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Staff Earn Welch Awards

Release Date: 02/04/2013

Two staff members at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island were recently awarded the annual Richard P. Welch Award for Continued Excellence in Patient and Family Centered Care.


Established in 2006 by the family and friends of Richard “Dick” Welch, the award was inspired by his unwavering commitment to excellence in patient and family centered care during his 35-year tenure serving Women & Infants as a trustee, board chair and chief operating officer. Awards are presented annually for a clinical and non-clinical employee.


The awards were presented by Mary Welch, Dick Welch’s wife, and Mary Pat Denci, his daughter, to Trisha O’Reilly, LICSW (clinical), and Melissa O’Donnell, LICSW (non-clinical).


In presenting the award to O’Reilly, a Portsmouth resident, Mary Welch noted that, “There is not one story that makes Trisha deserving of the award. We believe Trisha IS the story because she has helped, supported and advocated for hundreds of families throughout her career at Women & Infants. Trisha always appreciates, understands and accepts her families’ feelings and emotions, which is one of the most important interpersonal skills a social worker can possess. Trisha can be counted on to advocate for families in the most difficult of circumstances. She will leave no stone unturned or resource unexplored to best support families.”


Of O’Donnell, a South Kingstown resident who has twice headed the hospital-wide Patient and Family Advisory Council, Welch said, “Melissa is the embodiment of excellence in the practice of patient and family centered care at Women & Infants. She ‘walks the walk’ and ‘talks the talk’ in everything she does. Her leadership has been a key factor in helping patient and family centered care flourish at Women & Infants. Members of the Council have confided that they doubt it would have survived without her care, nurturing and leadership.”


About Women & Infants Hospital 

Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, a Care New England hospital, is one of the nation’s leading specialty hospitals for women and newborns. A major teaching affiliate of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University for obstetrics, gynecology and newborn pediatrics, as well as a number of specialized programs in women’s medicine, Women & Infants is the 9th largest stand-alone obstetrical service in the country and the largest in New England with approximately 8,500 deliveries per year. A Designated Baby-Friendly® USA hospital, U.S.News & World Report 2014-15 Best Children’s Hospital in Neonatology and a 2014 Leapfrog Top Hospital, in 2009 Women & Infants opened what was at the time the country’s largest, single-family room neonatal intensive care unit.

Women & Infants and Brown offer fellowship programs in gynecologic oncology, maternal-fetal medicine, urogynecology and reconstructive pelvic surgery, neonatal-perinatal medicine, pediatric and perinatal pathology, gynecologic pathology and cytopathology, and reproductive endocrinology and infertility. It is home to the nation’s first mother-baby perinatal psychiatric partial hospital, as well as the nation’s only fellowship program in obstetric medicine.

Women & Infants has been designated as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiography; a Center of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecology; a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence by the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and a Neonatal Resource Services Center of Excellence. It is one of the largest and most prestigious research facilities in high risk and normal obstetrics, gynecology and newborn pediatrics in the nation, and is a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Gynecologic Oncology Group and the Pelvic Floor Disorders Network.