Newport Hospital
Newport Hospital

Newport Hospital today announced that it has received a major gift in support of a project that will transform the inpatient program at its award-winning Vanderbilt Rehabilitation Center. BankNewport has awarded the hospital a $25,000 grant to help expand the center, more than doubling the number of beds and making it the flagship inpatient rehab center for all of Lifespan.

The expanded center, once completed, will also support more than 40 new staff positions, including nurses and nursing assistants, physical therapists, rehabilitation aides, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, case managers, and more.

“This is an exciting and momentous time in our hospital’s rich history – an opportunity to grow our rehabilitation center so that patients across the state can better access the world-class, life-changing care it provides,” said Crista F. Durand, president of Newport Hospital in a statement. “That BankNewport, one of our oldest and most dedicated partners, was among the first to support this effort only underscores their commitment to our community. We’re beyond grateful for their generosity.”

Newport Hospital says in a press release today that it began developing its plan to expand the Vanderbilt Rehabilitation Center two years ago in response to increasing demand and the region’s growing 65 years old and above population. But amid the pandemic, the plan was accelerated when Lifespan’s academic medical center and Newport Hospital’s affiliate partner, Rhode Island Hospital, called upon the hospital to care for all Lifespan patients needing rehab care. The shift allowed Lifespan to dedicate more rooms to treat the surge of COVID-19 patients.

Expanding Vanderbilt’s inpatient program involves extensive renovation of space on both the hospital’s Turner 5 and Turner 6 medical surgical floors. On Turner 6, the project will increase the number of beds from 13 to 18, while Turner 5 will feature two new treatment gyms and 10 additional beds, bringing the total number of inpatient program beds to 28. The project will also add new technologies, such as virtual reality treadmills, ceiling lift systems in gyms and patient rooms, an enhanced nurse call system, and more. The project is expected to be completed in July 2021.

“BankNewport’s commitment to Newport Hospital is a natural extension of our core values to make our communities better places to live and work,” said Jack Murphy, president and CEO of BankNewport in a statement. “The hospital is one of our island’s most important and cherished resources and one that touches the lives of so many of our neighbors. We are proud of our longstanding partnership with Newport Hospital and our ability to support and invest in the health and wellness of our community.”

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at and 401-662-1653.