It is with great sadness that I received news of the passing of Ms. Risë K. Phillips, a longtime acquaintance whom I admired greatly and who did a tremendous job uplifting the community. As the President and CEO of T.H.E. (To Help Everyone) Health and Wellness Centers, she oversaw the expansion of services to more than 18,000 underserved patients through six centers in South and West Los Angeles.
I recently honored her latest work at a ribbon cutting celebration for T.H.E.’s sixth site on La Brea Avenue. There, she graciously and humbly accepted recognition from me, Senator Holly Mitchell, Assemblymember Sebastian Ridley-Thomas and other government representatives including the Governor and the Mayor of Los Angeles.
Those of us who were there that day, were impressed by the friendly and serene atmosphere of the new clinic. It is indeed a place where patients know they will be treated with dignity and receive the best services possible. Risë was deeply committed to bringing affordable, caring and culturally sensitive health care to under-served and under-resourced communities.
Risë nurtured and sustained support from major foundations—they also saw and believed in her vision to bring quality healthcare to all. She stood out because she was both tenacious and creative, finding funding sources to completely remodel aging buildings and transform them into a modern and pleasing centers. She handled each challenge with grace and a sense of humor and an undaunted determination to give the community something that would endure.
She will truly be missed.