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Name- Jill D’Errico

City, State- Providence, RI

Organization- Rhode Island Department of Health

How long have you lived in the state? Why do you choose to live there?

I have lived in the state for six years.  I was teaching high school in Massachusetts and came to Rhode Island to take a summer internship with the Center for Emergency Preparedness and Response, got married, and never left. I am currently moving from a major city (pop. 80,000) to one of our most rural areas (pop. 1,600) and cannot wait to get back to the closeness of a small town!  I stay in Rhode Island because you can go to a national park, hit the beach, and dine outside at an Italian bistro, while listening to big band, all in the same 15 miles!

What are the best cultural events that happen in your state?

There are so many.  Rhode Island is known for its diverse population with Pride festival and PVD fest being in the forefront.  Every summer is WaterFire, an event that hosts over 1 million visitors that witness 80 bonfires along our rivers, live music, and entertainment.  Newport hosts the Newport Flower Show at the mansions, the Blessing of the Fleet, and the Folk Fest.  Bristol hosts the longest running (1785) and the longest (two weeks) Fourth of July celebration in the United States.  There are over 900 festivals, fairs, events, and attractions throughout the year!

Why should a health professional choose your state over surrounding states?

Rhode Island is innovative in attracting health professionals. Some reasons include:

  1. Prestigious colleges and universities- offering many opportunities through the Brown Alpert Medical School, including 10 research centers, Grand Rounds, and affiliations with 7 area hospitals.
  2. The Rhode Island Quality Institute (RIQI)- has guided the state toward notable improvements in reducing hospital-acquired infections and costs, establishing statewide capacity to fill electronic prescriptions, and adopting electronic health records by the majority of practices. The organization collaborates across government, industry, provider, and consumer groups.
  3. Rhode Island State Innovation Model (SIM) Test Grant invests in practice transformation and the development of the healthcare workforce, patient engagement and facilitation tools, and expanding access to increased data capacity and expertise to make it easy to tie data to quality and outcome improvements.

What loan repayment programs does your state have? Anything that makes those programs unique?

The Health Professionals Loan Repayment Program offers loan repayment to eligible health professionals in a variety of disciplines including primary care, dentistry, and mental health. We are unique in that we have 3:1 matching from private donations.

More information can be found at http://health.ri.gov/programs/detail.php?pgm_id=179/

How is the J-1 Visa Waiver program utilized in your state?

Rhode Island welcomes providers to the Physician Visa Waiver Program with a focus on increasing access to rural and urban communities for primary care and specialists.  Rhode Island accepts 30 applications beginning October 1 of each year.  More information can be found at


Are healthcare professionals valued in your state? Do you have any examples?

Rhode Island has the Primary Care Physician Advisory Committee (PCPAC), a group of providers who have a voice in the state and at the Department of Health on several key issues like pain management and physician burnout.

Why do people travel to your state?

Our state is only 37 miles wide and 48 miles long, yet the state has a coastline of 400 miles, making our beaches a very popular tourist destination!  We have 11 state parks with terrific hiking, 60 miles of bike trails, and for the adventurer, shark cage diving.  We also have historical places including the oldest Veteran’s monument, library, carousel, tavern, and synagogue in the United States.   

What sports teams does your state have?

We are home to the Pawtucket Red Sox and Providence Bruins (affiliate teams to Boston).  Most people in the state support the Patriots, Bruins, Celtics, and Red Sox.  As a fun fact, the first NFL night game (under floodlights) was held on November 6, 1929 at Providence's Kinsley Park. I am personally in the minority of football fans, supporting the Jets and Eagles!

What is your favorite local food?

Providence has been consistently voted in the top ten cities for best restaurants in the country! Personally, a visit to historic Federal Hill (Italian) is always a best bet when in RI (just ask Mike Shimmons who shared a meal with me there!).

What is your state best known for?

Rhode Island is known for several firsts:

  • the first law prohibiting slavery in North America (1652)
  • the first of the thirteen colonies to renounce its allegiance to the British Crown (1776)
  • the first successful water-powered cotton textile mill in North America (1793)
  • the first street in America to be illuminated by gaslight (1806)
  • the first strike in the United States in which women participated (1824)

We are also known for our license plates.  Politicians have distributed low-numbered license plates since 1904 to reward supporters. Such plates have become a status symbol, and Rhode Island is one of the few states to allow the owner to transfer license plates to other family members in their will (my father-in-law has a 3 from his great-aunt)! For more fun facts visit https://www.ri.gov/facts/trivia.php

What is the biggest misconception about your state?

Rhode Island is not an actual island. It contains several islands, like Aquidneck Island, Conanicut Island, Block Island, Prudence Island, Dutch Island, and Goat Island.

What are the biggest industries in your state?

Health services are Rhode Island's largest industry. Second is tourism, supporting 39,000 jobs, with tourism-related sales over $3 billion. The third-largest industry is manufacturing. The industrial outputs are submarine construction, shipbuilding, costume jewelry, fabricated metal products, electrical equipment, machinery, and boatbuilding.

How is the weather/climate in your state?

Most of Rhode Island has a humid continental climate, with warm summers and cold winters. Monthly average temperatures range from a high of 83 °F to a low of 20 °F.

Rhode Island is vulnerable to tropical storms, hurricanes, and Nor’easters due to its location, catching the brunt of many storms blowing up the Eastern Seaboard.

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