Division of Biology and Medicine

Communications from the Dean

2024

May 15, 2024

Dear Colleagues,

We write to announce that Professor David A. Borton, currently associate director of the Institute for Biology, Engineering and Medicine (I-BEAM,) will serve as interim director of I-BEAM, effective August 1, 2024. He will succeed Professor Vicki Colvin, who will conclude her term on July 31, 2024, to become Edward K. Barton Dean of Engineering at Louisiana State University. We’re grateful to David for taking on this role and ensuring continued excellence and uninterrupted progress during this period of transition.

I-BEAM was established in 2023 with the mission of bringing together faculty, staff, and students to harness the powerful insights gained from the integration of biology, engineering, and medicine to help people live longer and healthier lives. Reporting directly to the dean of engineering and the dean of medicine and biological sciences, the director is charged with building strategic initiatives and partnerships that propel the institute forward, fostering a culture of innovation, and translating research into tangible solutions that address pressing health care challenges. The director also oversees the biomedical engineering graduate program, manages the institute’s operating budget, and collaborates on advancement activities. 
 
Professor Borton is well prepared to assume this leadership role. With a long history of collaborative biomedical engineering research, he holds appointments in the School of Engineering and Division of Biology and Medicine as associate professor of engineering, associate professor of neurosurgery, and associate professor of brain science. His work is emblematic of I-BEAM’s focus to integrate engineering into both fundamental biomedical research and clinical medicine. He recently led a multi-institutional and multidisciplinary team of engineers, clinicians, scientists, and corporate partners in a large DARPA-funded program to bridge the gap in spinal cord injury, culminating in a first-in-human clinical trial at Rhode Island Hospital. Before that, he led the engineering team in the development of an adaptive neuromodulation treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder and developed neurotechnologies licensed to commercial partners actively used in providing movement and communication interfaces to people living with paraplegia.

Professor Borton also brings a depth of knowledge about Brown to this role. In addition to being a member of the faculty since 2014, he earned his PhD in biomedical engineering from Brown in 2012. He has received numerous honors and awards, including the Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship (IIF) award for brain-spinal interface research during his postdoc at EPFL, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Young Faculty Award and Director’s Award as an early career investigator at Brown.

We have much to accomplish through I-BEAM in the months and years ahead, and we look forward to working with David Borton as interim director to advance our work.

Sincerely,
 

Tejal Desai, PhD                                                   
Sorensen Family Dean of Engineering               

 

Mukesh K. Jain, MD
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences

May 8, 2024

Dear BioMed community,

It is with profound sadness that I write to inform you of the passing of David Egilman, MD, clinical professor of family medicine, who died on April 2.

In 1974, Dr. Egilman earned a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology from Brown and in 1978, a medical degree from the Program in Medicine. After training in internal medicine at the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Egilman earned a master’s of public health degree from Harvard. He began teaching at Brown in 1985.

Dr. Egilman’s experiences working in Cincinnati as part of the U.S. Public Health Service brought him face to face with mining and industrial workers who had developed medical conditions after years in unsafe work environments. This sparked his passionate fight against unethical health practices carried out by corporations and governments.

For decades, Dr. Egilman pursued an offensive strategy toward health justice by working tirelessly as an expert witness and consultant. Over his career, he provided critical testimony against Johnson & Johnson, claiming that it had failed to reveal the health risks of talc. He relentlessly pursued accountability for corporations implicated in asbestos-related diseases. And he was instrumental in uncovering communications in 1950 that warned of the risks involved in government radiation tests on humans — which the U.S. government later apologized for in 1996.

Dr. Egilman’s work as an expert witness brought him before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Commerce, the President’s Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, and numerous FDA advisory committees. His work consulting and testifying had him involved in many legal cases unveiling the harmful effects of medications. 

In addition to his work as an expert witness and clinical professor at Brown, Dr. Egilman was also board-certified in internal medicine and preventive and occupational medicine and an epidemiologist. He was a past editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health and the editor of The Journal of Scientific Practice and Integrity.

On behalf of the Division, I offer our condolences to Dr. Egilman’s wife, Helene, his sons, and his colleagues and friends here at Brown. He will be greatly missed.

Sincerely,

Mukesh K. Jain, MD
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences

May 6, 2024

Dear Colleagues,

We write to share news that Vicki L. Colvin, director of Brown’s Institute for Biology, Engineering, and Medicine (I-BEAM) and Vernon Krieble Professor of Chemistry and Engineering, has accepted an appointment to serve as the Edward K. Barton Dean of Engineering at Louisiana State University, effective August 1, 2024. We wish her the very best as she returns to her home state to assume this leadership role with Louisiana’s public flagship research institution.

Professor Colvin has made valuable contributions to Brown since joining the community in 2014. For the last eight years, Professor Colvin directed the University’s biomedical engineering program – an academic program that spans the School of Engineering and Division of Biology and Medicine. Under her leadership, biomedical engineering substantially increased master's enrollment, grew training faculty, and expanded research funding. Building on this success, most recently, she worked with Brown's biomedical engineering faculty and collaborators across campus to shape and launch the Institute for Biology, Engineering, and Medicine (I-BEAM), which integrates engineering into both fundamental biomedical research and clinical medicine. As I-BEAM’s inaugural director in 2023, she was able to make important strides, including collaborating with Columbia University, Yale, and Johns Hopkins University to secure a multi-million-dollar National Science Foundation grant aimed at increasing the diversity of biomedical engineering faculty.

In the classroom and laboratory, Professor Colvin has distinguished herself as an exceptional teacher and a researcher, making an important impact at Brown – particularly among her students. She taught Introductory Chemistry for seven years, educating hundreds of students. Professor Colvin also built a vigorous research program, directing seven PhD students through graduation, and mentoring more than twenty-five undergraduate researchers. As the University’s 12th provost, a role that brought her to Brown, she was instrumental in laying the foundation for several critical University efforts, including launching comprehensive academic planning and initiatives in data sciences, online learning, and entrepreneurship that have become important institutional priorities.

Please join us in thanking Vicki Colvin for all that she has accomplished during her time at Brown and extending every best wish for great success in her next role. We will announce plans in the coming weeks for identifying a successor to lead I-BEAM.

Sincerely,

Tejal Desai, PhD                                                                    Mukesh K. Jain, MD             
Sorensen Family Dean of Engineering                                 Senior Vice President for Health Affairs
                                                                                              Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences


 

Dear Colleagues,

We are delighted to announce the promotion of Cailie Burns to Senior Associate Dean and Strategic Advisor for Advancement, Division of Biology and Medicine. This new role was effective April 1.

During the past two years, the scope and significance of Cailie’s work has greatly expanded as the Division of Biology and Medicine has increased its programs, key priorities, and its relationships and joint programming with the affiliated hospital systems. This growth will continue with the development of the Integrated Life Sciences at Brown University, new opportunities presented by closer relationships with the hospitals such as the Brown Innovation and Research Collaborative for Health (BIRCH), and investments in the life sciences as an economic driver in Rhode Island. The Division of Biology and Medicine is experiencing unprecedented growth and prosperity as a key part of the overall strategy for Brown’s development as a major research university, and its advancement and philanthropic opportunities are evolving commensurately.

As strategic advisor for advancement priorities in the biomedical sciences, Cailie will be integral to the continued education and guidance of the University Advancement Division about the full scope of areas within the purview of Biomedical Advancement. This role will help promote a culture of strategic partnership between University Advancement and BioMed Advancement, particularly as it pertains to principal gifts, where Cailie will provide input in strategic philanthropic discussions that have potential impact on BioMed. Cailie’s demonstrated expertise in impactful philanthropy that furthers BioMed’s goals and vision will be a valuable asset in steering the strategic efforts between University Advancement and BioMed toward the greatest benefit for the University and BioMed. 

Cailie first came to the Division of Biology and Medicine in 2012 as a leadership giving officer in BioMed Advancement, where she remained until 2015, when she became manager of leadership giving and corporate sponsorship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. In 2018 she returned to Brown as director of biomedical development, and was promoted to assistant dean for biomedical advancement in December 2019 and associate dean in 2021. Cailie has overseen fundraising for BioMed priorities in the BrownTogether campaign, which so far has raised $419 million for BioMed alone. She also directs a thriving constituent engagement program, working with her team to connect Warren Alpert Medical School and Program in Biology alumni, parents, families, and friends in longstanding and rewarding relationships with Brown. In her new role, Cailie will continue to oversee the BioMed Advancement team, which is charged with development and community engagement. This includes working with volunteers, sponsoring key events such as Medical School Reunion and Family Weekend, and successfully maintaining a strong Brown Medical Annual Fund.

We are thrilled to continue to have Cailie’s knowledge and expertise as part of our leadership teams and are excited for her to work with us in this new capacity. Please join us in congratulating her on this well-deserved promotion.

Sincerely,

Mukesh K. Jain, MD                                      Sergio M. Gonzalez                                 Lisa A. Donham                 
Senior Vice President for                              Senior Vice President for                        Vice President of Individual Philanthropy and Academic Initiatives
Health Affairs                                                 Advancement                                       
Dean of Medicine and                                                                                   
Biological Sciences                                                                                       



 

March 22, 2024

Dear BioMed community,

It is with profound sadness that we write to inform you of the passing of two esteemed faculty members in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior: Maureen Allwood, PhD, who died March 4, and Ruby Lee, MD, who died March 8. The loss of these colleagues within the same week leaves us with an acute appreciation for the impact they made and the legacy they leave behind.

Maureen Allwood, PhD, was a visiting scientist in psychiatry and human behavior and a visiting scientist at the Center for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine and the Stress, Trauma, and Resilience (STAR) COBRE. She was working at Brown while on sabbatical from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where she was a professor of psychology and co-director of the department’s mentorship program for underrepresented and first-generation undergraduate students. She was also an adjunct associate professor of population and family health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and a contributor and founding faculty member for the Center for Trauma Recovery and Juvenile Justice and the Center for the Treatment of Developmental Trauma Disorders at UCONN Health.

Dr. Allwood was born in Jamaica and moved to the United States with her family at age 8. She graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor of science degree in psychology and earned a master’s in clinical psychology at Eastern Michigan University. At the University of Missouri-Columbia, Dr. Allwood earned a second master’s degree and completed her PhD in clinical psychology. She completed her internship at the Boston Consortium and her postdoctoral research fellowship at Brown. Dr. Allwood’s research focused on the developmental effects of trauma and violence and their disproportionate impacts on different sociodemographic groups. In her research, clinical work, teaching, and advocacy, she devoted herself to the well-being of marginalized youth and communities. We extend our sympathies to Dr. Allwood’s mother, her husband, Alfred Ojukwu, her children Candyce, Karl, and Aiyanna, and her colleagues and friends here at Brown.

Ruby Lee, MD, was a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior and the associate program director of the Brown Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship. Originally from Texas, Dr. Lee received her undergraduate and medical degrees from Texas A&M University, then completed her adult psychiatry residency at the University of Maryland/Sheppard Pratt. She went on to complete two fellowships at Brown, one in child and adolescent psychiatry and the other in forensic psychiatry. She was one of a small number of psychiatrists nationwide to be boarded in general psychiatry, pediatric psychiatry, and forensic psychiatry. Over the course of her career, Dr. Lee practiced at Bradley Hospital, the Rhode Island Training School, Eleanor Slater Hospital, the Adult Correctional Institution, and Hartselle & Associates.

Dr. Lee provided compassionate, skillful psychiatric care for adults and adolescents who were incarcerated and she conducted risk assessments and competency-to-stand-trial evaluations with exceptional skill, empathy, and insight. As an educator, she was dedicated to training forensic psychiatry fellows, general psychiatry residents, and medical students who benefited from her wisdom, wit, and expertise. Dr. Lee was devoted to her family – her parents, her husband, Dr. Leo Tsay, and 8-year-old son, Eddie. We offer her loved ones and colleagues our heartfelt condolences.

A memorial gathering will be held in Dr. Lee’s honor Thursday, April 18, 4:30-6:30 p.m. at Chapel Grille in Cranston. RSVP here if you plan to attend.

