Phanida Phivilay-Khamsomphou came to the United States of America at the age of three with her family in the 80's. They were resettled in New Port, Rhodes Island. Phanida is the only child in her family and she understands the struggles and barriers facing Southeast Asian communities in their transition to life in America, because she went through the same things. She told VOA during a recent interview, "Because of my past struggles and dealing with my own transition to life in America, I truly believe that this is the reason why I have an on-going passion and dedication to the Southeast Asian community living in the state of Rhode Island. I have contributed my skills and talents for the benefit of these citizens. I am always eager to bring my passion, dedication, and commitment to the Laotian community, and believe that my knowledge and experience that I have cultivated has made me a good role model for the younger generation and to those that are coming to America to seek new life."<!-- IMAGE -->
"I strongly believe that my past has made me who I am today. It has made me stronger and more resilient. Because of my past, I truly believe this is the reason why I work in the field of public health. I started my career in the health care field thirteen years ago working at a small community-based health center in Providence that primarily serves the low-income and uninsured," she added.
Phanida had been working for 7 1/2 years as a Reproductive Health Counselor and an outreach worker with the Women & Infants' Hospital of Rhode Island. She had conducted statewide outreach workshops, provided support and education to clients, and also served as a liaison and an advocate to the clients. Currently, Phanida is working with the Rhode Island Department of Health as a Quality Assurance & Training Specialist for the Title X Family Planning Program.<!-- IMAGE -->
Phanida has been helping the Laotian-American community in Providence, Rhode Island, since 1999, bringing help to the community, giving free screenings and check-ups during many cultural events, especially during the Lao New Year. "Even back then when I started out in my career, I knew I wanted to make an impact in my community as well as the Southeast Asian community. I reached out to the Laotian community. In 1999, I conducted the first health fair and screening event at the Lao Temple to provide the Southeast Asian community free health education, and screenings. Some of the free screenings include cholesterol checks, blood pressure, blood sugar, and body mass index checks. I am proud to say that these screening events still continue till this day. I have also reached out to other Southeast Asian communities and started providing screenings at their temples and churches. But although I have achieved a lot, there is still more work to be done," she concluded.
Recently, Phanida was elected President of the SEDC. She is very excited with her new role, proud and honored to become the very first female president of the most well known Southeast Asian social services agency in Rhode Island, and the only social services provider that serves Southeast Asian and other ethnic groups. Phanida currently resides in Providence with her husband and two children.
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