Division of Biology and Medicine

Communications from the Dean

2022

September 2, 2022

Dear Members of the Medical School Community,

I am writing to inform you that mask wearing will be optional regardless of vaccination status at The Warren Alpert Medical School building effective September 6, 2022. We have made this decision based on the fact that the SARS-CoV-2 transmission level in Providence County is currently low.

While masking is optional, those with approved exemptions from vaccination can help limit their risk of transmission by continuing to adhere to masking guidance indoors, on shuttles, etc.  Noted exceptions to the optional masking policy — where wearing masks continues to be required — include:

●      health care facilities, including the University Health and Wellness Center;
●      classes where the instructor requires students to wear masks; and
●      meetings where the host requires attendees to wear masks (for example, a staff member meeting with a student in their office may require the student to wear a mask during the meeting).

Please carry an approved mask (such as a well-fitting KN95, KF94, N95 or disposable/surgical mask) at all times in case a situation arises where a mask is required (such as a host’s preference at a meeting or other situation listed above). We also encourage all students, staff, and faculty to wear a mask whenever they choose to do so and for any reason (including personal and community protection against seasonal flu and colds). This personal choice should be respected. As with vaccination status, no one should ask another individual about their personal choice to wear a mask.

The optional masking policy is subject to change, particularly in the event of increased COVID-19 incidence in the community. I thank you for your continued cooperation.

Sincerely,

Mukesh K. Jain, MD
Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences

August 1, 2022

Dear MD Class of 2026,

Welcome to The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University! Congratulations on joining what I truly believe is the best profession in the world.

I am also new here, as I just began my tenure as dean in March. You will be the first class that I see through all aspects of medical school—from these first days of Orientation and your White Coat Ceremony in October, through the rigors of your education, all the way to Match Day and Commencement in four short years. I am excited to be on this journey with you.

You will find, as I have, that the Brown community is full of friendly, helpful people invested in your success. Avail yourself of the support offered. The entire administration of the Medical School is here to guide you on your path to becoming a Brown-trained physician.

Once again, welcome to our community!

With best wishes,

Mukesh K. Jain, MD
Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences

July 22, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

I am thrilled to share with our community that Kimberly A. Galligan, MBA, has been promoted to Vice President for Clinical Affairs and Strategy and Chief Operations Officer. This well-deserved promotion recognizes Kim’s record of success in financial management, strategy, and organizational leadership for the Division of Biology and Medicine.

In this role, Kim will serve as the chief operating and financial officer of the Division. In addition to overseeing administrative and fiscal operations, she will serve as a strategic partner and advisor to me as well as to senior university and hospital leadership. Kim will be a principal contact for our affiliated hospitals and health care partners and will be responsible for extensive health affairs leadership and strategy. This includes our efforts toward an integrated research structure that aligns the research portfolios of Brown and the health care systems. She will represent the Division in key negotiations with our affiliates, and will serve as an advisor to Brown Physicians, Inc., where she holds a seat on its Board of Directors.

Kim will continue her considerable duties overseeing the budgetary and financial management of the Division. With her team of knowledgeable administrative leaders, she manages the core services that support our clinical, research, educational, and community engagement missions. She will continue to foster the culture of customer service and achievement in the Division, which are of critical importance to our goals for growth in the coming years.

Kim came to Brown in June 2016 from Massachusetts General Hospital, where she was executive director of the Department of Neurology. Her most notable accomplishments at Brown include taking an extensive role in establishing Brown Physicians, Inc., creating a federated faculty practice group that united six practice foundations with Brown for the first time in its history. She has overhauled our approach to research administration, establishing a shared services core in the Office of BioMed Research Administration. She has initiated broad-scale quality improvement initiatives across the Division, including an ongoing effort to enhance the Center for Animal Resources and Education. All of these efforts have been undertaken with the goal of improving the operational infrastructure of the Division in ways that benefit faculty and staff and support research productivity.

Since before I officially arrived at Brown, Kim has been a trusted advisor and source of insight into the Division’s operations. This promotion recognizes the scope and impact of her leadership role at Brown, and I look forward to continuing to work with her in this new capacity.

