PHOF honors Public Health & Equity Leader Elizabeth Moreira
PAWTUCKET – When her phone rang a few months back, Elizabeth Moreira thought it just another call from friend and city leader Patty Zacks. “But then she told me that I had been selected as the Pawtucket Hall of Fame’s 2020-21 Person of the Year, and I couldn’t say anything,” said Moreira, who had served as the city’s Public Health & Equity Leader until this past September. “I was speechless.”
According to Zacks, the award is given to the person who the committee feels has made outstanding contributions to the city and its residents during the prior year, and believes that individual deserves recognition for that service.
Call Moreira the clearcut victor.
“She led the COVID-19 response in one of the hardest-hit communities in Rhode Island and spearheaded programs to determine social determinants of health, including the implementation for safe stations to combat the opioid epidemic and the installation of feminine hygiene products in public buildings, including schools,” her biography
“She is currently facilitating programs for the Pawtucket Central Falls Health Equity Zone; in addition, she serves as Director of Operations for ‘Project Health CV, Inc., a 501c3 organization where she coordinates medical missions to Cabo Verde in order to strengthen the islands’ health care and specialty care systems.
“This is a volunteer position where she focuses on transfer technology and education to bring the islands’ health care system up to the current levels of expertise. The organization provides health care professionals who care for Cabo Verdean immigrants and is a cultural exchange experience to enhance an understanding of the people they serve.”
Moreira, a Providence native but now resides in Pawtucket, attended Classical High School, then furthered her education at the University of Rhode Island, where she earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Health Care Administration & Management, then a Master’s in the same field from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences.
She is a first-generation
“Cabo Verdean-American,” and proud of her heritage; that’s why she advocates to preserve the unique history and identity associated with it.
“She has taken the opportunity to lead future generations and build community through shared perspectives and experiences to make Pawtucket a desirable place to live and work for all,” reads her biography. “She holds a deep commitment to community, social justice and racial equity through her work in Rhode Island and globally.
“Her ultimate goal is to develop healthy, inclusive and equitable communities where people feel safe, understood and empowered.”
While floored by the laurel, Moreira nevertheless said she couldn’t have done all that work with the help of numerous people, especially Dr. Michael Fine, the former R.I. Department of Health Director and current Blackstone
Valley Community Healthcare, Inc. Senior Clinical & Population Health Officer and Central Falls Chief Health Strategist.
Fine also happened to be one of the Hall of Fame Selection Committee’s Class of 2022 inductees
“I think I won it because of the unprecedented work we did with the BEAT COVID Task Force, which Dr. Fine launches with Mayor Donald Grebien and former Central Falls Mayor James Diossa,” Moreira said. “Like I said, this was shocking. I never dreamed of something like this. I’ve been doing this work for my whole life, but I never knew I could get paid for it until not long ago.
“I really can’t believe this,” she added of the red-carpet atmosphere inside The Armory. “This is surreal. I am deeply honored and filled with gratitude, but it does take a village.”