FROM THE COLLECTIONS
A Mother’s Pride
Remembering a beloved faculty member.
By Amy R. Umstadter
Flora A. Coletta worked for the Warwick Post Office for 63 years before her retirement in 2009, and she has lived in Warwick all her life. It was there that she raised her daughter, Elise M. Coletta, who brought her much joy. Mrs. Coletta describes Elise as an intelligent and motivated child, excelling as a student at Bay View Academy, then Providence College, and eventually Pritzker School of Medicine.
When asked if her daughter always wanted to be a doctor, Mrs. Coletta says that was not the case. “I think it was when she received the Biology Award her freshman year at Providence College,” she says. “That, along with some strong words of encouragement from a faculty adviser put her on that path.”
As it turned out, medicine was a perfect fit. Dr. Coletta returned to her home state for her residency in family medicine at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island , in Pawtucket. She went on to become a clinical associate professor in Brown’s Department of Family Medicine and chief of gerontology at Memorial Hospital. Dr. Coletta worked there for nearly 20 years before she passed away, in 2003. To honor her memory, Mrs. Coletta, along with a number of family, friends, and colleagues, started the Elise M. Coletta, MD, Educational Leadership Endowment Fund, an ever-growing source of support for the Department’s academic mission.
Now, with a recent gift from Mrs. Coletta to the new Medical School building, an examination room in the Clinical Skills Simulation Center will bear Dr. Coletta’s name, and with it, a new chapter of her daughter’s
legacy begins. The Clinical Skills Simulation Center replicates the environment in which he doctor-patient relationship takes place. Taking an accurate history, giving a physical exam, coming up with a diagnosis,
explaining tests and treatment options to the patient—these components of doctoring will be taught in this
space. Students will be able to view recordings of their interactions with standardized patients and receive vital feedback from instructors on how to communicate more effectively. According to Mrs. Coletta, her daughter was known for her dedication to teaching, and advancing medical education remained a priority throughout her career. She also had a passion for patient care, which makes the new clinical exam rooms, specifically designed to help make students better communicators, another perfect fit.
Over the past several years, Mrs. Coletta has kept in touch with her daughter’s colleagues in the Department of Family Medicine, and the pride she feels for Elise’s impact is clear: “I received many letters from her patients after she passed,” Flora says, “and it was easy to see how meaningful Elise’s care was to them. Also, her colleagues used to send their parents to her, so you know she was something special.”
Mrs. Coletta hopes that this gift will be another lasting way for her daughter to be remembered for her many talents as a physician and teacher.
Alpert Medical School