On behalf of the Division of Biology and Medicine and the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, we offer our condolences to all in our community who are grieving the loss of Dr. Ruby Lee and Dr. Maureen Allwood. They will be greatly missed.

Sincerely,

Mukesh K. Jain, MD                                                 Audrey Tyrka, MD, PhD
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs                  Chair and Mary Zucker Professor of Psychiatry
Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences             and Human Behavior

March 19, 2024

Dear Members of the BioMed Community,

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Anne Shee “CC” Lee, MD, MPH, as the founding director of the Brown Global Alliance for Infant and Maternal Health Research (Global AIM) and Professor of Pediatrics. She will begin her new role on July 1, 2024.

Dr. Lee is coming to Brown from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, where she is an attending pediatrician on the Faculty Newborn Service and an associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She is the director of Global Newborn Health at Brigham and Women’s and leads the Global Advancement of Infants and Mothers Lab. Dr. Lee’s research focuses on perinatal epidemiology and the design and evaluation of interventions to reduce the major causes of maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality worldwide.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering at Duke University, Dr. Lee earned her medical degree from Harvard Medical School. She completed pediatric residency at Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center. Dr. Lee was a primary care pediatrician at Boston Medical Center and in Boston Chinatown at the Floating Hospital, with a focus on immigrant and refugee health. After working with a non-profit to establish a community-based maternal-child health program in the Tibetan Qinghai province, she completed an MPH and postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

In her new role, Dr. Lee will oversee the establishment of the Brown Global Alliance for Infant and Maternal Health Research. Global AIM will position Brown as a leader in global maternal, newborn, and child health research by bringing together investigators, partners, and resources across the Brown-affiliated academic health system. Investigators will conduct innovative, impactful research that is translated into health policy both globally and domestically. Included in this effort are existing centers at Brown, Lifespan, and Care New England, such as the Center for International Health Research, the Global Health Initiative, and the Hassenfeld Child Health Institute. Brown Global AIM also will develop and grow collaborations and partnerships with global organizations, academia, industry, and agencies to advance maternal child health and will train future researchers across the academic spectrum.

We are delighted to have Dr. Lee lead this exciting program of global importance and look forward to welcoming her to the Brown community.

Sincerely,

Mukesh K. Jain, MD 
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences
 
Phyllis A. Dennery, MD
Sylvia Kay Hassenfeld Professor of Pediatrics
Chair, Department of Pediatrics

Jill Maron, MD, MPH
William and Elsa Zopfi Professor of Pediatrics for Perinatal Research
Chief, Department of Pediatrics, Women & Infants Hospital

February 27, 2024

Dear BioMed Community,

I am delighted to share the news that Wafik El-Deiry, MD, PhD, FACP, director of the Legorreta Cancer Center, associate dean for oncologic sciences, and Mencoff Family University Professor of Medical Science, has been named to the National Academy of Inventors Class of 2024 Senior Members. This distinction recognizes Dr. El-Deiry’s success in patents, licensing, and commercialization and for producing technologies that have brought, or aspire to bring, real impact on the welfare of society.

Dr. El-Deiry’s research is focused on mechanisms of therapy resistance with a focus on drug discovery and development. He has been prolific in his development of novel therapeutics, especially in the treatment of cancer and currently has 19 issued patents. He discovered and brought a first-in-class small molecule treatment for gliomas into clinical trials. His discoveries have led to the founding of three start-up companies to date, including one since coming to Brown in 2019, and he remains active in the translation of basic science discoveries into therapies for patients who need them most.

Here at Brown, he received the inaugural Inventor of the Year Award from the Office of the Vice President of Research for 2021, a year in which he filed nine patents. He led the University in patent submissions and won the award again in 2023.

The National Academy of Inventors’ mission is to recognize and encourage academic inventors, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society. The formal induction ceremony will take place at the NAI annual conference in June.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. El-Deiry on this well-deserved honor.

Sincerely,

Mukesh K. Jain, MD
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences

2023

November 27, 2023

Dear Members of the BioMed Community,

Yesterday, President Christina Paxson shared the devastating news that a Brown undergraduate student was shot in Vermont on Saturday evening. The student, Hisham Awartani, is Palestinian Irish American; he and his friends may have been targeted because of their Arab ancestry and identity. President Paxson’s message, which contains further details regarding the circumstances, is below. I have been in touch with the leadership of the University of Vermont Health System and offered our help to facilitate engagement and any medical support needed by Hisham and his family.

This incident hits very close to home, and it is but one of many such events that have been occurring around the country and the world in recent weeks. Such anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian violence and hate is abhorrent and I strongly condemn such heinous acts.

I know this event will leave many in our community deeply shaken and will heighten fears about personal safety across identities, backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. There is no tolerance at Brown for discrimination or violence against any member of our community. Please reach out to the resources we have previously provided – whether it’s CAPS, your deans, faculty and advisors, or the Employee Assistance Program – if you need assistance during this difficult time.

The Office of the Chaplains will hold a Vigil for Peace and Healing to bring the community together on the Main Green, today, Nov. 27, at 4:30 p.m. I encourage all of you to join me at this vigil to condemn violence and find solace in community.

Sincerely,

Mukesh K. Jain, MD
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences

 

Dear Brown Community,

We received the devastating news from the family this morning that one of our students was shot last night while in Vermont with friends for the Thanksgiving break. The family has given us permission to share that Hisham Awartani, a junior at Brown, remains hospitalized, and we were very relieved and grateful to learn that he is expected to survive his injuries.

Hisham’s family also gave us permission to share the circumstances that Hisham is Palestinian Irish American, and that he and his two friends may have been targeted because of their Arab ancestry and identity. His two friends also were shot, and police continue to investigate. I have been in touch with Hisham’s family, and members of Brown’s support staff have remained in close contact and are offering all the care that we can, including University personnel onsite in Burlington, Vermont.

There are not enough words to express the deep anguish I feel for Hisham, his parents and family members, and his friends. I know that this heinous and despicable act of violence — this latest evidence of anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian discrimination and hate spiraling across this country and around the world — will leave many in our community deeply shaken. We know it will heighten concerns about personal safety and security for Palestinian and Arab members of our community.

I call on our community to come together to condemn anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian discrimination and acts of violence and hate, and express care and empathy for one another. I have asked the University Chaplain’s Office to organize a campus vigil Monday to bring our community together during this difficult time. Please join us on the Main Green for a Vigil for Peace and Healing at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow.

The families of Hisham and the other two student victims of the shooting have asked that no one make donations to fundraisers unless specifically organized by the families. We also agreed to share the families’ desire for privacy and space to provide their children with the support they need.

I know that I and many members of our community are feeling so many emotions in this moment — sadness, confusion and anger — questioning how anyone would perpetrate such an act of violence. Over the past several weeks since the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks and the Israel-Hamas war, so many of our students, faculty and staff already have shared with me and other administrators their deep anxiety and fear about rising tensions and violence locally, globally and around the world. As Vice President for Campus Life Eric Estes shared earlier this month, a team of staff continue to ensure that members of our community are receiving the care they need.

We are prepared to offer ongoing support for those with concerns about their emotional and physical safety across identities, backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. We have members of our community who continue to struggle in significant and personal ways with the ongoing violence in Israel, Gaza and across the Middle East, including some who are living daily in fear for the wellbeing of their families or loved ones.

Vice President Estes and Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity Sylvia Carey-Butler will follow up with the community in the coming days about the ways we continue to care for and support all members of our community. And please remember, if you or someone you know have a concern about threats to your safety, you should call the Department of Public Safety directly and immediately (401-863-4111).

I hope you’ll join me on the Main Green tomorrow to be in community together.

Sincerely,

Christina H. Paxson
President

Dear Members of the BioMed Community,

We are writing to share the news that Andrew G. Campbell, PhD, professor of medical science, has decided to retire at the end of the calendar year. Dr. Campbell has led a remarkable career at Brown, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1994.

He arrived in Providence after he earned his PhD in biology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and was a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA and the University of California, San Francisco. His research focuses on microbial diseases, particularly infectious diseases in neglected populations and regions. He has taught and advised Brown undergraduate and graduate students and served as director of the Division of Biology and Medicine’s Pathobiology Graduate Program for six years. He is currently principal investigator of two National Institutes of Health grants.

Dr. Campbell’s tenure included two terms as dean of the Brown Graduate School, from 2016 to 2022, when he elected to step down. During his time as dean, Dr. Campbell achieved the Graduate School’s 10-year growth goal and its 10-year diversity goal in his first 24 months. The Graduate School matriculated the most racially and ethnically diverse graduate school classes in 2017, -18, and -19, reaching 133-year historic highs in each consecutive year. Dr. Campbell expanded interdisciplinary graduate training through the Doctoral Specialization Certificate Programs, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded advanced dual degree Open Graduate Education Program. He led efforts to expand financial support and resources for doctoral students, including the appointment of the school’s first student support dean and establishing transitional stipends for new students, additional semesters of extended funding, summer health care support, enhanced family-friendly initiatives, and an emergency funding program.

While Dr. Campbell will leave many legacies, one of the most impactful will be the Initiative to Maximize Student Development (IMSD), which he founded and has co-directed at Brown since its inception in 2008. The program provides research training support for students from historically underrepresented groups to significantly increase participation within the biomedical, behavioral, and physical sciences as well as engineering and math. In 2021, the Journal for STEM Education Research published a study that detailed the 10-year outcomes of implementing practices that support the success of underrepresented students in STEM graduate programs at Brown through IMSD. The results showed sustained improvement in compositional diversity, retention, and degree attainment of students in the program relative to their peers. The proportion of PhD degrees awarded to students from historically underrepresented groups in biomedical programs from 2008 to 2018 increased, from 4% to 14%, well above the national average of 8%. The data also showed the success of participants in publishing studies, securing national fellowships, and finding job placements.

In addition, Dr. Campbell has been principal investigator of the Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) at Brown, which is in it second five-year cycle of support from the NIH. PREP is a one-year internship for college graduates that addresses the critical transition into, and successful completion of, rigorous biomedical, research-focused, doctoral degree programs. Like IMSD, it is designed to support students from HUGs as well as first-generation college students. PREP has also been remarkably successful: an estimated 90% of students who complete PREP at Brown are accepted to a PhD program.

Dr. Campbell was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2020 and a fellow of the American Society for Cell Biology in 2017. He served as chair of the Board of Directors of the Council of Graduate Schools, which represents approximately 500 colleges and universities in North America. He has received a number of honors as a teacher, researcher, and mentor, including the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the American Foundation for AIDS Research Investigator Award, and Brown’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Faculty Governance.

We will celebrate Dr. Campbell’s contributions to Brown, to the Division of Biology and Medicine, and the fields of microbiology and immunology at a future date. Please join us in wishing him a happy and restful retirement.

Sincerely,

Mukesh K. Jain, MD    
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs  
Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences    

Richard J. Bennett, PhD
Associate Dean for Research Growth and Innovation
Chair, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology

Dear Members of the BioMed Community,

During the past week, I have heard from many students, faculty, staff and alumni about the humanitarian impacts of the Israel-Hamas war, the repercussions for loved ones and extended communities here in the US, and the role of physicians and medical practitioners in a time of conflict. Throughout these conversations, a recurring theme is What can we – as a community dedicated to advancing health and well-being – do that lives up to the missions of the Division of Biology and Medicine and The Warren Alpert Medical School?

Witnessing the loss of human life is heartbreaking for all of us. It is particularly difficult to see hospitals, once inviolable sanctuaries, no longer spared in conflicts such as those in Gaza and Ukraine. As an academic institution, we act by pursuing our mission through education, training and advancing knowledge. We work to create opportunities to better understand the issues and possible solutions related to health and well-being during times of conflict. And we do this in an environment that allows the free expression of a diversity of views.

On Wednesday, November 15, at 4 p.m., we are launching a series of panel discussions that will begin with “Health Care in Humanitarian Emergencies.” A panel of Brown faculty will discuss their experiences providing health care in conflict zones, refugee encampments, and other humanitarian emergencies. We hope the series will help us start a conversation within our community where we can learn from one another and support each other.

