PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island Kids Count executive director Elizabeth Burke Bryant made her final public appearance in that role at an event Monday celebrating statewide improvements in children’s health.

The luncheon served as a culmination of Burke Bryant’s time as the nonprofit’s leader, a passing of the torch to incoming executive director Paige Clausius-Parks, and a reflection on the state’s positive steps in improving children’s health outcomes.

After 28 years in charge of the state’s leading child advocacy organization, Burke Bryant’s list of accomplishments is long, but highlights include the state now ranking fourth best for children’s health coverage and child and teen deaths, and fifth best for infant mortality.

U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline were among those who received awards for contributions to increasing access to health insurance coverage for children.

Each of them took time to thank Burke Bryant.

“I think it is safe to say there’s not a single person in Rhode Island who has had more of an impact on the welfare of children than Elizabeth Burke Bryant,” Cicilline said.

“This organization has set a trajectory that gives Paige an enormous amount of support and grounds for confidence as she moves forward,” Whitehouse said. “But that trajectory was set by Elizabeth.”

Whitehouse, Burke Bryant and others spoke highly of Clausius-Parks, who has spent years as a senior policy analyst at Rhode Island Kids Count.

Clausius-Parks thanked Burke Bryant for her work and highlighted areas of progress before looking to the future.

“We will keep going until all of our kids have access to the care and services they need,” Clausius-Parks said. “We celebrate with the acknowledgment that the job is not done.”

Tolly Taylor ( is a Target 12 investigative reporter for 12 News. Connect with him on Twitter and on Facebook