Sincerely,

Mukesh K. Jain, MD
Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences

July 1, 2022

 

Dear Colleagues,

I’m writing to recognize and thank Jeffrey Borkan, MD, PhD, who is stepping down as chair of the Department of Family Medicine after 21 years. Earlier this month, we announced that Caroline Richardson, MD, will arrive on August 1.

During his tenure, Dr. Borkan has transformed the department from a small, Pawtucket-focused entity based at Memorial Hospital to a national comprehensive academic, clinical, and research enterprise. Today, the department includes two adult medicine services (Kent and The Miriam hospitals), two maternal and child health services (Kent and Women & Infants hospitals), two fellowship programs, 240 faculty, and multiple clinical and training sites for students, residents, and fellows in every corner of Rhode Island.

The department also expanded from one to two residency training sites, continuing with the Care New England site in Pawtucket and partnering with Thundermist Health Center of West Warwick. In the past two decades, the department has graduated nearly 300 residents and fellows and its graduates comprise nearly two-thirds of the family physicians in Rhode Island. Dr. Borkan served as residency director on two occasions when needed and has been involved with education and training at every level for a generation.

Dr. Borkan has made significant contributions to The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. He spearheaded the formation of the Doctoring program, then helped create the Scholarly Concentration Program, which he led for five years. He co-founded and serves as assistant dean for the Primary Care-Population Medicine program, a dual-degree program that leads to a doctorate in medicine and master’s of science. He has been the chair of the MD Curriculum Committee for more than a decade and previously served as co-chair of the Dean’s Advisory Council on Faculty Diversity.

As a scholar, Dr. Borkan has published more than 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals, edited or co-edited three books, and written innumerable chapters and presentations. He has been the PI, co-PI, or site director on multiple grants on topics ranging from back pain to patient-centered medical homes to curriculum reform and primary care training. In 2020 the department received a $2.4 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to develop telemedicine to address the opioid crisis using medication assisted treatment and expand care for underserved communities. He has been an invited lecturer and visiting professor at multiple medical schools in the US and in over 20 countries and was a co-founder of the International Forum for Primary Care Research on Low Back Pain.

Dr. Borkan has been the chair of the Primary Care Physician Advisory Committee to the Rhode Island Department of Health, a board member of the Care Transformation Collaborative of RI, and active in multiple other boards and organizations. On the national level, Dr. Borkan has had several leadership roles ranging from president and later board chair of the Association of Departments of Family Medicine to director of the Council of Academic Family Medicine. During the past six years, he has taken a leading role in the American Medical Association’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative in the Health System Science Committee and Working Groups.

I am happy to say that Dr. Borkan will continue in his educational, clinical, and research roles at the Medical School. Please join me in thanking him for his years of dedication and service as chair of the Department of Family Medicine.

Sincerely,

Mukesh K. Jain, MD
Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences

June 28, 2022

 

Dear Faculty, Postdocs, and Staff,

This morning, Brown made the exciting announcement that it will begin a planning process for an integrated life sciences building in the Jewelry District.  

Additional space for research is absolutely critical, and potential solutions have been under consideration for several years. The decision to move forward with architect selection and an in-depth programming assessment reflects the University’s commitment to the growth of our Division and the work we do every day. This includes our capacity to engage in world-class research, our ability to collaborate with other parts of the University, and our potential to forge partnerships with biotech and pharma companies that will allow us to move discoveries into clinical applications more quickly.

A specific target timeline for the major new facility will emerge during the overall planning process, but the University estimates construction completion in the range of four to five years. I want to thank all of you who have helped get us to this important planning milestone.

President Paxson and Provost Locke also presented the draft of the “Operational Plan for Growing the Research Enterprise” in this morning’s Today@Brown. This plan proposes a path for doubling the University’s research activity over the next five to seven years, and while it encompasses all of campus, it has exciting implications for the Division of Biology and Medicine.

The draft plan proposes building on the existing talent, infrastructure, and vision in the Division, strategically adding new programs, faculty recruits, and graduate students. We have enormous potential to invest in both existing areas of strength, such as aging and associated diseases — cancer and brain disorders— as well as newer ones, such as RNA biology. The University is planning for unprecedented new investments in people, space, and support for our work, and I encourage you to begin formulating your own ideas and input to share with Provost Locke during a community engagement process in early fall.