Recently President Paxson and Provost Doyle reiterated Brown’s commitment to freedom of expression, and we want to underscore that the same values and policies apply to the Division of Biology and Medicine, and thus The Warren Alpert Medical School. Our students and faculty enjoy the same freedom of religious belief, speech and press; the right to association and assembly and political activity inside and outside the University; the right to petition the authorities, the public and the University; and the right to invite speakers to campus. While differences of opinion are expected, and debate and protest are considered necessary and acceptable means of expression at Brown, harassment and discrimination are never acceptable. No one in our community should be intimidated, retaliated against, censored, or punished for their views on any issue. We have not heard any such reports, but if it occurs, we want to know about it. If any member of our community feels that they are experiencing harassment or discrimination, we ask that they use the resources for reporting shared at the end of this message so that it may be addressed.

Above all, our immediate care and concern are directed toward our community here, particularly the students who have entrusted their education and their well-being to us. We urge you to make use of the support systems in place, in whatever form you feel comfortable – peer support through the Student Health Council, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), including the Medical School’s embedded therapist, and other options. You also may stop by the Wellness Office or Student Affairs, or drop in to see a dean, faculty member or advisor. Faculty and staff can avail themselves of the Employee Assistance Plan, Spring Health.

In addition, Restorative Justice at Brown is launching facilitated circles to help members of our community process the issues in Israel and Gaza. Students, faculty and staff are invited to join these conversations.

We have continued to listen and learn in the conversations we have had with students, faculty, staff and alumni, and we appreciate the opportunity to engage with so many of you within our community. We always welcome feedback and insights, and as we build our series of panel discussions, we would like to hear your ideas for future topics; you can send them to med@brown.edu. These are incredibly difficult times, and we will get through them together, as a community united by our mission, supporting and respecting each other.

Sincerely,

Mukesh K. Jain, MD
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences
  

 

Resources

The Warren Alpert Medical School Program for a Health Learning Environment

Reporting Mistreatment

Brown University Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity Incident Reporting

Anonymous Reporting Hotline

November 6, 2023

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce that Linda L. Brown, MD, MSCE, has been appointed Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine and physician-in-chief of emergency medicine for Rhode Island Hospital/Hasbro Children’s Hospital, The Miriam Hospital, and Newport Hospital, effective November 1, 2023. Dr. Brown will also become the president of Brown Emergency Medicine, a faculty practice group that is a member of Brown Physicians, Inc. She will also hold the endowed Frances Weeden Gibson-Edward A. Iannuccilli, MD, Professorship in Emergency Medicine. 

A professor of emergency medicine and of pediatrics, Dr. Brown was previously the Vice Chair of pediatric emergency medicine for Brown Emergency Medicine and the Director of the Lifespan Medical Simulation Center. She has been serving as interim chair of Emergency Medicine and physician-in-chief since December 2022.

Dr. Brown earned her undergraduate degree in biology from Colby College in 1992 and her medical degree from Pennsylvania State College of Medicine in 1997. She completed residency in pediatrics, including a year as chief resident, at Hasbro Children’s Hospital/Brown University. She then completed a fellowship in pediatric emergency medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in 2004, during which time she also received a Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology from the University of Pennsylvania. After completing her training, she was an attending physician at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital and an assistant professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at Yale School of Medicine. She returned to Brown and Hasbro Children’s Hospital in 2007.

Dr. Brown is a national leader in pediatric emergency medicine, pediatric resuscitation, and medical simulation. Her professional interests include simulation-based education; quality improvement; difficult airway management; and resuscitation science. She has received federal funding for her research related to pediatric resuscitation and patient safety in general emergency departments and EMS agencies, pediatric disaster triage, and technology for improving the quality of CPR during pediatric cardiac arrest. She has been active in multiple national committees, including on the American Heart Association Get With the Guidelines-Resuscitation pediatric research task force and the research committee of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare.

At The Warren Alpert Medical School and Lifespan, Dr. Brown has received numerous honors, including the Brian J. Zink, MD Outstanding Leadership in Emergency Medicine Award; the Brown EM Foundation Award; the Libby Nestor, MD Outstanding Mentor Award, the Jacek Franaszek Exemplary Educator Award; and the Barnet Fain Quality Award, to name a few. Nationally, she has received multiple recognitions, including the Dr. Marianne Gausche-Hill Award for Teaching Mentorship and the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine Simulation Academy Distinguished Educator Award. 

As chair and physician-in-chief, Dr. Brown is honored to lead a department focused on delivering the highest quality, compassionate, and equitable emergency care to the patients in our communities. She looks forward to supporting and expanding the strong tripartite mission of her department, with a focus on innovations in education and research, diversity and inclusion, community engagement and a goal of ensuring wellness for all physicians and providers.

We are thrilled to have one of our own former trainees take the helm of the Department of Emergency Medicine, which plays such an important role not only in our academic medical center but in the health care of Rhode Islanders. Please join us in congratulating Dr. Brown on her well-deserved appointment.

Sincerely,

Mukesh K. Jain
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences
Brown University

John Fernandez
CEO and President
Lifespan Health System

 


 

October 26, 2023

Dear Members of the BioMed Community,

Today I have the pleasure and privilege of announcing the inaugural recipients of the Blavatnik Family Graduate Fellowship in Biology and Medicine, a new fellowship made possible through a generous, multi-year donation from the Blavatnik Family Foundation.

The eight Blavatnik Family Fellows were selected based on outstanding academic achievement and demonstrated potential for producing original research that advances scientific knowledge and understanding in the basic and clinical life sciences. The fellows’ research is representative of a diverse array of scientific disciplines.

The Blavatnik Family Fellows, with their programs of study, mentors, and research interests, are:

  • Nigel Anderson is studying in the Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology program with Professor Matt Fuxjager to understand the role of the brain in shaping the evolution of novel and elaborate animal behaviors.
  • Kelsey Babcock is a scholar in the Neuroscience program working to understand the decline in new brain cell formation that occurs in Alzheimer’s disease to identify targets to prevent this diminution and improve the learning and memory deficits associated with the disease with Professors Ashley Webb and Alexander Fleischmann.
  • Jennifer Cui is analyzing the structure and function of proteins involved in inflammation and cell signaling with Professor George Lisi in the Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry program.
  • Audrey Dalgarno is working with Professor Nicola Neretti to identify changes to the spatial arrangement of DNA within the nucleus that occur with cellular senescence, an irreversible state of cell cycle arrest that contributes to aging, with the goal of extending human health and lifespans in the Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry program.
  • Isaac Kim, a student in the Computational Biology program, is working to develop a prognostic model for Burkitt lymphoma in emerging nations by using cutting-edge sequencing and machine-learning techniques with Professor Jeff Bailey.
  • Noe Mercado is examining the role of human cytomegalovirus (CMV) in brain cancer malignancy and progression to develop novel targeted therapeutic approaches with Professor Sean Lawler in the Pathobiology program.
  • Gabriel Monteiro da Silva, a student in the Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry program, is working with Professor Brenda Rubenstein to develop computer simulations to study how changes within the structural arrangements of cancer-causing proteins can lead to drug resistance and increased potential for harm, with the ultimate goal of guiding the design of next-generation therapeutics.
  • Mattia Pizzagalli, a scholar in the Pathobiology program, is working with Professor Nikos Tapinos to investigate how changes in gene expression in individuals with glioblastoma, an incurable, aggressive type of brain tumor, may impact cancer progression and serve as potential therapeutic targets.

You can learn more about this fellowship at the Blavatnik Family Fellows webpage.

We are grateful to the Blavatnik Family Foundation for its generous support of these exemplary young scientists. Their gift is particularly important as Brown and the Division of Biology and Medicine increase investment in initiatives that elevate our capacity for high-impact, world-class research. Graduate students in the life sciences are a crucial component in building this capacity through partnership with professors and supporting their work is essential to our success.

Sincerely,

Mukesh K. Jain, MD
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences

October 23, 2023

We are writing today to share that the Lifespan Board of Directors and the Corporation of Brown University have voted in separate meetings this month on the parameters of a new nonbinding term sheet that authorizes both institutions to strengthen the existing affiliation and licensing agreements between the health system and Brown’s Warren Alpert Medical School. Details will be worked out over the next several months.

While these efforts will result in even stronger connections than we have in place today, Lifespan and Brown will remain two separate and distinct nonprofit organizations. As you know, Lifespan has a long-standing affiliation agreement with the medical school, as three of the Lifespan hospitals are academic teaching hospitals — Rhode Island, The Miriam and Bradley hospitals. Many physicians in these hospitals are faculty members of the Warren Alpert Medical School and are employed by Lifespan.

The existing affiliation agreement between Brown and the health system expires at the end of this calendar year, on December 31, so this is a natural time for conversations about extending our agreement. Both Brown and Lifespan collectively aspire to ensure robust health care services and biomedical research in Rhode Island and beyond. Both institutions want to see Rhode Island thrive through critical efforts such as creating the Rhode Island Life Science Hub, working with government, civic and business leaders and other organizations to create more well-paying jobs, and significantly improving access to both primary and specialty care. Brown and Lifespan also are committed to providing world-class environments for patient care and medical education that will benefit our faculty and students.

The proposed enhanced affiliation between the University and Lifespan will not impact Brown’s valued affiliations with Care New England, the VA Providence Healthcare System, HopeHealth and Brown Physicians Inc. These affiliations remain vital to the medical school’s teaching, clinical care, community engagement and research missions.

Brown, Lifespan and Care New England also will continue their efforts toward aligned research collaboration, known as BIRCH, that was established last year. The three organizations are working to streamline research administration through the Brown Innovation and Research Collaborative for Health. The discussions between Brown and Lifespan reflect an ongoing shared commitment to aligning the strengths of both institutions, bolstering the connections between and across delivery of care, medical training and biomedical research.

We look forward to sharing the outcomes of the continuing discussions in the coming months.

Sincerely,
Christina H. Paxson
President

Mukesh K. Jain, MD
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences

October 12, 2023

Dear Members of the BioMed Community,

I am writing to share the exciting news that Methodius G. Tuuli, MD, MPH, MBA, Chace-Joukowsky Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine. Election to the NAM is considered one of the highest honors in academic medicine; just 100 individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service are selected each year.

In its announcement, the academy praised Dr. Tuuli “for employing large multicenter trials and cohort studies, in the U.S. and globally, to generate evidence for clinical practice and policy to prevent adverse obstetric outcomes including surgical site infection after cesarean, management of labor, and medical complications in pregnancy, while building research capacity and mentoring diverse scholars.”

Dr. Tuuli is an exceptional physician-scientist and leader whose work is having real impact on improving maternal health here in Rhode Island and around the globe. Under his leadership, the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology has developed innovative programs to identify  and address health disparities and increased the diversity of trainees and faculty. We are fortunate to have such a dedicated clinician, researcher, educator, and health care leader as part of our community. Please join me in congratulating him on this well-deserved and prestigious recognition.

Sincerely,

Mukesh K. Jain, MD
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences

September 20, 2023

Dear BioMed Community,

Nearly a year ago, we announced that Brown, Lifespan, and Care New England had signed an agreement to align their research operations. The goal of this agreement and the creation of the Brown Innovation and Research Collaborative for Health (BIRCH), as it is now known, is to establish a unified approach to conducting health and medical research that streamlines operations and strategically aligns the institutions’ research priorities. Care New England and Brown then entered into a separate two-party agreement in February of this year to accelerate bringing together CNE’s biomedical health sciences research with Brown’s.

Since that time, our institutions have been working to enable Brown to manage most of CNE’s research, effective November 1, 2023. Yesterday, CNE and Brown took an important step in that process. Nine members of Care New England’s research administration team learned of new research administration opportunities at Brown. If they accept the positions, they would join the BioMed Research Administration Office under the direction of Francie Emlen.

For now, the research projects managed by these staff members will remain within the CNE portfolio. Moving the staff’s day-to-day work to Brown will allow research administration professionals to work side by side supporting research at both institutions. By beginning to work together now, we can set a path toward our ultimate goal, which is to have all new research projects flow through Brown in the next year with the exception of COBREs and COBRE-related awards.  

We are thrilled to be able to offer this group of research administration professionals opportunities at Brown. They would contribute considerable talent and knowledge to our research community. This is an exciting step forward in our goal of unifying our research efforts for better collaboration among our institutions and to advance discoveries that will benefit people in Rhode Island and beyond.

