Meet the team!
Laurie Moïse Sears
Laurie Moïse Sears is the Healthy Communities Office Director for the City of Providence. Mrs. Moïse Sears joined the Healthy Communities Office in April 2021. Her public health interests include combating healthy equity issues, addressing substance use disorder within the BIPOC community and maternal health.
Prior to joining the Healthy Communities office, she worked at a local community development corporation where her primary focus was expanding the impact of the Central Providence Health Equity Zone and other community-building efforts aimed at eliminating barriers set by social determinants of health. A Massachusetts native, Mrs. Moïse Sears previously served many roles that focused on addressing homelessness and substance use disorder in the city of Boston.
Mrs. Moïse Sears holds a Master’s in Public Health from St. George’s University in Grenada, West Indies and a Bachelor’s in Healthy Policy and Management from Providence College. She is of Haitian descent and deeply values the opportunity to support families from the Caribbean. She is fluent in Haitian Creole and currently lives in the Smith Hill neighborhood of Providence.
Rachel Newman Greene
Rachel Newman Greene serves as the Healthy Communities Office Deputy Director for the City of Providence since early 2016. Her work focuses on increasing equity in Providence residents’ access to healthy, affordable and culturally appropriate foods, opportunities for physical exercise and other resources to lead healthy lives.
Prior to joining the office, she spent more than a decade in community development organizations in Providence’s South Side and West End, including developing and managing resident engagement and leadership programs, urban agricultural initiatives and comprehensive community improvement and health coalitions.
Ms. Newman Greene holds an MA in Urban Policy and Planning from Tufts University and a BA in Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College. She and her family are residents of Providence’s Washington Park neighborhood. Ms. Newman Greene loves learning about the food traditions of Providence’s culturally rich community and connecting with nature and her neighbors in Roger Williams Park.
Regional Coalition Director
Obed Papp is the Healthy Communities Office’s Program Manager and Regional Coalition Director for the City of Providence. She joined the office in 2011, working predominantly on tobacco public health issues. For more than ten years Obed has been committed to working on two important areas in public service, community development and drug prevention.
Mrs. Papp currently serves as the Providence Regional Director and leads the Mayor’s Coalition on Behavioral Health. She has been very active in the greater Providence community serving as an ambassador of goodwill as well as volunteering with many community organizations, including Praise Tabernacle Church, CODAC Behavioral Healthcare, West Broadway Neighborhood Association, Federal Hill House Association, and the Rhode Island Professional Latino Association.
Mrs. Papp has a Master’s in Public Administration from University of Rhode Island, a Bachelor’s in Economics, a Specialist degree in Public Government Administration and she is certified as a Prevention Specialist Supervisor. Mrs. Papp is of Colombian descent and speaks fluent Spanish; therefore, she offers a cultural perspective for the Providence community.
Tanya Gilbert is the Healthy Communities Office Program Manager for the City of Providence. She joined the office in December 2020, and her work focuses on preventing the use of alcohol, tobacco/nicotine in youth ages 12-17 years. She also is educating alcohol and tobacco/nicotine retailers, youth, their families and our community on the laws, risks and harm associated with the use of these substances in youth and young adults.
Before Tanya joined the Healthy Communities Office, she served more than a decade in the Providence community providing community outreach and youth development with The King’s Cathedral (formerly Cathedral of Life Christian Assembly) and the YMCA of Greater Providence.
Ms. Gilbert holds a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Global Management and Organizational Leadership, as well as a Bachelor’s and Associate’s degree from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI. Tanya resides in the Washington Park neighborhood with her family.
Kelsie Bourque serves as the Fiscal Coordinator for the Healthy Communities office. Kelsie joined the HCO in September 2021.
Prior to joining the office, Kelsie worked in higher education providing administrative support to programming and services designed to increase the overall wellbeing of students and staff at Montana State University.
Mrs. Bourque holds a Master’s in Public Administration from Montana State University and a Bachelor’s from Quinnipiac University in Health Science. Kelsie resides in West Greenwich, RI with her family.
Behavioral Health Program Manager
Silaphone Nhongvongsouthy is the Behavioral Health Program Manager in the Health Communities Office. Ms. Nhongvongsouthy is a product of the Providence public school system. She is a state certified Community Health Worker with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Rhode Island. Awarded the 2019 Tom Roberts Prize for Creative Achievement by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, she has built extensive collaborations with local, national and global cultural organizations. Ms. Nhongvongsouthy is passionate about public health, community engagement and has over 10 years of programming experience.
Health Literacy Program Manager
Sussy Santana is a Healthy Communities Office’s Program Manager. She joined the office in May 2022, focusing her work on health literacy. Santana is a poet and cultural organizer working at the intersection of arts & community healing. In 2020 she was one of five artists selected to participate in the Creative Community Health Worker Fellowship in Artist facilitation & Community Health Work by the Department of Arts, Culture & Tourism. In 2015 she became the first Latina recipient of the MacColl Johnson Fellowship in Writing. Ms. Santana comes with a background in Legal Interpreting and Translation with 20 years of experienced in the RI Judiciary. She has published three poetry books.
Data and Evaluation Manager
Rachel Ferrara has served as the Data and Evaluation Manager in the Healthy Communities Office since February 2022. Ms. Ferrara is creating and implementing a robust data collection and evaluation plan to monitor progress of the Behavioral Health Crisis Response Program project.
Prior to joining the Healthy Communities Office, Ms. Ferrara served as the Operations Manager for a local community organization focused on recovery. Throughout her career, Ms. Ferrara has developed and implemented data collection and evaluation plans for over a dozen programs. Ms. Ferrara’s career in human services has focused on peer-based support services for individuals living with mental illness, substance use disorders, and disabilities.
Ms. Ferrara holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Southern California with a concentration in Community Organizing, Planning, and Administration and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Elmira College. Ms. Ferrara resides in the Smith Hill neighborhood with her family.
Chyna Howell serves as an Outreach Coordinator for the Healthy Communities Office, implementing recruitment strategies for various HCO programs. Ms. Howell joined the HCO in February 2022. Ms. Howell has a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Johnson & Wales University. Prior to joining the office, Chyna volunteered for her sorority Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., conducting substance misuse prevention programs.
Synclaire Mitchell serves as an Outreach Coordinator for the Healthy Communities Office and joined the HCO in November 2021. Prior to joining the office, Mrs. Mitchell spent several years volunteering and being involved with community engagement. She is passionate about helping others access the resources they need. Mrs. Mitchell holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health from Coastal Carolina University and is currently pursuing a graduate degree at Johnson & Wales University.
Community Health Coordinator
Wedley Thelemaque is the Healthy Communities Office’s Community Health Coordinator. Mr. Thelemaque joined the Healthy Communities Office and the Mayor’s Center for City Services in February 2022. Working as the liaison for both offices, Mr. Thelemaque worked closely with Providence small business owners and constituents to provide KN95 masks and COVID-19 test kits, as well as assisting Providence residents with making COVID-19 testing appointments. Prior to joining the Healthy Communities Office, Mr. Thelemaque worked as an operation supervisor for a hospital in Boston. In his role, he worked closely with hospital leadership to implement and operationalize staffing within the Nursing division. Mr. Thelemaque’s areas of expertise include addressing operational efficiency and managing different stakeholders.