The Story of PACE-RI

PACE-RI was founded to help local elders live safely at home, stay out of the hospital and nursing home, and reduce strain for their caregivers. We have had steady growth since opening our original center in Providence back in 2005. Since then we have added new centers in Westerly (2013), Woonsocket (2016), and Newport (*Pending CMS approval). This year we also moved to a brand new flagship center in East Providence.

PACE-RI has 140 staff members who speak a total of 10 languages, and we are proud to be one of the fastest growing companies in Rhode Island (Providence Business News, 2020).

PACE Nationally

Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)

Started in 1973 in San Francisco, PACE health plans believe that successful aging means moving away from institution-based, long-term care toward a community-based model that provides affordable, comprehensive, and integrated health care and social services. Now, there are independently owned and operated Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly in 31 states, serving over 50,000 participants. Fundamental to the PACE model is the Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) which is comprised of 11 specialists and ensures each participant gets care and attention tailored to their unique needs.

LARI - LeadingAge RI

LeadingAge Rhode Island is dedicated to helping our members through this difficult time. For resources and national updates on COVID-19, see LeadingAge National's COVID-19 page. For a concise compilation of RI-specific news about


National PACE Association

The National PACE Association (NPA) is pleased to announce the launch of a new NPA Council on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Applications for membership are now available.

Mission, Vision, and Values


To blend and deliver medical and social care for older adults with significant health needs who want to continue living at home.


Everyone ages with the independence they want, support they need, and dignity they deserve.


  • Accountability – We act with integrity and take responsibility for our actions.
  • Collaboration – We work together to resolve challenges and build strong community partnerships to enhance our services.
  • Curiosity – We have a growth mindset and are continually looking to learn and improve.
  • Excellence – We are committed to achieving the highest standards and being the best at what we do.
  • Respect – We treat everyone with dignity and compassion.

Meet our
leadership team…

Joan Kwiatkowski

Chief Executive Officer
Joan has worked as a healthcare administrator since the early 1980s in hospital settings and community mental health clinics, and currently serves as CEO of PACE Organization of Rhode Island. She has been at PACE-RI since its inception in 2005.

Joan has a degree in psychology and philosophy from Boston College, a Master’s of Social Work from Boston University, and a certificate in Advanced Graduate Studies in Nonprofit Administration from Stanford University School of Business. From 2013-2016 Joan served as the Chair of the Board of the National PACE Association, and currently serves as the board’s treasurer.


Tsewang Gyurmey

Chief Medical Officer/Primary Care Physician
Dr. Gyurmey joined PACE-RI in 2012, first serving as a primary care physician and geriatrician, and now as Chief Medical Officer. He graduated from the Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi University and completed a residency in family medicine at the University of Connecticut, St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, CT. Dr. Gyurmey also completed a residency in internal medicine at Lady Hardinge Medical College, Delhi University.

In 2012, Dr. Gyurmey completed a fellowship in geriatrics at the University of Connecticut, and a structural acupuncture course for physicians through Harvard Medical School.


Betsy Canino

Chief of Clinical Services
Betsy has been a nurse for 41 years and a nurse practitioner for 15 years. During her career, she has worked in both acute and post-acute care settings as well as in community health in California, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

Betsy has been a part of PACE-RI since 2007, first as a nurse practitioner, then as the Vice President of Clinical Services, before becoming Chief of Clinical Services in 2016. Betsy holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Northeastern University and a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Rhode Island.


Julie Steffes

Chief Financial Officer
Julie provides oversight for the financial management and federal reporting requirements for PACE Organization of Rhode Island. She has 15+ years of experience in accounting, auditing, and financial reporting for organizations of all sizes.

Julie received a Bachelor’s Degree in business administration from Western Michigan University. She has served as board treasurer for the Center for Dynamic Learning and as treasurer for the Rhode Island Chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.


Tom Boucher

Chief of External Affairs
Tom oversees marketing, enrollment, and development initiatives for PACE-RI, while researching and implementing growth opportunities. As a senior executive, he also contributes to the organization’s business development and participates in setting and achieving the strategic goals of the organization.

Tom has over 20 years of experience running effective public relations and marketing programs, improving operational efficiency and managing constituent engagement in health care, political and government settings. He earned his B.A. in Political Science from Fairfield University, and completed a Certificate in Project Management at Bryant University’s Executive Development Center.


Liz Boucher

Chief of Organizational Performance
Liz oversees human resources, professional development and compliance at PACE-RI. Previously, she worked at CareLink as chief operating officer and in clinical and project management positions, and at Boston College Graduate School of Social Work in project management.

Liz obtained a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University, an M.S.W. at Boston College, and a Certificate in Project Management from Bryant University’s Executive Development Center. Liz is also a licensed, certified social worker and a member of the Society for Human Resources Management.


Maryellen Girard

Chief of Growth
Maryellen has worked in the health and human services industry for nearly 20 years. She began her career in the mental health sector in 2003—working with adolescents in a therapeutic residential facility in Connecticut. In 2006, Maryellen moved to Rhode Island to serve as a case manager at an adult group home facility.

Maryellen joined PACE-RI in 2008 as an Intake Coordinator before moving into the role of Health Center Manager and now serves as Chief of Growth. Maryellen received her Bachelor of Science degree in Therapeutic Recreation from the University of Connecticut in 2003.


Ryan Girard

Chief of Operations
Over the past 20 years, Ryan has helped a vast array of individuals in the human services field. He began his career working with children as a homebased therapist and moved into the mental health field as a case manager and eventual program manager, running several facilities.

Ryan joined PACE Organization of Rhode Island in 2013 as the Day Center Director for the Westerly location and moved to the Providence site in 2018. Ryan now serves as the Chief of Operations and oversees the operations across all PACE-RI sites. Ryan received his bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Rhode Island in 2003.


Board Members


Kim Denny

Pawtucket Credit Union

VP Employee Development and Training


Johnny Luo, MD

Doctors Choice



Sandy Wilkerson, RN

Hope Health

VP Clinical Integration


Meredith Eckel, RN



Chris Woulfe


Nursing Home Administrator

Julie L’Europa, DNP

Salve Regina University

Assistant Professor of Nursing

Fritz Eckel



Rosa Baier, MPH

Brown University School of Public Health

Associate Director (Center for Long-Term Quality & Innovation), Assoc. Professor

Erica Estus, PharmD

URI, Dept of Pharmacy Service

Professor of Clinical Pharmacy

Sam Havens


Healthcare Executive

Ed D’Arrezzo


RI Health Dept.

Jeff Meyer


Chief Technology Officer

Skye Leedahl, PhD

University of RI, Health Policy

Assoc. Professor, Human Development and Family Studies

Marianne Raimondo, PhD

Rhode Island College, Healthcare Admin

Assoc. Professor, Management and Marketing Development

Denise de Hertogh


Manager of Quality and Clinical Performance Improvement

Candidus Nwakasi, PhD

Providence College, Health Policy and Management

Assistant Professor

Danielle Kopf, CIA, CFSA, CRMA

Beacon Mutual Insurance

Internal Audit Manager

Jessica Mowry, MSW

Rhode Island Housing

Assistant Director, Leased Housing and Rental Services Division

Participant Advisory Committee

PACE-RI’s Participant Advisory Committee (PAC) gives participants a place to talk to other PACE-RI participants and to our staff. The PAC gives you the chance to tell us what you think about our health plan, and how we can make things better for you and other participants. To join our PAC, contact your Day Center Director or social worker to learn more.