Sincerely,
Mukesh K. Jain, MD
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences 

August 29, 2023

Dear Members of the BioMed Community,

For many years, discussions have taken place at The Warren Alpert Medical School about whether the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Medical Schools rankings comport with our institutional values. We have deepened these conversations among the medical school’s leadership team in recent months, carefully considering whether we should continue to submit data for ranking purposes. We have consulted with current students, alumni, faculty and members of the Brown Corporation, and weighed the implications of continued participation in rankings that do not align with our measures of what constitutes quality preparation for medical students.

I am writing today to share that The Warren Alpert Medical School will no longer submit data to U.S. News & World Report for its Best Medical Schools rankings. This change will take effect in 2024, as the 2023 rankings have already been published. It is important to note that U.S. News & World Report will likely continue to rank schools that do not submit data, using publicly available information and surveys completed in previous years. We may continue to be ranked, but future rankings will not be based on new information we provide.

This decision, made with the support of the president and provost, comes as more than a dozen leading medical schools across the country also have decided to cease providing statistical data to the U.S. News & World Report medical school rankings. While the reasons for no longer participating vary from school to school, at the core of these decisions are the flawed methodology of the rankings and their negative consequences on medical education.

Central to Brown’s decision to end participation is our belief that such quantitative rankings do not adequately capture the quality of education nor the level of support provided to students at any medical school. The rankings also do not reflect the unique foci and missions of all medical schools, instead ranking them on factors that are not equally valued by all schools. At their worst, they perpetuate a culture of rewarding the most elite and historically privileged groups.

Among the specific driving factors in our decision to withdraw is the U.S. News ranking’s continued and significant emphasis on undergraduate GPAs and MCAT scores for each school’s enrolled medical students. While these are two factors among many that can be considered in evaluating applicants, they do not necessarily measure holistically the qualities that will make an outstanding Brown-trained physician. We weigh a much broader set of criteria in reviewing applicants to The Warren Alpert Medical School, recognizing that there are many measures of preparation for medical school and many paths toward a life and career in medicine.

There is a compelling argument put forth by many medical schools that relying on these standardized metrics may create a perverse incentive for schools to direct their financial aid dollars to the higher GPA, higher MCAT-scoring students who will boost their U.S. News ranking. While this has never been a factor at Brown, this can create bidding wars between medical schools and perpetuate inequities in who is ultimately admitted to the highest-ranked institutions. Participating in a system that may fuel such inequity flies in the face of Brown’s commitment to access and inclusion.

Additional factors in the U.S. News rankings demonstrate a clear misunderstanding of what truly impacts medical education. The rankings rely heavily on schools’ research funding, but they focus solely on overall dollars (from the National Institutes of Health exclusively) at the expense of research innovation and impact. In evaluating faculty, the rankings take an approach that focuses purely on full-time faculty — disadvantaging schools like Brown that value the learning students gain from the clinical faculty who are practicing physicians imparting real-world learning in our affiliated hospitals or other health care settings. In addition, there is no metric that measures how much student support a school provides, what amenities and systems students can access, or how they fare after graduation.

Perhaps most important, we were able to answer the question we had wrestled with for years — we definitively reached the conclusion that the approach upheld by the U.S. News rankings simply does not align with our institutional values. At our medical school, we value humanism and compassion, innovation and discovery. We value social responsibility and community engagement and service. We are dedicated to anti-racism and inclusiveness, diversity and equity. None of these can be adequately measured by a quantitative ranking scale.

We also value integrity and accountability, and believe that prospective students and their families need accurate and transparent information as one factor in determining which medical school is right for them. Data that we typically provide to U.S. News can be found on our Class Profile page on our Admissions and Financial Aid website and is updated annually.

Our mission at The Warren Alpert Medical School is to provide innovative medical education that prepares a diverse physician workforce to radically improve health and wellness for all—not to achieve ever-higher ranking status. This step affirms our commitment to that mission and to our efforts to make medicine more accountable to the communities we serve.

Sincerely,

Mukesh K. Jain, MD
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences

July 28, 2023

Dear Members of the Community,

It is with profound sadness that I write to inform you of the passing of Vice President Emeritus Levi Adams ADE’75 on July 25. Levi was a pioneering member of the leadership team at Brown University who was instrumental in establishing the medical school and shaping the lives and careers of a generation of Brown alumni.

Levi earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Boston University in 1956 and master of science degree from Harvard University in 1957. He came to Brown in the mid-1960s to help guide the University as it considered moving the Master of Medical Science program to a full MD program. Levi was involved in every facet of this undertaking, from convincing University faculty that a medical school would augment Brown’s undergraduate program, not detract from it, that it was financially feasible, and that it would benefit the citizens of Rhode Island. He helped recruit the first faculty and established the partnerships with local hospitals needed to add clinical training. Levi’s first-person account of this fascinating time was detailed in the spring issue of Medicine@Brown magazine. We owe a debt of gratitude to Levi for his remarkable efforts to launch the medical school we know today.

Once the medical school was established in 1972, Levi served as Vice President for Biology and Medicine External Affairs. He successfully garnered support for the medical school from Rhode Island legislators and business leaders and launched the first $20 million ($140 million in 2023 dollars) fundraising campaign in the early 1970s to support medical education. Recognizing the need to keep alumni engaged beyond their graduation, Levi established the Brown Medical Alumni Association, and later, what is known today as the Brown Medical Annual Fund.

From the inception of the medical program, Levi saw the importance of a diverse medical student body. He was instrumental in establishing the Early Identification Program with Tougaloo College in 1976 and the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs in 1981. He served as a mentor and advisor to students, many of whom consider Levi among the most influential figures in their lives. In 2018, alumni whose lives and careers he impacted created the Levi C. Adams Medical Scholarship to support the next generation of African American physicians working to earn medical degrees at The Warren Alpert Medical School.

Levi received the Artemis Joukowsky Award, which recognizes a non-physician for long-term, dedicated, and meritorious service to the Medical School, in 2008. At the University level, the Levi Adams Citation is presented by the Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life to a senior in the college for distinction and service in the leadership of a campus-based religious organization. The award honors Levi’s exemplary service and that his “resilience, imagination, and strength in his varied tasks were always ground in deep spiritual convictions.”

Even after his retirement from the University in 1994 Levi remained a stalwart supporter and engaged member of the Brown community. His legacy will be the physicians he helped nurture and the lives they have in turn gone on to touch by living in Levi’s example. He will be remembered with love and gratitude by our Brown medical community.

On behalf of the Division, I extend our deepest condolences to Levi’s wife, Jeanne, their family and friends, and alumni. We are planning a celebration of Levi’s life on campus this fall to which the community will be invited.

Sincerely,

Mukesh K. Jain, MD
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean of Medicine and Biological Science

July 20, 2023

Dear Colleague:

We are writing to inform you that after an illustrious career leading the department of surgery for nearly 25 years, William G. Cioffi, MD, will be stepping down as surgeon-in-chief at The Miriam and Rhode Island hospitals and as chair of the department of surgery at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and the J. Murray Beardsley Professor and Chairman in the department of surgery, effective July 2024. Dr. Cioffi will continue as an active member of the medical staff. We will conduct a national recruitment effort beginning this summer for Dr. Cioffi’s replacement as department chair and surgeon-in-chief.

Dr. Cioffi became surgeon-in-chief in 2001. In February 2003, he was called on to lead Rhode Island Hospital’s efforts to care for patients of the Station Nightclub Fire, one of the nation’s deadliest fires. Dr. Cioffi led the efforts to care for over 60 critically injured patients, drawing on his background treating badly burned U.S. military personnel at the Institute of Surgical Research at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Following the Station Night Club fire, Dr. Cioffi led the effort to create The Burn Center at Rhode Island Hospital, which remains the only verified and accredited burn center in the state. Prior to his recruitment to Brown in 1994, Dr. Cioffi served 11 years on active duty in the United States Army, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Dr. Cioffi has served on various hospital, University, and national committees dedicated to improving patient care for critically ill surgical patients. Dr. Cioffi served as president of the RIH medical staff from 2004-2006. He is the past president of the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, the International Surgical Group, the Surgical Critical Care Program Directors Society, the North American Burn Society, the Society of University Surgeons, the American Burn Association, the Coalition for National Trauma Research, and the International Society of Burn Injuries. He served as a director of the American Board of Surgery. An active member of the American College of Surgeons, he served as treasurer and most recently as chair of the American College of Surgeons PAC. An AOA graduate of the University of Vermont College of Medicine, he was recognized in 2006 with its Distinguished Academic Achievement Award. Among other accolades he has been noted for the past two decades by America’s top doctors in both surgery and cancer.

A board-certified general surgeon with added qualifications in surgical critical care, Dr. Cioffi has authored or co-authored more than 550 articles, book chapters and abstracts and continues to lecture nationally and internationally in his field.

During Dr. Cioffi’s years of service to both the Medical School and health care system, he has been a proponent of research integration and physician alignment. In 2015-2016, Dr. Cioffi worked tirelessly with other faculty leaders to create Brown Physicians, Inc (BPI). Dr. Cioffi has served as the chair of the board for BPI since its formation in 2017. During Dr. Cioffi’s tenure, Brown Surgical Associates (BSA) has more than doubled in size, performing more than 12,000 cases each year, with BSA faculty providing surgical services at all three Lifespan acute care hospitals as well as the VA medical center. Importantly, the department’s other two missions of education and research have also flourished. The Brown/Lifespan surgical residency is nationally known for its broad-based surgical training, attracting top medical students from across the country.

Dr. Cioffi is a highly skilled surgeon, exemplary leader, and a caring and empathetic physician. He has cared for thousands of patients over the years, yet is known for the personal care and attention he provides each patient and family.

We are so fortunate that Dr. Cioffi will continue as a surgeon caring for patients and will remain an important member of the Lifespan and Brown communities. We are grateful for Dr. Cioffi’s tremendous contributions over the past decades and thank him for his continued tireless dedication and commitment to patient care.

John Fernandez
President and CEO, Lifespan

Mukesh K. Jain
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences
Brown University

 

May 31, 2023

Dear Colleague:

We are writing to let you know that John J. Cronan, MD, radiologist-in-chief at Lifespan, chair of the Department of Diagnostic Imaging at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and Charles and Elfriede Collis-Frances Weeden Gibson Professor of Diagnostic Imaging, will be retiring at the end of this year. We will be conducting a search for Dr. Cronan’s replacement in the next few months.

Dr. Cronan joined Rhode Island Hospital in 1982 and became radiologist-in-chief at Rhode Island Hospital in 1994, holding that position for more than three decades and making him the longest serving chief at Lifespan. 

His achievements are numerous, including establishing The Warren Alpert Medical School’s Department of Diagnostic Imaging in 1995 as its inaugural chair. As director of the hospital’s radiology residency training program, he tripled the size of the program over the years and in 2007, under his leadership, Rhode Island Hospital’s diagnostic radiology residency was recognized as the number one-ranked program in the nation by the American Board of Radiology. He was instrumental in ensuring that Rhode Island Hospital was the first in New England to install a state-of-the-art MRI system in the emergency department, enabling faster, more informed treatment decisions.

With more than 150 publications, Dr. Cronan is a nationally recognized expert in the field of abdominal imaging, ultrasound, and non-vascular interventional procedures, particularly image-guided percutaneous needle biopsies, and has served on many national committees and editorial boards. He was instrumental in developing the technique of venous ultrasound for deep vein thrombosis, and in 1987 published the seminal article on the topic in the journal Radiology.

Dr. Cronan is a fellow of the American College of Radiology, The Society of Abdominal Radiology, and the Society of Radiologists in Ultrasound. He was president of the medical staff in 1996 and 1997. He is past president of the Society of Uroradiology and has also served as president of the Society of Radiologists in Ultrasound.

We have been so fortunate to have a physician leader of Dr. Cronan’s stature and accomplishment at the helm of Lifespan’s medical imaging services and our academic Department of Diagnostic Imaging for over 30 years. We thank him for his many contributions and his long and valuable service to our patients, students, and colleagues.

