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Cheryl Lopes of Providence Earns CCHP Certification

Cheryl Lopes of Providence, PhD., CCHP, Public Health Education Specialist with the Rhode Island Department of Corrections, has earned professional certification in the field of correctional health care, effective October 1, 2010. Dr. Lopes is a research psychologist by training and has been working with Dr. Jennifer Clarke on a smoking cessation grant for the past year. She has been with the RIDOC for about nine years, doing health education on topics such as Hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS. She is a member of the local affiliate of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (ACAC).

To become a Certified Correctional Health Professional (CCHP) Lopes demonstrated mastery of national standards and the knowledge expected of leaders working in her field. She joins over 2,000 correctional health care professionals nationwide who have earned this distinction.

Dr. Lopes received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Brown University and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins. Her graduate study was in psychology with a public health/behavioral medicine focus. She was an NIH-sponsored postdoctoral fellow in the medical school of the (then) Oregon Health Sciences University and the Institute for Disease Prevention and Health Promotion of the medical school at the University of Southern California.

Dr. Michael Fine, the RIDOC’s Medical Program Director, notes, “We are extremely pleased that Dr. Lopes has qualified as a Certified Correctional Health Professional. We already have a high quality professional health services staff and excellent health educators. Dr. Lopes sets an example for all of us by obtaining this national recognition.”

CCHP is highly regarded as a symbol of accomplishment and self-improvement, and provides immeasurable benefits. It promotes correctional health care professionals’ knowledge, understanding, and application of standards and guidelines essential to the delivery of appropriate health care in the correctional environment; their role in delivering that care the basic legal principles underlying their practice; and their ethical obligations. Some institutions make certification a condition of employment or a prerequisite for pay raises and bonuses, and for all CCHPs, the credential enhances their professional standing in the community.

Established in 1989 by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care, the CCHP certification program was the first to recognize professionalism and excellence among individuals employed in correctional health care. The credential is awarded to professionals who have met the program’s eligibility requirements and who pass a national examination. The program is governed by the CCHP Board of Trustees, which is composed of ten correctional health care experts from a variety of health professions.

For more information about the CCHP program, contact the program manager at (773) 880-1460, send an e-mail to, or visit

NCCHC is a not-for-profit 401c(3) organization working to improve the quality of care in the national jails, prisons, and juvenile detention and confinement facilities. NCCHC offers a wide range of services and programs to help correctional health care systems provide efficient, high quality health care. NCCHC establishes standards for health services in correctional facilities; operates a voluntary accreditation program; provides resource publications; offers technical assistance and quality review programs; and conducts educational training and conferences. NCCHC is supported by the major national organizations representing the health, legal and correctional fields. Each of these organizations has named a representative to the NCCHC Board of Directors.

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