(Newport News, VA) – July 13, 2022 – Riverside Health System is pleased to welcome Tina R. Thomas, MSHP, BS, CDP, CADDCT as the executive director of memory care and the Center for Excellence in Aging and Lifelong Health (CEALH). Beginning July 5, 2022, Thomas will serve in the inaugural role and be a connection across the ongoing extensions of Riverside’s memory care and neurology services; each brought by the establishment of the Martha W. Goodson Memory Care Center, support programs provided through CEALH and other recent gifts to the Riverside Foundation.
Thomas brings over 25 years of experience in the health and human services industry, having held positions as the Alzheimer Association’s senior associate director of community engagement and before joining the Alzheimer’s Association, worked as a home health and hospice administrator and a dementia education specialist. She also holds degrees in gerontology, nursing home administration, Alzheimer’s and dementia care and more. Leaning on her experience and advanced degrees, Thomas will enhance the empathetic perspective needed to ensure patients and loved ones can navigate the difficulties of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological and memory conditions with the support and understanding needed.
“We’re please to welcome Tina to the team. Her vast knowledge coupled with the devotion to bridging the informational and emotional support needed during one’s health care journey will be a valuable asset as we continue to expand our memory care and neurology services,” said Ed Heckler, president of lifelong health at Riverside. “We recognize that caring for people during this journey goes beyond the patient. With the addition of Tina and other services, we are here for you every step of the way.”
As executive director of memory care and CEALH, Thomas will ensure that the emotional, financial and overall well-being of those impacted by dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological and memory conditions never go unnoticed. Taking into consideration the needs of the patient as well as those of the caretaker, Thomas will serve as another source of strength. The position is the first of its kind at Riverside and was created as part of the establishment of the Martha W. Goodson Memory Care Center. The center was introduced in March 2022 and made possible by a seven figure gift from Newport News native, G. Royden Goodson III. The addition of the executive director of memory care and CEALH is another step in Riverside Health System expanding its memory care services and resources to further support caregivers in navigating the difficulties that can follow with this health journey.
“When someone receives a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s, their spouses, children, families and friends are also greatly impacted by this life-altering news. That is why we are driven to make sure that even before a diagnosis occurs, our community knows they have Riverside and a vast array of support services to lean on and provide hope,” said Kristen Witt, chief philanthropy officer and associate vice president at Riverside. “Through philanthropic investments from our community, we’ve been able to add strength to strength by being able to offer expanded services not covered by insurance. The addition of Tina to our team will allow Riverside and our skilled providers and teams to elevate and accelerate the resources we can provide patients and their caregivers, providing the level of support they deserve in their time of need.” Thomas noted, “ I’m honored to partner with amazing people across our health system and our community to put our mission statement– To care for others as we would care for those we love — to enhance their well-being and improve their health—into tangible action.”
Through the continued thread of empathy and compassion woven throughout the Riverside community, high-quality resources for patients and caretakers are readily available to the community. The Center for Excellence in Aging and Lifelong Health (CEALH) has supported several key programs for patients and families suffering from dementia, offering care that extends beyond the patient but to caregivers, including counseling and an outlet to reduce caregiver fatigue. Additional resources complementing CEALH’s efforts and made possible by the generosity of the community include:
- Memory Care Academywhere the goal is to build dementia awareness, knowledge, and skills for long-term care staff members.
- The George T. Spain Memory Care Navigator Program, funded by a generous donation by Steve Spain in honor and memory of his father, provides dedicated navigators to guide patients and families every step of the way.
- The Purple Flower Program trains staff in Riverside acute care facilities to better support people living with dementia who come under their care.
Charitable gifts through the Riverside Foundation allow Riverside to accelerate and elevate our memory care services and support patients and their families in the communities we serve. Gifts can be made online or by contacting the Riverside Foundation at 757-234-8740.