John Fernandez
President and CEO, Lifespan

Mukesh K. Jain
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences
Brown University

 

April 12, 2023

Dear Colleagues,

Since the announcement last November of an aligned research collaboration involving Lifespan, Care New England, and Brown University, there has been palpable excitement in our community. That enthusiasm has only grown in recent months as we began holding retreats and forming working groups that are creating the framework for a new administrative structure that will oversee biomedical and health research for our community.

We are writing today to share the name of this new structure: Brown Innovation and Research Collaborative for Health, or BIRCH. We selected this name based on input from leaders at all levels of the research enterprise, across our institutions. We believe it comprehensively reflects our vision:

  • Brown: we are anchored at the University—no matter where our faculty practice or conduct their research, they are united by affiliation with Brown;
  • Innovation: we are aligning our research in order to encourage innovation, removing the obstacles and allowing our faculty to achieve impact;
  • Research: we are squarely focused on discovery, from basic science to clinical trials and population health;
  • Collaborative: we are committed to working together;
  • Health: our end goal—to improve the lives of people in Rhode Island and beyond.

The acronym BIRCH will undoubtedly bring to mind the birch tree. Known as a pioneer species, the birch is often the first tree to take root and flourish on fresh earth. Etymologically, the word birch means to “shine.” The tree has significance in numerous spiritual traditions, often symbolizing rebirth and purification. And the birch has long been used medicinally by indigenous peoples, who recognized its antiseptic and healing properties. While not intentional, we believe these associations with growth, renewal, and healing reflect what we envision for BIRCH.

We look forward to sharing more updates with you as BIRCH takes shape. Thank you for your partnership and the hard work you are doing to put this vision into operation.

Sincerely,

BIRCH Joint Executive Council

Mukesh K. Jain, MD
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs; Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences

Ronald Aubert, PhD
Interim Dean, Brown School of Public Health

John Fernandez
President and CEO, Lifespan

Michael Wagner, MD
Chief Executive Officer, Care New England

March 13, 2023

Dear Members of the Community,

We were excited to share in November that Brown University, Lifespan, and Care New England signed an aligned research collaboration (ARC) agreement in order to streamline biomedical research across the three institutions. We are writing today to announce that Brown and Care New England (CNE) have entered into a separate agreement to accelerate bringing together CNE’s biomedical health sciences research with Brown’s.

Under this agreement, Brown will administer and support research at Care New England in an effort to enhance efficiencies and increase research capabilities. These efforts will be executed primarily through the office of BioMed Research Administration (BMRA) at Brown, similar to other departments in the Division of Biology and Medicine. 

It’s important to note that the agreement between Brown and CNE is separate from, and does not impact, the three-party agreement among Brown, CNE, and Lifespan. Our three institutions are actively engaged in operationalizing the ARC agreement through a series of working retreats and collaborative meetings.

The purpose of this two-party agreement is to allow biomedical research happening currently at CNE to continue to thrive and grow in this interim period before the ARC agreement is fully operationalized. CNE and Brown are currently working together to determine the operational approach to amplify current and future awards and research opportunities. They will also outline an approach to institutional review board (IRB) oversight, maintaining research compliance, and how Brown and CNE cores, labs, and other facilities will be used. 

We believe that this agreement will have immediate benefits to Care New England’s research capability. This move will bolster its research infrastructure and allow both Brown and CNE to develop efficiencies that will serve the researchers of the two institutions. Together, we can expand best practices, eliminate duplication of efforts, improve investigator support, and eliminate administrative burden. This enhanced collaboration will lead to stronger research and greater sharing of ideas and successes.

As we move closer to the full implementation of this agreement, we will provide further details about research administration and support. We are thrilled to bring our institutions together to work collaboratively on our research efforts.

Sincerely,

Mukesh K. Jain, MD
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences

Michael Wagner, MD
Chief Executive Officer
Care New England

 

January 13, 2023

Dear Members of the BioMed Community,

We are pleased to announce that Edward (“Ted”) D. Huey, MD, has been appointed director of the Memory and Aging Program at Butler Hospital and professor of psychiatry and human behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School. He will begin his appointment on February 1, 2023.

Dr. Huey is coming to Brown from Columbia University, where he has been the director of the Frontotemporal Dementia Center since 2021 and an associate professor of psychiatry and neurology in the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain. He also serves as the leader of the Columbia Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center Outreach, Recruitment, and Education Core and medical director of Columbia’s Huntington’s Disease Society of America Center of Excellence.

Dr. Huey’s research has focused on patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and related disorders. He is interested in the neuroanatomical basis, assessment, and treatment of behavioral and neuropsychiatric symptoms in neurodegenerative disorders including AD and FTLD. He is also interested in the phenotypes of genetic forms of neurodegenerative disorders including AD, FTLD, and Huntington’s disease.

As director of the Memory and Aging Program, Dr. Huey will oversee the program’s clinical, research, and community outreach operations. He will guide the program’s work with health care providers, community groups, other research organizations, and members of the Rhode Island community who are interested in and willing to participate in Alzheimer’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease related dementia (ADRD) research. With his extensive experience in clinical research and clinical trials, Dr. Huey will lead the Memory and Aging Program in its growth and spark collaboration across the Division of Biology and Medicine and its affiliated hospitals, the Carney Institute for Brain Science, and the Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research.

Research and clinical care for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are critically important for our region and we are thrilled to have a physician-scientist of Dr. Huey’s caliber to lead these efforts. Please join us in welcoming Dr. Huey to Brown and Butler Hospital.

Sincerely,

Mukesh K. Jain
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences
Brown University

Mary Marran, MS, OT, MBA
President and Chief Operating Officer
Butler Hospital

2022

November 15, 2022

Dear BioMed Community,

I am writing to share with you that Jeremiah (Jay) Schuur, MD, MHS, Frances Weeden Gibson-Edward A. Iannuccilli, MD, Professor of Emergency Medicine and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine, has decided to step down at the end of November. 

A graduate of the Brown Emergency Medicine Residency Program, Dr. Schuur returned to Brown to serve as chair in 2018. Under his leadership, the Department of Emergency Medicine formed the front line of defense against COVID-19 for the state of Rhode Island. In the early days of the pandemic, virtually all testing in the state was done through the emergency departments at Lifespan by members of the Department of Emergency Medicine. The Lifespan emergency departments made numerous operational changes to safely care for COVID patients and protect staff before vaccines became available. In the winter of 2020-2021, the department played a critical role in Lifespan’s field hospital, providing the majority of physician care. The department also played major roles in COVID research including as a key specimen collection area for the COVID-19 Biobank at Brown and Lifespan and as a site for clinical trials of therapeutics.

Dr. Schuur was involved in many clinical improvements at Lifespan ranging from helping establish the Physician Administrative Triage Officer of the Day (PATOD) at Rhode Island Hospital to improvements to the Rhode Island Hospital daily safety briefing and Epicenter. 

Under Dr. Schuur’s leadership research funding in the department for Emergency Medicine faculty has grown and now ranks among the nation’s leaders. Emergency Medicine’s educational programs have also grown and strengthened and matched increasingly competitive and diverse candidates.

Dr. Schuur brought financial stability to a department that had been challenged with five straight years of operating losses prior to his arrival. As a member of the board of directors of Brown Physicians, Inc. (BPI), Dr. Schuur helped lead work to further integrate BPI as a physician-led, academic multispecialty practice.

Dr. Linda Brown, Vice Chair of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Professor of Emergency Medicine, and Professor of Pediatrics will serve as interim chair of Emergency Medicine effective December 1. A national search will be undertaken in 2023.

Dr. Schuur will return to the faculty to continue patient care. Please join me in thanking him for his contributions to Brown and its affiliated hospitals.

Sincerely,

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

November 15, 2022

Dear BioMed Community,

I am excited to share the news that Brown, Care New England and Lifespan have entered into an aligned research collaboration agreement that will establish a unified approach to administering health and medical research. I am forwarding a copy of the news release that was issued earlier today.

While this is an initial step toward an aligned research infrastructure, it’s an important milestone, and one that has been decades in the making. Since I arrived at Brown in March, I have heard often from our researchers and research-support staff how better cooperation among Brown, CNE and Lifespan would improve their productivity and allow them to focus on their work. I am confident that we will be able to work together in the next phase of this collaboration to achieve our goals of increasing efficiency and innovation, and spurring research that will have impact that is felt both locally and around the world.

Please continue reading below for more details about this agreement. I look forward to sharing updates with you as we move forward.

Sincerely,

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

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Brown, Lifespan, Care New England sign agreement to align research operations

The new agreement will create a unified, streamlined approach to administering health and medical research, positioning physicians and scientists to conduct more research to benefit patients and populations.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — For decades, researchers at Brown University and the Lifespan and Care New England health systems have envisioned a unified approach to conducting health and medical research that would streamline operations and strategically align the institutions’ research priorities. Now, with the signing of a new aligned research collaboration (ARC) agreement, the vision is one step closer to reality.

The three organizations came to the agreement guided by shared principles and goals. Chief among them is to build a more innovative and efficient approach to conducting research that could ultimately provide greater benefits to Rhode Island, the nation and the world. Currently, overcoming administrative boundaries of conducting research across the universities and health systems can impede progress on important research, and the separation of the three entities can create obstacles to achieving the scale needed for major research grants and collaborations that could lead to breakthroughs.

Under the terms of the ARC, the health systems agreed to align their research operations with Brown’s Division of Biology and Medicine, which includes the Warren Alpert Medical School, and the Brown University School of Public Health in a unified enterprise that will leverage the distinctive strengths of each institution.

The agreement will help Brown, Lifespan and Care New England compete for larger funding opportunities by combining strengths in state-of-the-art research infrastructure, core facilities and specialized equipment. And that cooperative strength will provide new opportunities for clinical trials, allowing Rhode Islanders more access to cutting-edge therapies locally.

“For years, our medical school and public health faculty, many of whom are physician-scientists based in our affiliated hospitals, have said that having three distinct research operations creates undue administrative burden that can at times discourage collaboration that could lead to exciting new biomedical discoveries and benefits for communities,” said Brown University President Christina H. Paxson. “Coming together with Lifespan and Care New England on this shared vision marks a major step forward in enabling our world-class researchers to achieve even greater impact.”

The joint approach to research administration will be governed by a Joint Executive Council with representation from all three institutions led by the dean of medicine and biological sciences at Brown. Financially, each institution will continue to support the research enterprise at existing funding levels, and Brown has committed to investing an additional $20 to $25 million once the agreement is fully operationalized. 

Establishing the unified operation is intended to spur research programs with high potential to translate into patient therapies and interventions, by strengthening connections between the basic sciences and clinical research. Doing so will accelerate the process of applying discoveries that enhance the detection and treatment of disease, said Dr. Mukesh K. Jain, dean of medicine and biological sciences at Brown.

“Both Lifespan and Care New England have impactful research portfolios with great talent,” Jain said. “Bringing them together with Brown will allow us all to expand on our existing assets in ways that benefit patients in our community and beyond. The vision being advanced in this agreement integrates research from laboratory to clinical trials to outcomes at the population level across key biomedical domains. I am unaware of any institution regionally or nationally that aligns investigative efforts across the entirety of the research continuum.”

Forming a Joint Executive Council

The ARC agreement was developed jointly in recent months and signed in early November. It outlines the formation of a four-member Joint Executive Council that will provide oversight on the organizations’ work to unify research operations. The parties agreed to a phased approach to implementing essential elements of the ARC — the agreement marks the first phase and will launch discussions on how to fully operationalize the effort, with the Joint Executive Council ultimately needing to approve separate financial and operational plans before final implementation, expected over the next 12 to 18 months.

“This agreement is an initial, but very important, step in aligning research across Brown, Lifespan and Care New England,” said Dr. James E. Fanale, CEO and president of Care New England. “We are confident that from here, we can move forward with operationalizing the plan and putting it into practice.”

The ARC’s operational plan will cover topics including research integrity and compliance, institutional review boards and use of research facilities. It will also outline details about research infrastructure, such as staffing for the numerous positions required to operate research organizations successfully.

The benefits of research alignment are significant, including for patients and residents across the region, leaders from the organizations say. 

