Help volunteers succeed

Chris Gadbois is an advanced practice public health nurse who became CEO of East Providence-based CareLink Inc. in 2019. Later that year, she was elected president of the nonprofit Rhode Island Public Health Association, an affiliate of the American Public Health Association.  / PBN PHOTO/RUPERT WHITELEY
Chris Gadbois is an advanced practice public health nurse who became CEO of East Providence-based CareLink Inc. in 2019. Later that year, she was elected president of the nonprofit Rhode Island Public Health Association, an affiliate of the American Public Health Association. / PBN PHOTO/RUPERT WHITELEY

Chris Gadbois | CareLink Inc. CEO; R.I. Public Health Association president

When I was elected president of the Rhode Island Public Health Association, I could not have anticipated the critical role of our work as we face a global public health crisis.

The association’s more than 800 members are a diverse group of public health professionals from across academia, state government, and health and social-service organizations serving vulnerable Rhode Islanders. I am amazed by the incredible efforts to promote health, wellness and equity by this committed group of volunteers.

As a leader, it is critical to recognize the unique talents of each team member and try to engage them to contribute successfully. This is especially important with volunteers whose primary work roles range from hands-on patient and community services to leading large, multi-service organizations.

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We are all moving so quickly, it is important to take the time to maintain the connections that are so valuable to successful program development and advocacy.

We are all seeing firsthand the need for a strong public health workforce.

That has been one of the areas we have really expanded this year by engaging with faculty and students across our academic partners.

And we know that strong communication and collaboration are essential to well-informed policy. So, we have to make the extra effort to consciously be inclusive – despite the challenges of working remotely.

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