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Richardson was born in Gardner, Massachusetts, the daughter of Evelyn Mary (née Kaplan) and John Francis Flavin. She was a magna cum laude graduate in 1971 of Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts.
She formed the New Mexico Immunizations Coalition in April 2003. The coalition of doctors and state officials created a registry that all medical providers can check to see which immunizations that children need, as well as a color-coded schedule with baby pictures indicating the appropriate ages for vaccines to help parents track their children's care. Their goal is to immunize 90 percent of New Mexico's children by 2010.
She is also the New Mexico chairperson of Read Across America. Also active in efforts to combat domestic violence, she helped to open a shelter for abused spouses in a corner of the state where such services had been nonexistent. In addition, she runs an annual bowling fundraiser for Big Brothers and Big Sisters.
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