“By fortifying and streamlining our research efforts, I believe we will also be more competitive in recruiting and retaining the best and brightest faculty, staff and trainees in biomedical and health sciences,” said Arthur Sampson, interim CEO and president of Lifespan.

Ronald Aubert, interim dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, said that streamlining processes involved in research administration will be one of the beneficial outcomes of this collaboration — the efficiencies enabled will lead to research productivity that can ultimately benefit patients and populations.

“Having separate administrative structures slows down the research process,” Aubert said. “Currently, if a Brown-based researcher needs to collaborate with a hospital-based faculty member to complete the goals of grant-funded research, they have to work within the often duplicative processes of each system. What we hope to accomplish as we work through the operations piece of this collaboration is to empower our scientists, public health experts and physicians to do their research, not more paperwork.”

While the agreement is not a merger subject to federal or state merger regulations, the organizations are jointly committed to compliance with the strict federal regulations governing research by which each individually abides now.

The agreement comes after Brown recently released its final Operational Plan for Investing in Research, which provides a roadmap for expanding scholarship with the goal of strengthening the positive impact that Brown research has across the world. The University is also investing in new capital projects to expand research capacity. Planning is underway for a new integrated life sciences building; Brown intends to serve as anchor tenant in a public-private life sciences development; and the University signed a new lease for wet lab space at Wexford Science & Technology’s Point 225 building. Each of these projects is located in Providence’s Jewelry District in close proximity to the Warren Alpert Medical School and Care New England and Lifespan hospitals.

November 2, 2022 

Dear Members of the BioMed Community,

We were dismayed to learn of recent bias incidents on and around the Brown campus targeting marginalized groups including Jewish, Black, Asian, LGBTQ+ and other underrepresented individuals. We are writing to underscore the message from Vice Presidents Carey-Butler and Estes sent to the Brown community yesterday. We condemn all forms of discrimination and hate and will not tolerate them in our learning community.

Such events are deeply troubling and contribute to feelings of anxiety, fear, and anger. Our learning environment is meant to nurture intellectual curiosity, meaningful inquiry and exceptional clinical care; bigotry and intolerance threaten the very core of who we are. The leadership of the Division is here to support you and you should feel free to reach out to us at any time. Please find a list of additional resources below.

We remain committed to ensuring the safety, respect and well-being of every student, staff and faculty member.     

Sincerely,

Mukesh K. Jain, MD                                                        B. Star Hampton, MD
Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences                      Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education

Patricia Poitevien, MD                                                    Roxanne Vrees, MD
Senior Associate Dean for Diversity,                                Associate Dean for Student Affairs
Equity and Inclusion

Edward Hawrot, PhD                                                     Kimberly A. Galligan, MBA 
Senior Associate Dean for the                                         Vice President for Clinical Affairs and Strategy
Program in Biology                                                          and Chief Operating Officer

Michele G. Cyr, MD                                                         Kate Smith, PhD
Senior Associate Dean for                                                Senior Associate Dean of Biology Education
Academic Affairs

Additional Resources

● Undergraduate and graduate students may reach out to Student Support; the Biology Undergraduate Education Office; the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies; any of the Program in Liberal Medical Education deans; and Counseling and Psychological Services, which can be reached at 863-3476.
● Medical students may also reach out to Counseling and Psychological Services therapists including the med student therapist Laurice Girouard, who can be reached at 863-3476.
● Faculty, staff, and postdocs can access counseling and support services administered by New Directions, Brown's Faculty/Staff Assistance Program. Phone: 800-624-5544 (Call anytime and mention Brown coverage) Online: eap.ndbh.com (Company Code: Brown University)
● All members of the community can reach out to the Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life, which can be reached at 863-2344 or via their website. The Medical School’s wellness website also contains information helpful to all members of our community.

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Dear Brown Community,

Our country continues to experience deeply troubling and disturbing levels of division, intolerance and discrimination. On Sunday afternoon, staff at Brown RISD Hillel discovered an antisemitic note in a reception area, and this follows reports in recent weeks of other incidents against Jewish, Black, Asian, LGBTQ+ and other underrepresented individuals on campus and in the surrounding community.

Brown, like many campuses, has begun to see more incidents of bias against underrepresented communities and communities of color, including racist and antisemitic graffiti, slurs yelled at LGBTQ students and ethnic minorities from vehicles on streets surrounding campus, and messages left in public places that seek to offend or intimidate. Some of these acts may be fueled by national news and incidents being reported in popular media. This is contributing to anxiety, fear and frustration among some members of our community, and we’re writing to share the steps Brown continues to take to respond to these incidents and offer resources and support to our community.

When alerted to bias incidents, Brown’s Department of Public Safety takes immediate steps to pursue available evidence and to engage Providence Police in circumstances when a crime falls within the city’s jurisdiction. We also ensure there is outreach to the community most directly affected by the incident to provide information and offer support services. In the case of the note left at Brown RISD Hillel, the staff took immediate steps to alert Public Safety and the Providence Police, and sent a message to the BRH community sharing that detectives have opened an investigation into the incident, which remains ongoing. Public Safety officers were able to determine quickly that there was no current threat to Jewish members of our campus community.

A wide range of resources and support options are available to any member of our community, and we are sharing those below. If you have any information about this incident or any other incidents that may be helpful or relevant to the investigation, please share that information directly with DPS. You may reach DPS by calling 401-863-3322, or share information anonymously through DPS’s Silent Witness Reporting. If you observe or experience a bias incident, immediately contact DPS at 401-863-3322 and notify the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity through the bias incident reporting process.

Brown cannot tolerate and must continue to condemn as a community any anti-Semitism, anti-Black racism, anti-Asian discrimination, Islamophobia, anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination, acts against undocumented/DACA individuals and immigrants, and other forms of discrimination and hate. As a community of scholars and learners, we must remain steadfast in ensuring that every student, staff and faculty member feels supported, included and valued for who they are.

We must work together to continue the important work of being a campus that values the experiences and perspectives of people of all races, religions, genders, sexual orientations, abilities and other identities, and where people treat each other every day with respect.

Sincerely,

Sylvia Carey Butler
Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity

Eric Estes
Vice President for Campus Life & Student Services

 

STUDENT RESOURCES

Brown Center for Students of Color:

https://www.brown.edu/campus-life/support/students-of-color/

Brown RISD Hillel: http://www.brownrisdhillel.org

Counseling and Psychological Services:

https://www.brown.edu/campus-life/support/counseling-and-psychological-services/

Global Brown Center for International Students:

https://www.brown.edu/globalbrowncenter/

Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity Resource List of Centers and Programs

https://www.brown.edu/about/administration/institutional-diversity/resources/campus-resources-students-faculty-staff-and-alumni/centers-and-programs

Student Support Services:

https://www.brown.edu/offices/student-support/student-support-services

EMPLOYEE RESOURCES

Brown University Ombudsperson:

https://www.brown.edu/ombudsperson/

Faculty/Staff Assistance Program:

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

ALL-COMMUNITY RESOURCES

Office of the Chaplains:

https://www.brown.edu/campus-life/spiritual-life/chaplains/

Incident Reporting:

https://www.brown.edu/about/administration/institutional-diversity/incident-reporting

Reporting a Crime:

https://dps.brown.edu/clery-crime-reporting/reporting-crime-or-incident

October 25, 2022 

Dear BioMed Community,

I am writing to share with you that following a 40-year career as a faculty member at Brown, Steven A. Rasmussen, MD, MMS, Mary E. Zucker Professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, has decided to step down. Dr. Rasmussen has served as chair since 2009 and has led the department through a remarkable period of growth and success.

Dr. Rasmussen arrived on campus in 1970 as an undergraduate with concentrations in biology and English. He was one of the initial members of the six-year program leading to a Master’s in Medical Science, and one of only four students on the committee that was charged with developing the curriculum for what would become the Program in Medicine in 1972. Dr. Rasmussen continued on to medical school at Brown and was a member of the third graduating class in 1977. As we celebrate 50 Years of Medicine at Brown, we are fortunate to have such a witness to history still an active part of our community.

Dr. Rasmussen served as a medical director at Butler Hospital from 1991 to 2009 and was instrumental in creating the agreement between the two health care systems and Brown that led to the shared chair in Psychiatry, as well as its shared training programs. He was also a major force in the founding of the Brown Institute for Brain Science, which preceded the Carney Institute.

During his tenure as chair, the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior (DPHB) has grown to encompass nearly 500 faculty members. These psychiatrists and psychologists work in every one of our affiliated teaching hospitals, caring for people across the lifespan from young children and adolescents, to adults, to the elderly, forming what is truly the backbone of the mental health system in Rhode Island. In addition, the department has grown to be a robust training site, with two psychiatry and four psychology residencies, five psychiatry fellowships, and four clinical psychology postdoctoral fellowships.

The Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior‘s total annual external funding reached $67 million in the past year. In addition to three COBRE awards, DPHB has six NIH-funded T32s and two NIH-funded R25s for psychology and psychiatric residents interested in pursuing research careers. These programs have supported the growth and development of junior faculty into independent research scientists. Over the past decade, Dr. Rasmussen has also developed departmental research cores in quantitative sciences/statistics, implementation science, neuroimaging, and qualitative science to support DPHB investigators.

Through the dedicated work of DPHB vice chairs Beth McQuaid, Tracey Guthrie, Audrey Tyrka, and Larry Brown, the department has also become an exemplar for integrating a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion across all educational, clinical, and research activities. The DPHB has both an Anti-Racism Steering Committee, charged with guiding departmental leaders in developing and continuously improving anti-racist policies, practices, and climates, and a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Committee that supports the recruitment and orientation of trainees. In addition, the department is among the first to implement a policy that requires faculty seeking appointment and reappointment to complete one or two hours, respectively, of DEI or anti-racism education annually. The department received the initial Brown Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan Community Award for their efforts in this area.

In addition to his administrative roles, Dr. Rasmussen has been an outstanding researcher and clinician in his own right. An expert on obsessive-compulsive disorder, he was involved in designing the clinical trials of the serotonin reuptake inhibitors for OCD as well as developing the gold standard scale for clinical trials in the field, the Yale Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale. He is an author on the top five articles cited on OCD and was the fourth recipient of the International OCD Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014. Continuously funded by the NIH since 1995, his most recent research interests have been focused on neurosurgical approaches to intractable OCD. This work led to the first U.S. gamma knife surgery for OCD as well as the first deep brain stimulation (DBS) implant for OCD in the U.S. and the first worldwide DBS implant for depression. 

A national search will begin this fall and Dr. Rasmussen will stay on until a new chair is in place. He will then return to the faculty to continue his research and patient care part time. Please join me in thanking Dr. Rasmussen for his many contributions to Brown and its affiliated hospitals.

Sincerely,

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

October 20, 2022

Dear BioMed Community,

I am excited to share news of Brown University's gift of $5 million to Care New England in support of the new labor, delivery, and recovery pavilion to be constructed at Women & Infants Hospital. The health system announced the gift today, and I am forwarding a copy of Brown’s news release, which followed CNE’s announcement. I’m pleased to be able to share more about this new addition to the hospital with you.

The new Brown University Labor and Delivery Center will be a state-of-the-art facility designed to meet the needs of birthing families from our community and their medical providers. Emerging data show that there is a clear link between health care settings and safe clinical outcomes, and the labor and delivery units in the new center will create an exceptional environment to advance even further our faculty’s clinical excellence. As Women & Infants is a core training site for our medical students, the Labor and Delivery Center will give medical students the opportunity to learn in a facility designed to improve outcomes and provide patient-centered care.

Brown’s support for CNE’s labor and delivery center reflects the important partnership between Brown and Care New England, as well as the University’s investment in the health of families in our region. Please continue reading below to learn more about Brown’s gift and the Labor and Delivery Center.

Sincerely,

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

Support from Brown to help create new labor, delivery center at Women & Infants Hospital

Upon completion, the Brown University Labor and Delivery Center will offer an exceptional birth and recovery environment for families from across the region.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A $5 million gift from Brown University will support plans by Care New England — one of Rhode Island’s major health care systems and an affiliate of Brown’s Warren Alpert Medical School —  to build a new, technologically advanced labor and delivery center at Women & Infants Hospital.

