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How Bitter Melon Improved Housing in Providence, Rhode Island

Dec 9, 2019, 9:45 AM, Posted by Angela Bannerman Ankoma, Sharon Conard-Wells

Many housing projects focus exclusively on putting a roof over peoples’ heads. We sought a broader approach that integrates cultural values into kitchens, homes and neighborhoods.

Illustration of a neighborhood.

The literal translation of the word “sankofa,” from the Akan tribe in Ghana, means "go back and fetch it.” Figuratively, it captures an important belief in Akan culture: While the future brings new learning, knowledge from the past must not be forgotten.

This principle guided our efforts to transform 10 formerly blighted lots into a vibrant community of 50 modern “green” apartments in Providence, Rhode Island’s diverse West End community. The $13.5 million development is connected to 30,000 square feet of community garden space. Single fathers come with sons, pastors come with children and people sit under the garden’s pergola, which was built by local youth volunteers. It is, as one article put it, a “beehive of activity.”

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An Innovative Nurse Residency Program Will Get Aspiring Rhode Island Nurses into the Community

May 10, 2013, 10:00 AM, Posted by Lynne Dunphy

Lynne M. Dunphy, PhD, FNP, is the founding nurse co-lead of the Rhode Island Action Coalition and an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellows program. She is a professor and associate dean of external affairs at the University of Rhode Island’s College of Nursing, where she also holds the Routhier Chair of Practice. This is part of a series of posts for National Nurses Week, highlighting how nurses are driving quality and innovation in patient care.

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At the University of Rhode Island, I teach a graduate course in health care policy. Rhode Island Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts recently spoke to my class about health reform, and I showed her around our college of nursing. As we walked through rooms with high-tech simulation equipment and other labs that imitate real-life practice, she raised a question that resonated with me: Are your students getting out into the community? This is where our health care needs of the future will be.

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So many of our nursing students want to go into acute care, and I am concerned that they have not had enough exposure to the entire health care system. The following questions keep coming to mind:

  • Do they learn enough about all the settings they could work in?
  • Do they understand what their responsibilities and day-to-day activities would be in various settings, such as in a community health center or long-term care facility?
  • Do they understand how to implement population-based care?  
  • Are they ready for the challenging work of visiting patients in home care settings?  
  • Are they truly prepared?

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