tim_flaniganDr. Timothy Flanigan, Founder

Dr. Flanigan is a member of the Division of Infectious Diseases at The Miriam Hospital, Rhode Island Hospital and Professor of Medicine at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. He developed the HIV Core Program at the State Prison to provide care for HIV infected individuals and link them to community based resources upon release. He is also associate director of The Miriam/Brown Fogarty Program which trains and mentors overseas investigators in HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Flanigan is a permanent deacon in the Diocese of Providence, and serves at both St. Theresa’s and St. Christopher’s Churches in Tiverton, Rhode Island. Dr. Flanigan was the recipient of a community health leadership award from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for the development of outstanding primary care for underserved HIV infected individuals. In 2005, he received an honorary doctorate from Salve Regina University for his support of educational opportunities for children of incarcerated parents.

Dr. Flanigan went to Liberia for two months in the fall of 2014, where he was instrumental in helping to get the Catholic health clinics, health centers, and hospital up and running again in Monrovia. His expertise in infectious diseases and his many trainings, assessments, mentoring, and guidance were essential in the fight against the spread of Ebola.

Star Kids Scholarship Program Board of Directors
New Bedford

 Timothy Flanigan, M.D. – Founder    Laura McPhie Oliveira, Ed. D. – President   Julie Lohr – Vice President   Cheryl Fuller Sparks – Secretary   




  • Merry Conway
  • Timothy Flanigan, MD
  • Maureen Harrington
  • Amy Kapogiannis
  • Julie Lohr
  • Patricia Mello
  • MaryJane MacLean
  • Laura McPhie Oliveira, Ed. D
  • Cheryl Fuller Sparks
  • Susan Thacker
  • Kathy Wattles



Ellen Lough – Executive Director New Bedford

Ellen Lough succeeded Judy Zwirblis as the Executive Director of the New Bedford Star Kids Scholarship Program in 2014 and is responsible for the administrative and educational functions of the New Bedford Chapter’s program. Ellen Lough’s family originated from New Bedford, Massachusetts and eventually moved to Rhode Island. She grew up in Rhode Island and graduated from The Wheeler School in Providence, RI. She received her B.A. in English with Minors in Psychology and Sociology from Skidmore College, as well as her Master’s degree from Simmons College. After teaching math and English for three years in inner city Providence, she served for twenty years as the Director of Admission and Financial Aid at Lincoln School in Providence, RI.  During her tenure at Lincoln School, she was instrumental in developing and implementing financial aid and scholarship programs and policies that enabled students, regardless of socioeconomic level, to have access to private school education. While at Lincoln School, she also worked with students and administrators from RISE (Rhode Islanders Sponsoring Education), a program with the identical mission to Star Kids, also founded by Star Kids Scholarship Founder, Dr. Timothy Flanigan. Ellen volunteered for the Newport/Fall River Chapter of the Star Kids Scholarship Program prior to becoming the Executive Director of the New Bedford Chapter of the Star Kids Scholarship Program in May 2014.




Debra DaSilva – Administrative Assistant New Bedford

Debra DaSilva has been with the New Bedford Star Kids Scholarship Program since January 2012. Prior to joining Star Kids she was employed with Sid Wainer & Sons Specialty Produce/Specialty Foods for 22 years. Debra grew up in Dartmouth, MA. She and her husband lead the Couple’s Ministry at First Church of the Nazarene, New Bedford, MA and hold a bi-weekly couples Bible study in their home. She also volunteers for Smith Mills Camp Meeting Association.