In recognition of the gift, CNE will name its state-of-the-art facility the Brown University Labor and Delivery Center, which will be designed to meet the specific needs of birthing families from Rhode Island and the surrounding region and their dedicated medical providers.

Care New England announced the gift on Thursday, Oct. 20.

Dr. James E. Fanale, president and CEO of Care New England, said that four out of five families from Rhode Island give birth at Women & Infants, the leading innovator in the fields of normal and high-risk obstetrics and neonatology. While the hospital’s existing labor and delivery suite has served patients well for more than 35 years, evolving medical protocols, technologies and patient expectations necessitate an update.

“The redesigned and expanded labor and delivery center will provide an exceptional environment to support Women & Infants Hospital’s excellence and commitment to world-class medical care, and it would not be possible without our deep, long-standing relationship with our academic partner, Brown University,” Fanale said. “The University’s investment will anchor efforts to build a facility that will have a tremendously positive impact on regional health care and will benefit a significant proportion of people giving birth in the region, and their families, for generations to come.”

The $5 million gift adds to philanthropic support received to date toward what’s estimated to be a $28 million construction project. Brown President Christina H. Paxson said the University embraces the opportunity to support the care of women and families in Rhode Island, as well as the many accomplished medical practitioners at Women & Infants who serve as faculty members at the Warren Alpert Medical School.

“Brown’s support for the labor and delivery center not only reflects the important partnership between Brown and Care New England, but it also demonstrates how cooperation across institutions can serve the people of Rhode Island and elevate the level of health care in the state,” Paxson said. “Close coordination between physicians and researchers translates to excellent medical care and patient outcomes, and we’re pleased to support this project and the health of families from across the region.”

CNE expects to begin construction on the Brown University Labor and Delivery Center in early 2023.

“The project to create this new labor and delivery center is driven by our commitment to providing the best possible care to patients and their families and elevating clinical practice,” said Dr. Methodius Tuuli, chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Women & Infants Hospital and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the medical school. “For patients, the new center will support a more personalized birth experience. For medical and academic partners, it will offer improved clinical team communication and an enhanced ability to recruit and retain top clinical and research talent.”

Paxson noted that Brown and CNE remain in ongoing conversations about additional measures of support from Brown to ensure strong and productive partnerships between the University and the health system

 

October 14, 2022

Dear Members of the BioMed Community, 

The Program in Liberal Medical Education, one of Brown University’s signature academic programs, was established in 1984 to allow students interested in a career in medicine access to the full opportunities presented by the Open Curriculum. Grounded in the belief that physicians should be liberally and holistically educated, the PLME has prepared hundreds of alumni for successful careers in medicine. They have gone on to acclaim in academic medicine, in research, and in clinical practice, with many working in underserved communities thanks to the lessons in social responsibility learned at Brown. The PLME continues to be one of the main routes of admission to The Warren Alpert Medical School and a hallmark of Brown’s innovative approach to medical education.

From time to time, academic programs undergo review in order to ensure that they are staying true to their purpose, meeting the needs of students, and providing a high-caliber educational experience. During the past year, the PLME has undergone both internal and external reviews–the most extensive in its 38-year history. I am writing to share with you the recommendations from those reviews and outline initial actions the Division of Biology and Medicine is taking to address them.

The Review Process

The review process began in September 2021 with an internal review co-chaired by then-Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education Allan R. Tunkel, MD, PhD, and Senior Associate Dean of Biology Education Kate Smith, PhD. This review included a survey of PLME alumni and current students, which yielded a 58-percent response rate. The internal review included interviews of current students in both the undergraduate and medical school years of the PLME; focus groups; and internal data on student outcomes in the program, in addition to the surveys. This process concluded in February 2022.

In March 2022, Provost Richard Locke requested an external review, which was conducted by a three-member committee composed of medical educators at peer institutions. The process culminated in a letter with a summary overview and recommendations from Provost Locke, as chair of the Academic Priorities Committee of the University, which was received this summer.

Findings and Recommendations

All three reports agreed that the Program in Liberal Medical Education continues to be a successful signature program of Brown University and The Warren Alpert Medical School, as measured by longevity, graduation rate, and satisfaction among its students and graduates. Moreover, it serves an important role in empowering people with different perspectives and backgrounds to enter the field of medicine.

The reports recommended that more advising for PLME students in the undergraduate years would improve preparation for medical school. They also recommended creating more opportunities for clinical and research experiences and building a stronger continuum between the undergraduate experience and medical school.

The Division is taking the following initial actions to begin addressing the suggestions made by the review process:

1. New Leadership Structure for the PLME. Senior Associate Dean for Biology and Curricular Affairs Kate Smith, PhD, in her newly expanded role, and Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education B. Star Hampton, MD, will share oversight of the Program in Liberal Medical Education. They will co-chair a new PLME Advisory Committee, fostering close alignment between the undergraduate and medical school portions of the program.

A search for a new Associate Dean for the Program in Liberal Medical Education will launch this month. This individual will report directly to Dean Smith with a dotted reporting line to Dean Hampton. Judy Jang, MD, assistant professor of medicine, clinician educator, has been serving as interim associate dean for the PLME since January of this year.

2. Established a New PLME Advisory Committee. The new PLME Advisory Committee includes Brown academic administrators, faculty members, academic staff, PLME alumni, and current students. These members bring unique knowledge and skills that augment those of the PLME leadership and will advise on the recommendations raised by the review process. The committee serves to provide strategic direction, offer innovative advice and dynamic perspectives, guide quality improvement, invite perspectives from around campus, and assess program effectiveness. The Committee does not have formal authority over the PLME and therefore cannot issue directives. A list of current committee members can be found below. 

3. Enhancing PLME Advising. Two new assistant deans for PLME advising have joined the team. Liza Aguiar, MD, is an Assistant Professor of Surgery (Urology) and Pediatrics, and an alumna of the PLME. Paul Christopher, MD, is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, and also serves as a Mary B. Arnold Mentor at the Medical School. This brings the number of advising deans available to undergraduate students to seven, including the Associate Dean of Medicine, PLME, who oversees the program.

In addition, the leadership of the PLME will foster closer ties between the College and the Office of Biology Undergraduate Education, which will facilitate advisor cross-training, alignment, and support.

These initial steps will be augmented and expanded as the new advisory committee begins its work and a permanent associate dean for the PLME is appointed.

I would like to thank all of the alumni, students, faculty, and staff who shared their feedback and ideas during the review process. Your input, as well as that of the external reviewers, has given us actionable insights into how we can continue to serve our students, The Warren Alpert Medical School, and the community at large with an outstanding PLME.

Sincerely,

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

 

PLME Advisory Committee Membership

Ex officio membership

  • Senior Associate Dean of Medical Education (Co-Chair)
    At present, Star Hampton, MD
  • Senior Associate Dean of Biology Education (Co-Chair)
    - At present, Kate Smith, PhD
  • Associate Dean of PLME (Vice Chair)
    At present, Interim Judy Jang '03 MD'07
  • Division Chief Wellness Officer
    At present, Kelly Holder, PhD
  • Associate Dean of Medical Education
    - At present, Sarita Warrier, MD
  • Senior Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion from the College
    - At present, Maitrayee Bhattacharyya, PhD
  • Evaluation Director for the Program in Biology
    At present, Judy Kimberly, PhD

Term membership (2-year term with option for renewal)

  • PLME alum within last 5-10 years
    - Christina Mata MD'22
  • PLME alum within last 5-10 years 
    - Douglas Villalta MD'22
  • Brown STEM faculty member 
    - Professor of Neuroscience Carlos Aizenman
  • Brown Humanities and/or Social Sciences faculty member 
    - Professor of English James Egan
  • PLME undergraduate senior 
    - Keyana Zahiri '23 MD'27
  • PLME medical student in years 1 or 2
    - Andrew Aultman '21 MD'25
  • PLME medical student in year 3 
    Nicole Bencie '19 MD'23

 

October 7, 2022

Dear Members of the BioMed Community, 

We are pleased to co-sponsor an exciting day of exposure to medicine, mentorship, and networking, as we strengthen and diversify the future of health care. The Black Men in White Coats Youth Summit at Brown University is on Saturday, October 29, 2022, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Students in third grade through college, parents, educators, health care professionals, and community leaders are welcome to attend.

The facts are alarming; while Black male medical students accounted for 3.1% of the national medical student body in 1978, in 2019, they accounted for just 2.9%. These facts require immediate action.

The Black Men in White Coats (BMiWC) organization seeks to increase the number of Black men in the field of medicine and public health through exposure, inspiration, and mentoring. To accomplish this, the organization sponsors youth summits at medical schools across the country to help students visualize their path to a career in medicine. We are excited to bring this program to Rhode Island to support children in our local communities.

This free program includes:

  • A keynote address by Dr. Dale Okorodudu, founder of Black Men in White Coats;
  • Talks by current medical students, resident physicians, and health care providers;
  • “How to Raise a Doctor” session for parents and guardians.

Please note that a parent or guardian must accompany students under 18. Registration is required.

We ask that you please share this event with the children and families in your organizations and social networks. We look forward to welcoming them to Brown for this fantastic day as we work to change the face of medicine and public health to better represent our diverse society.
 

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

Ronald Aubert, PhD, MSPH
Interim Dean, School of Public Health
Brown University

 

September 27, 2020

Dear BioMed Community Members,

I am pleased to share that Dean Katherine (Kate) Smith, PhD, will be taking on a broader set of responsibilities in the Division of Biology and Medicine as the Senior Associate Dean for Biology Education. These changes will bring biology graduate studies and joint oversight of the Program in Liberal Medical Education under Dean Smith’s purview.

Dean Smith joined the Division as a faculty member in 2008 and was appointed Associate Dean in 2015. She was promoted to Senior Associate Dean in 2021 in recognition of her efforts to grow and strengthen the undergraduate Biology Program and formalize a new unit, Biology Education, which is the appointment home for Lecturer track faculty members in Biology, faculty teaching associates, and adjunct faculty members contributing teaching in programs including the Biotechnology master of science degree. Dean Smith is Associate Professor of Medical Science and a member of my leadership council.

Dean Smith is responsible for leading a robust and innovative curriculum and co-curriculum that supports ten undergraduate concentrations, ~4,000 student enrollments in Biology Program courses, and includes faculty spanning more than five departments within the Division of Biology and Medicine. Dean Smith has built partnerships with departments outside of the Division to support interdisciplinary concentrations in Applied Mathematics-Biology, Computational Biology, Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Biomedical Engineering. She has worked to grow and support new research opportunities for undergraduates from sustained CURE courses to the new Maria L. Caleel ’87 Memorial Undergraduate Biology Research Fellowship. She is the Chair of the Biology Program’s general Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan and she has worked closely with the College and Provost’s Office as a member of the College Curriculum Council, Education Innovation Planning Committee, and Academic Continuity Committee.

While I’ve only known her a brief time, it is clear Dean Smith embodies our values of integrity, creativity, collaboration, and education through active engagement (among others). Dean Smith has helped to create and teach new courses and curricula, including Planetary Health, which she offers in our medical school and undergraduate programs. In her role as Associate Professor she is working with colleagues on a longitudinal integration of Planetary Health into the medical school curriculum. She is a committed mentor and a generous colleague. When Dean Tunkel retired, Dean Smith did not hesitate to step in to lead multiple programs and projects, including the internal and external reviews of the Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME).

As part of her expanded role, Dean Smith will now provide leadership, oversight, and the guidance for the strategic vision for the totality of undergraduate and graduate educational offerings within the Division’s Program in Biology. Dean Smith will ensure that we offer evidence-based, robust, and inclusive educational opportunities supported by clear advising and mentoring structures. Dean Smith will have direct leadership of five units, including: Biology Undergraduate Education, Biology Graduate Studies; the Division’s Multidisciplinary Teaching Laboratories; Biology Education (which is the appointment home for lecturer track faculty, adjunct faculty, and teaching associates in the Biology Program); and, finally she will work collaboratively with our new Senior Associate Dean of Medical Education B. Star Hampton to oversee the PLME. Dean Smith will continue as a member of my leadership council, where she will contribute to the Division’s broad strategic goals and represent the needs and contributions of Biology’s education programs.

