Lt. Gov. McKee announces members of COVID-19 advisory group

Politics

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP/WPRI) — Rhode Island Lt. Gov. Daniel McKee has unveiled the members of a 20-member panel that will advise him on the state’s continued response to the coronavirus pandemic, including vaccination efforts.

McKee is expected to take over as governor if Gina Raimondo is confirmed as President Joe Biden’s commerce secretary.

The COVID-19 Advisory Group announced Wednesday includes medical professionals, lawmakers, municipal and community leaders and others.

McKee says he wants to leverage the state’s talent so Rhode Island’s families can reunite, children can return to school, and small business owners can return to normal.

Below is information for each member of the Transition COVID-19 Advisory Group from the incoming governor’s office.

Co-Chairs
John A. Stoukides, MD, ScD. is board certified in Internal Medicine, Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Quality Assurance and Utilization Review. He is Vice Chairman of the Department of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Roger Williams Medical Center and also serves as Medical Director of Utilization Management for CharterCARE Health Partners. He has been overseeing the COVID-19 vaccination program at CharterCARE hospitals. He received his pharmacy degree from the University of Rhode Island (URI) and medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine along with an Honorary Doctor of Science in Geriatrics from URI in 2005. He serves as a Clinical Professor of Pharmacy at URI, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine and Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University and is Associate Professor of Nursing at URI.

Mayor Joseph Polisena, RN has served as Mayor of Johnston for 14 years and is a former state senator, having served for 12 years. Polisena, a longtime nurse and former firefighter, has an associate degree in nursing, a bachelor’s degree in health and social services, and a master’s degree in education. He has taught at the Community College of Rhode Island in the Fire Science EMT Program since 1986. He is currently licensed by the State of Rhode Island as a Registered Nurse and an EMT-C.

Members
Ashish K. Jha, M.D., MPH, Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, is recognized globally as an expert on pandemics and pandemic response. He has led groundbreaking research around Ebola and is now on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response, leading national analysis of key issues and advising state and federal policy makers. He comes to the Brown School of Public Health after leading the Harvard Global Health Institute and teaching at Harvard Medical School. He is a general internist who will continue his practice at the Providence VA Medical Center.

Hemi TewarsonMPH, JD is a Duke-Margolis Visiting Senior Policy Fellow with expertise in state health policy research and analysis, particularly as it relates to state-level COVID-19 response. Tewarson previously served as the director for the Health Division of the National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices and as senior attorney in the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Mike Magee, M.D., served for a decade as Vice President for Global Medical Affairs at Pfizer where he regularly interacted with many of the world’s public health leaders and experts. During that time, he was a Senior Fellow at the World Medical Association in Geneva, Switzerland. Prior to joining Pfizer, Dr. Magee was an executive in large health care systems including Baystate Medical Center in Massachusetts and as Senior Vice President of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia. Dr. Magee began his career as a surgeon in Massachusetts.

John R. Morton, MD is an Obstetrician Gynecologist and Chief of Gynecology at Landmark Medical Center. He has served Rhode Island families throughout the state for the past 18 years, including those in Pawtucket and Woonsocket.

Major General Christopher Callahan serves as the Adjutant General and Commanding General of the Rhode Island National Guard. During the pandemic, General Callahan has managed the activation of over 700 guard members to support Rhode Island’s COVID-19 response. He led the National Guard’s efforts to make Rhode Island’s field hospitals operational and secure. General Callahan also serves on the state’s current COVID-19 Response Team

Town Manager James R. Tierney has served as the Narragansett Town Manager since 2019. He previously served as the chief of operations for the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority. Tierney has more than 30 years of experience in public safety having served with the South Kingstown Police Department and subsequent to that, as an Inspector General for the City of New York.

Michael Nina is a Community Health Worker and Marketing Associate at Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island. Michael has been a trusted and reliable leader within the Hispanic community in Providence for many years and continues to advocate for access to quality services and opportunities for Rhode Island’s culturally diverse communities. Nina holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Strategic Leadership Studies.

Town Manager James J. Cunha has served as the Barrington Town Manager since 2016. Cunha is a retired U.S. Navy captain who has experience working with municipal governments. He is a member of the Rhode Island Emergency Management Advisory Committee.

Dola Adesina, MSN, RN is a local nurse working to support Rhode Island’s pandemic response. She has been assisting on case investigation, quarantine and infection control education, and COVID-19 supply management. Adesina has worked in both hospital and senior living settings. She holds a Master of Science in Nursing and Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Mayor Frank Picozzi is the newly elected Mayor of Warwick. He previously served as Chairman of the Warwick School Committee after serving several years as a school committee member. Picozzi has a background in small business.

Lynne Urbani Representing the RI House of Representatives Lynne Urbani is the Policy Director to the Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives. Urbani holds a Master of Science in Health Services Administration and worked in healthcare and managed care organizations for over 25 years. She previously served as President/CEO of the Rhode Island Free Clinic.

Senator Bridget Valverde Representing the RI Senate Rhode Island State Senator Bridget Valverde represents Senate District 35: East Greenwich, North Kingstown, South Kingstown and Narragansett. She is the Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Humans Services and a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture.

Town Administrator Jamie Hainsworth has served as the Town Administrator of Jamestown since 2020. He is a former U.S. Marshal who has had a long career in public safety serving 30 years with the Glocester Police Department. Hainsworth also previously served on the Glocester Town Council.

Robert Walsh, Jr. is the Executive Director of the National Education Association Rhode Island, which represents over 12,000 teachers, education support professionals, higher education faculty, graduate students and staff, and state and municipal employees. Walsh holds degrees in Political Science and Organizational Behavior and Management from Brown University and has his Master of Science in Labor and Industrial Relations from the University of Rhode Island.

Channavy Chhay is the Executive Director of the Center for Southeast Asians, a local organization which helps Rhode Island’s Southeast Asian community navigate the state’s governmental, healthcare, human services, legal, and financial services systems. Throughout the pandemic, Chhay has led outreach and advocacy efforts to support the Southeast Asian community in accessing testing, housing, food and other critical resources.

Joseph A. Andriole is the President of the Rhode Island State Association of Firefighters, which represents over 1,400 firefighters and EMS workers within 31 municipal departments throughout the state. He also previously served as the President of Local 1950, International Association of Firefighters and served 22 years within the Johnston Fire Department, achieving the rank of Battalion Chief.

Mayor Roberto DaSilva has served as Mayor of East Providence since 2019. He previously served the residents East Providence and Pawtucket as a State Representative. DaSilva worked in the Pawtucket Police Department for over 25 years. DaSilva holds a Bachelor of Science in Administration of Justice from Roger Williams University.

M. Teresa Paiva Weed is the President of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island. In 2009, Paiva Weed became the first woman to serve as President of the Rhode Island Senate after nearly 2 decades of service as a State Senator. During her tenure at the State House, she led efforts to address mental health and substance abuse and played a key role in establishing Rhode Island’s health insurance exchange.  

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