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Executive Committee

Patricia Flanagan, M.D.
Patricia Flanagan, MD, is an expert in teenage parenting and adolescent medicine. She is the director of the Teens with Tots Clinic at Hasbro Children's Hospital, the pediatric division of Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island. The intervention clinic provides social and medical services to nearly 300 mothers under age 16 and their babies, following their lives for up to five years. As director, Flanagan oversees primary care for adolescent parents and their children and addresses such issues as child care, parenting and contraception.

She also studies the dynamics of adolescent motherhood, focusing on adolescent development and transitions to becoming a young mother. She has published numerous articles about high-risk parenting, contraception use, and attachment and communication behaviors among children of young mothers.

Susan Jacobsen, MA, LMHC, CCM 
Susan Jacobsen is the Director of Newport Programs at Visiting Nurse Services of Newport and Bristol Counties where she is responsible for program and funds development, adolescent services, and care management. Jacobsen is the Co-Chair of Rhode Island Healthy Mother’s Healthy Babies Coalition; Chair-elect for the Newport Partnership for Families; serves on the Board of Directors of Bannister House in Providence and served as the Vice President for the YWCA of Greater Rhode Island.

Deborah L. Perry, M.A.
Deborah Perry is the Executive Director of the YWCA Northern Rhode Island. Perry oversees programs and services for an 1,800 member association including those for at risk teens, teenage parents, low income senior women requiring medical services, senior women’s clubs, children’s services and more. For 26 years, YWCA Northern Rhode Island has run the Parenting in Progress Program, a comprehensive, highly individualized, multidisciplinary, alternative education program for pregnant and parenting teens and their children.


Shanna Wells, M.Ed.
Shanna Wells is the Program Manager of The Rhode Island Alliance. Wells has spent the last fifteen years as a social justice advocate working exclusively on women's issues. Prior to her arrival at The Rhode Island Alliance, Wells was the Director of the Rhode Island Commission on Women, an office of state government whose mission is to work for equality for women and girls.