I’m thankful to Dean Smith for her willingness to take on this expanded portfolio and I know the programs and associated faculty, staff, and students will benefit from her wisdom and expertise. Please join me in congratulating Dean Smith on this new role.

Sincerely,

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

September 21, 2022

Dear Division of Biology and Medicine Community,

I am writing to share the news that Senior Associate Dean for the Program in Biology Edward Hawrot, PhD, has decided to step down from this role effective June 30, 2023. Dean Hawrot has held this position since 2007 and served on the senior leadership councils of three deans. While it would be impossible to capture the breadth and depth of his contributions to the Division of Biology and Medicine in this one letter, I’d like to highlight those that have had the greatest impact on Brown and the State of Rhode Island.

After earning his PhD in biochemistry at Harvard, Dean Hawrot joined the faculty at Yale, where he spent 10 years in the Department of Pharmacology. In 1990, he came to Brown as a professor of medical science and chair of what was then the Section of Molecular and Biochemical Pharmacology. He was appointed the inaugural chair of the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Biotechnology in 1995 and the Upjohn Professor of Pharmacology in 2001.

Dean Hawrot has maintained an active research lab focused on understanding the structure and function of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors and of the neurotoxins that target them. In addition, he has served as an advisor to undergraduate students and mentored dozens of PhD and master’s students, as well as participants in the Leadership Alliance’s programs at Brown. His natural orientation has always been toward helping his colleagues grow and succeed. He did this by seeking grants that would establish core facilities, increasing capacity by sharing equipment and instrumentation, and by bringing awareness to funding opportunities. He spearheaded the creation of a BioBank at Brown that stores serum and tissue samples from across the clinical sites and supports a wide array of studies.  

In order to fully appreciate Dean Hawrot’s impact, one has to imagine the very different research landscape that existed in Rhode Island in the late 1990s and early 2000s. There was a paucity of collaborations between Brown and other academic institutions such as University of Rhode Island. Dean Hawrot envisioned that working cooperatively would not only benefit researchers at Brown, the affiliated hospitals, and other academic institutions but also position Rhode Island to compete with other states for major initiatives.

To that end, Dean Hawrot became part of the pre-proposal committee and then program director for a National Science Foundation EPSCoR award that was ultimately awarded to URI and Brown. This absolutely changed the course of research collaboration at Brown. Dean Hawrot’s success demonstrated that there was strength in working with our neighbors and with leaning into Rhode Island’s status as both an EPSCoR and a National Institutes of Health Institutional Development Award (IDeA) state. This work led to the creation of RI-IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (RI-INBRE), a statewide network designed to build the biomedical research capacity of Rhode Island institutions, as well as attracted numerous Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) awards to BioMed, the affiliated hospitals, and URI. I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that Dean Hawrot is one of the most influential voices in the state of Rhode Island when it comes to catalyzing research growth and opportunity.

All of Dean Hawrot’s work in this area culminated in the 2016 Center for Translational Research award to Brown. The $19.5 million grant, of which Dean Hawrot is the program coordinator, has been a game changer for Brown, our affiliated hospitals, and URI. To date, Advance-CTR has funded more than 100 investigators, trained 151 mentors, led to 134 publications, spurred an additional 103 extramural awards, provided 1,370 service consultations, and spun off one company. Dean Hawrot and his colleagues saw the grant through a $19.9 million renewal in 2021 and the addition of a community outreach core.

One of Dean Hawrot’s many talents is knowing how to mobilize to move a big idea forward. At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, he led the effort to gather N95 masks, gloves, and other desperately needed supplies from our research labs and deliver them to our frontline health care workers. This was in addition to helping the University ramp down research operations during the months of quarantine, and then bring it all back online under COVID-restricted operations a few months later.

From my earliest days at Brown, Dean Hawrot has been a trusted advisor as we began planning for an Integrated Life Sciences Building. He’s been through this process before, as part of the building committees for both the Laboratories for Molecular Medicine and Sidney E. Frank Hall for Life Sciences. I know his expertise will be indispensable as we move forward with the ILSB in the coming year.

We will have numerous opportunities to celebrate Dean Hawrot before the end of the academic year. For now, please join me in thanking him for his long and dedicated service to BioMed, to Brown, and to the State of Rhode Island.

Sincerely,

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

September 19, 2022

Dear BioMed Community,

I hope you have all had a wonderful summer and are fully engaged in the new academic year that is upon us. I’d like to take a moment to welcome new members to our community, highlight some of our recent accomplishments, and provide a preview of the year ahead.

During the coming year, we will focus on strengthening the four pillars that uphold our mission: education; research; clinical care; and community engagement while reinforcing a foundational element that permeates all of them: diversity, equity, and inclusion. In doing so we can improve access to careers in medicine and science for individuals from historically underrepresented backgrounds, ensure our discoveries and breakthroughs work for all people, and reach the parts of our community that we know are underserved. While community engagement has always been inherent in our work, we can take a much stronger and active role particularly as we think about how we can address health equity and health care access. I’ll speak to each of the four pillars in more detail below.

Welcome to the Division

Our first-year medical students have been here more than a month already. The 144 new students hail from 28 US states and territories, 20 countries by birth or citizenship, and represent 57 colleges and universities, including 46 students who came through the Program in Liberal Medical Education at Brown. Twenty-seven percent of the class is from backgrounds underrepresented in medicine. Our 34 Gateways to Medicine, Healthcare and Research students also arrived this summer to begin their work toward a Master of Science degree in medical sciences.

This fall we are welcoming 59 new PhD and 75 new master’s students to our BioMed programs. This is a significant increase in new students over the past two years. Twenty-eight percent of individuals in these cohorts are from historically underrepresented groups, exemplifying our continued focus on enhancing diversity and inclusion in the student body. In addition, 69 percent of the students identify as female. We look forward to introducing the new cohorts to the exciting academic and research opportunities throughout our campus and affiliated hospitals.

Our undergraduate programs in biology are as robust as ever, with 10 concentrations to choose from, nearly 100 course offerings throughout the year, and 4,000 students enrolled in them. The program exposes undergraduates to research through practical training in lab techniques, through course-based research experiences, and opportunities for independent study and honors theses with faculty pursuing cutting-edge science from the hospitals and the basic science departments. Of the 1,835 incoming undergraduates, 61 of them are in the Program in Liberal Medical Education—which means, if you can believe it, they are the MD Class of 2030!

Over at the hospitals, 347 new residents and fellows began training in our affiliated residency and fellowship programs. We welcome them and all of our returning students and new faculty to the Division of Biology and Medicine community.

Priorities for the Year

The University has set forth an operational plan for doubling research over the next five to seven years. One of my top priorities this year is to support the recruitment of diverse scientists in our focus areas for growth: aging and its associated diseases, such as cancer and brain disorders; infectious disease and immunology; and RNA biology. Related to our research growth is a second priority—planning and development of the Integrated Life Sciences Building, which was announced earlier this summer. I am particularly excited about the opportunities we’ll have to collaborate more closely with our colleagues in the Brown School of Public Health and the School of Engineering.
We continue to work with our affiliated hospital systems, Lifespan and Care New England, toward aligning our research efforts. This alignment would allow us to streamline processes, enhance collaborations, and jointly advance a shared research vision across the entire biomedical ecosystem. I expect to have further updates on this effort later this fall.

We will also be working with newly appointed Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education Star Hampton, MD, and the Office of Medical Education on a comprehensive review of the Medical School’s curriculum, which is part of our commitment to continuous quality improvement. This review will focus on integrating content on health equity throughout the curriculum.

The well-being of our students, faculty, and staff is of critical importance. Recognizing the need for more support across the Division, I have expanded the scope of the chief wellness officer, Kelly D. Holder, PhD. Now, as a member of my senior BioMed leadership council, Dr. Holder directs programming and advises on the well-being of all students, residents/fellows, faculty, and staff across the Division.

Our priorities also extend beyond our own Brown community. As Rhode Island’s only school of medicine, The Warren Alpert Medical School has an important role in the health care fabric of the state.  Under the direction of Senior Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Patricia Poitevien, MD, MSc, we will look closely this year at where and how we engage with the Rhode Island community and identify areas where we may help improve health care access and health equity.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives

Initiatives aimed at addressing diversity in medicine continue to be a top priority. We have strengthened and increased the number of pathways programs, initiatives that introduce younger students from backgrounds underrepresented in medicine to health care careers and provide mentoring and supports to help them fulfill their goals. This summer, for example, we hosted 10th and 11th graders from Central Falls High School for a Week in Medicine. They participated in workshops that introduced them to careers in health, engaged in hands-on experiences in medicine and science, and received mentorship from Medical School faculty and students.

This fall, the SMART Health and Wellness Clinic will open at Calcutt Middle School in Central Falls, the first SMART clinic in the country to partner with a school of medicine. Thanks to the generosity of The Warren Alpert Foundation, the Medical School will provide a professional pathways program embedded in the school. In addition to accessible health care, students will receive mentoring and support from our faculty and medical students.

In October, we are partnering with the School of Public Health to host a Black Men in White Coats Summit, featuring a keynote address by Black Men in White Coats’ founder, Dr. Dale Okorodudu. The event will bring students from grade 3 through post-baccalaureate and their parents to the Medical School to learn about careers in medicine and how to chart their own course toward their career goals. We are looking forward to welcoming Rhode Island families to what should be an engaging and fun event. 

50 Years of Medicine

Our celebration of 50 Years of Medicine at Brown continues through June of 2023. We have a number of upcoming events planned for the community to come together, including the State of BioMed address on September 29 and The Paul Levinger Professorship Pro Tem in the Economics of Health Care on September 30, presented by Victor Dzau, MD, president of the National Academy of Medicine. We will also have a special area at the University-sponsored WaterFire on October 22, to which all members of our community will be invited. Please watch your email for invitations to these and future events or visit the 50 Years of Medicine at Brown website.

In closing, I would like to wish all of you a productive and successful academic year. This is a pivotal time for the Division of Biology and Medicine, and I appreciate each and every member of this community who is helping us achieve our ambitious goals.

Sincerely,

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

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

December 8, 2022

Dear BioMed Community,

I am pleased to announce that Richard Bennett, PhD, the Charles A. and Helen B. Stuart Professor and interim chair of the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology (MMI), has been appointed as the permanent chair of MMI and Associate Dean for Research Growth and Innovation.

As chair, Dr. Bennett will continue to support and grow the MMI department. Three new faculty will join MMI in 2023 and will expand the department’s research into computational approaches to study emerging epidemics, as well as the role of the gut microbiome in aging and human health. These hires complement existing strengths into understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying human-microbe interactions and their critical roles in disease. They also position the department to collaborate with other BioMed and Brown departments with shared interests in fundamental molecular mechanisms, emerging pathogens, cancer immunology, and aging.

As associate dean, Dr. Bennett will work with the senior associate dean for the Program in Biology to advance the goals of increasing research across the Division; to begin planning for the Integrated Life Sciences Building; and to strategize how we position BioMed to serve the future of science and the needs of its researchers. Dr. Bennett will cultivate increased collaborative activities and support multidisciplinary research endeavors across the biomedical ecosystem. Working with the senior associate dean for the Program in Biology, chairs, and center directors, Dr. Bennett will identify ideas and innovations that will have impact on science at Brown and beyond.

Dr. Bennett completed his undergraduate degree at Cambridge University in 1991, and his PhD at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in the United Kingdom in 1995. He performed postdoctoral studies at Harvard University and at the University of California, San Francisco, prior to coming to Brown in 2006. His laboratory studies the biology of the human fungal pathogen Candida albicans, including the mechanisms used to generate phenotypic diversity. The focus of his work is to understand how Candida species can adapt to grow in multiple niches in the human body using both genetic and epigenetic mechanisms. In addition to his research, Dr. Bennett served for many years as a faculty trainer in, and was co-director of, the Pathobiology Graduate Program, and was also co-PI on the Brown Respiratory Research Training Program.

I look forward to having Dr. Bennett’s counsel and insights to help guide us at this exciting juncture for the Division of Biology and Medicine, with substantial commitments to increasing the impact of research and developing programming for the largest investment in a research facility the University has ever undertaken. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Bennett on this promotion.

Sincerely,

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