The University has also engaged Huron Consulting Group to evaluate research administration and support this summer. Faculty and staff can email provost@brown.edu with questions or to volunteer input for the assessment.

Thank you for all that you do for the Division and for Brown. I look forward to working with you on these initiatives in the months and years ahead.

Sincerely,

Mukesh K. Jain, MD
Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences

June 24, 2022

Letter to all faculty, medical students, and staff,

Earlier today you should have received the email below from University Human Resources regarding access to reproductive health care in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. This email outlines the numerous resources and benefits available to employees for a range of medical services and interventions, including reproductive health. Similar letters went to faculty who are employees of the University and all students, including medical and graduate students.

I also wish to underscore The Warren Alpert Medical School’s commitment to training physicians to provide the full complement of reproductive health care, including abortion care, as detailed below. This has been and will continue to be part of the residency curriculum and a fundamental part of training the next generation of clinicians, doctors and other health care providers to meet the medical needs of patients who are or become pregnant.

Sincerely,
Mukesh K. Jain, MD
Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences

Dear Brown Employees,

Today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning the federal protections for abortions established by the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision has raised immediate questions for individuals and families across the country about access to reproductive health care. Brown, as a sponsor of health plans and resources based in Rhode Island, continues to support a full range of reproductive health services for all members of our community.

With the recent high court decision, individual states now will determine whether — and under what conditions and circumstances — an abortion is legal for people who become pregnant in their jurisdictions. In Rhode Island, the passage of the Reproductive Privacy Act in 2019 grants someone who is pregnant the right to choose an abortion up to the point of fetal viability, or to “preserve the health or life” of the pregnant individual.

I write today to share that Brown continues to offer uninterrupted reproductive health benefits to employees on University-sponsored health plans. This letter provides a reminder of the benefits and services currently available to staff and faculty for a range of reproductive medical services and interventions. The University is committed to ensuring that all members of the Brown community have access to resources and support to make the decisions that are right for them.

Health Plan Covered Reproductive Health Services

Brown offers employees health insurance plans from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island and United Health Care. The health plans offer coverage for the following:

• Short, long-acting and emergency contraceptive services;
• Prenatal and maternity care for the employee and dependent(s);
• Elective and non-elective pregnancy termination (abortions), including surgical, non-surgical or drug-induced; and
• Infertility services provided under the care of a physician, among other reproductive health services.

All enrolled benefits-eligible employees can access services through Brown’s health plans, though the network of providers that are available in each state will differ for out-of-state health services. In all circumstances, Brown provides resources to help Brown employees understand how to find a health care provider, while not recommending specific providers or services. This is the case for all health care services covered by Brown plans.

If any benefits-eligible employee or dependent lives in a state with restrictions on various services, they should be in touch with their health plan provider to learn options.

Family Benefits

Brown offers a range of benefits and services for employees who carry pregnancies to term and/or choose to pursue a family.

Parental Leave Benefits: For staff, Brown provides eligible employees up to six weeks of paid time off to care for a newly born infant or adopted child. Staff who currently work at least 975 hours per year. and who have worked at least 975 hours per year for the previous one continuous year. are eligible to take up to six weeks of parental leave at full pay. Parental leave for faculty is administered through an application process by the Dean of the Faculty. The University provides one semester of classroom teaching relief for faculty members who are primary caregivers for newborn children or newly adopted children, which is not considered to be a leave. Postdoc research associates are eligible for parental leave for maternity, and leave may vary depending on whether their source of funding allows for the use of parental leave pay. For all eligible employees, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act provides for 12 weeks of leave for birth and the first-year care of a newborn. The Rhode Island Parental and Family Leave Act provides eligible employees with 13 weeks of leave over two years.

Child Care: Brown offers a child care subsidy to eligible employees, who are awarded subsidies for eligible child care expenses for dependents between the ages of 0 to 6.  Awards will vary from family to family and year to year depending on financial needs and other factors. The Faculty/Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) administered by New Directions offers resources on local childcare options, among its range of services, and Brown University maintains a relationship with two Providence child care centers. A dependent care flexible spending account enables eligible employees to set aside a portion of each paycheck, tax free, to pay for dependent care expenses.

