buried alongside her husband, Austin T. Levy, beneath a granite stone at the rear of the Assembly, the performing arts center in Harrisville the couple had given to the town.

During a discussion with a Woonsocket Call reporter about her life and charitable work she noted that “My greatest hobby was the same as my husband’s – people.”

For further information, please contact: Kathryn M. Franklin, Ph.D., Director of Development & Public Affairs at – (401) 285-5153 or

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