Medical Insurance Dependent Coverage: All of Brown’s health insurance plans include enrollment for dependents for medical and health care coverage.

Adoption Assistance: The FSAP administered by New Directions offers resources on adoption assistance among its range of services.

Mental and Emotional Counseling

FSAP offers six free and confidential face-to-face or telephonic counseling sessions with a licensed counselor to address grief and loss, anxiety, depression, and family stress related to daily life and situational issues, which may include issues surrounding reproductive health. 

All providers are licensed clinicians, and employees can specify reproductive health as a requested specialty. Work-life consultants at Brown’s FSAP administrator, New Directions, will perform research/vetting for the requesting employee and share a list of reputable resources. The New Directions portal also offers articles and resources online regarding reproductive health, among its resources on a multitude of life issues.

For all mental health, counseling and medical services, Brown is committed to directing our community to providers that will explore the full range of health options available within the law.

A Note on Medical Education

While health support and reproductive services at Brown are separate from medical education, we are aware that conversations on college and university campuses across the country have included concerns about the commitment of institutions to continue training the next generation of clinicians, doctors and other health care providers to meet the medical needs of patients who are or become pregnant.

On behalf of our colleagues at the medical school, I am pleased to share that the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University remains committed to training its providers to provide the full complement of reproductive health care. All obstetrics and gynecology residents learn how to counsel patients regarding pregnancy, abortions and options for care and how to care for all related reproductive complications, though residents can opt out of performing certain procedures if they choose. This has been and will continue to be part of the residency curriculum at Brown.

We in University Human Resources know that the landscape for reproductive health services and support is changing across the country (new laws are expected to be passed and/or take effect in many states), and we will work closely with our University community and health plan providers to understand any future implications for services and care for Brown employees.

We remain committed to providing employees with as many resources as possible to make decisions about their health.

Sincerely,

Marie Williams
Vice President for Human Resources

LINKS TO RESOURCES AND SERVICES:

Health Plans
https://www.brown.edu/about/administration/human-resources/benefits/health-and-wellbeing/health-plans

University Human Resources Parental Leave FAQs
https://www.brown.edu/about/administration/human-resources/sites/human-resources/files/FREQUENTLY%20ASKED%20QUESTIONs%20PPL%20Updated%202021.pdf

Sabbatical & Leave for Faculty (includes Medical Leave):
https://dof.brown.edu/sabbatical-leave

New Parents Resources
https://www.brown.edu/about/administration/human-resources/worklifewellness-brown/new-parents

Family Resources (child care, dependent care, etc.)
https://www.brown.edu/about/administration/human-resources/benefits/family-resources

Faculty/Staff Assistance Program
https://www.brown.edu/about/administration/human-resources/benefits/health-and-wellbeing/facultystaff-assistance-program

Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life
https://www.brown.edu/campus-life/spiritual-life/chaplains/

June 24, 2022

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that B. Star Hampton, MD, FACOG, has been appointed senior associate dean for medical education at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She will begin her appointment on August 15.

Dr. Hampton is currently the vice chair of education in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology and medical science at Brown. She is an attending physician at Women & Infants Hospital in the Division of Urogynecology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery and serves as chief education officer for the Care New England Health System. In that role, Dr. Hampton has underscored the importance of CNE’s outstanding educational programs to its academic mission and has worked across CNE’s operating units to help develop best practices and a streamlined approach to education in the health care system. Prior to taking that role, Dr. Hampton served the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and CNE as interim chair and chief from 2019 to 2021. Care New England will soon commence a search for her replacement as CNE chief education officer.

Dr. Hampton earned a bachelor’s degree from Williams College and a medical degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She completed the residency program in obstetrics and gynecology, where she was chief resident, and a fellowship in urogynecology and reconstructive pelvic surgery at New York University School of Medicine.

In 2006, Dr. Hampton came to Brown and Women & Infants Hospital, where she has been dedicated to teaching medical students, residents, and fellows. Dr. Hampton served as clerkship director for Obstetrics and Gynecology for nine years early in her career at the Medical School. She has received national awards for teaching including the Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics Excellence in Teaching Award, the Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology Excellence in Teaching Award, and the William N. P. Herbert Promising Educator Award, as well as numerous Dean’s Excellence in Teaching Awards from The Warren Alpert Medical School and Top Full-Time Faculty Teacher of the Year Awards from Women & Infants Hospital. As past chair of the Undergraduate Medical Education Committee for the Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Dr. Hampton helped shape national medical student learning objectives and curricula in obstetrics and gynecology.

In addition to medical education scholarship, Dr. Hampton’s research focuses on clinical urogynecology and the treatment of pelvic floor disorders. Since 2006, she has been the director of the International Health Outreach Curriculum for the fellowship in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery at Women & Infants. Dr. Hampton leads an annual surgical mission trip to Kigali, Rwanda, to provide obstetric fistula repair surgeries and education. She is a national board examiner, has held multiple national leadership roles in her subspecialty, and will be president of the Society of Gynecologic Surgeons in 2024.  

As senior associate dean for medical education, Dr. Hampton will oversee all programs and services related to undergraduate medical education at The Warren Alpert Medical School. This includes a complex education enterprise that spans student life, student inclusion and diversity, curriculum, educational improvement, and admissions. She will be a member of my leadership council and an integral part of the overall administration of the Medical School.

I wish to thank the members of the search committee who participated in this national search. With her years of experience as a teacher and mentor dedicated to the professional development of trainees, her extensive scholarship in medical education, and her commitment to continuous improvement, Dr. Hampton is uniquely suited to serve as the next senior associate dean for medical education. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Hampton on her new role.

Sincerely,

Mukesh K. Jain, MD
Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences
Frank L. Day Professor of Biology

March 1, 2022

Dear Members of the Brown Community,

I have the distinct privilege of joining the Brown community as dean of medicine and biological sciences, and of calling Providence and Rhode Island home. Since my appointment was announced a few months ago, I’ve received an outpouring of hospitality and warm wishes, and I very much look forward to meeting faculty, staff, students, alumni, clinicians, physicians, neighbors and community partners in the coming weeks and months.

While my term starts, officially, today, I’ve spent the last few weeks beginning what will be an extensive period of listening and learning, both to promote continued progress on the University’s current strategic plan, Building on Distinction, and to envision new areas of growth, opportunity and impact. And while many colleagues have been extremely helpful during this period of transition, I’m especially grateful for the tremendous support that I’ve received from Dean Jack A. Elias. Dean Elias’ substantial accomplishments during his period of leadership have positioned the Division of Biology and Medicine and The Warren Alpert Medical School for continued growth and success, and I’m fortunate to have the benefit of his knowledge and perspectives at this juncture.

I’ve been asked many times what attracted me to this new role. Certainly, the strength, caliber and trajectory of research in the Division were a factor, as were the exceptional undergraduate, graduate and medical students for which Brown is renowned. It was also the size and scale of the community that I found so appealing. But I was especially drawn to serve as dean because of the visionary leadership of President Christina Paxson and Provost Richard Locke. It became clear to me in this process that they are squarely focused on taking actions and making investments to spur scientific discovery through basic and translational research, continue excellence in biomedical education, and contribute to world-class clinical care locally, regionally and beyond.

As a physician-scientist, I believe firmly in the power and potential of institutions like Brown to make substantial contributions to human health. Brown in particular has demonstrated a deep commitment to research in pressing areas of unmet need; cultivating an engaged community that values diversity, equity and inclusion as fundamental to its mission; offering rigorous and innovative education to develop the next generation of physicians and scientists; and being an active partner in strengthening health care in Rhode Island.

I’m inspired and motivated to advance these values, collaborating with colleagues in areas such as the School of Public Health, School of Engineering, and with hospital partners to help shape a world-class integrated biomedical ecosystem. There is so much we can accomplish given our distinct resources, values and ambition, and I am so pleased to be part of this community, engaging in this important work.

And as a new member of this community, I want to take this moment to echo the sentiments shared by President Paxson, Provost Locke, and Vice President Estes in their email Sunday night. The images and accounts from Ukraine—and from other areas of the world enmeshed in violence and war—are deeply, deeply disturbing. And while troubling on several dimensions for many of us, I recognize that members of our community may have family and friends who are struggling right now. We stand together as a University in times of crisis, and our thoughts are with the frontline health care providers who are so critical in such times as these.

Sincerely,

Mukesh K. Jain, MD
Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences