I apologize for starting with a lengthy topic, but the storm clouds of change have appeared over the health care landscape in Rhode Island. I have never seen such a disruptive and transformative time during my 46 years in medicine. The risks are great but so are the opportunities.
The major teaching hospitals of the Alpert Medical School (AMS) and other hospitals in Rhode Island are undergoing important changes. Lifespan and Care New England are aggressively competing in the broad market place. Independent Rhode Island hospitals have gone into or have come close to receivership (Landmark in Woonsocket, Westerly Hospital, and Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island in Pawtucket). Charter Care, consisting of Roger Williams and Fatima, has applied to be acquired by a for-profit company from California. Furthermore, hospitals from other states have formed new affiliations in Rhode Island including Brigham and Women’s Hospital, which has affiliations with Memorial and Kent Hospitals.
Doctors in Rhode Island are joining large groups or are being employed by hospitals. Faculty at the Alpert Medical School are fast aligning into larger groups or are being employed by hospitals (e.g. 30 cardiologists who are AMS faculty and have been independently employed are now employees of the Miriam Hospital). One of the most important developments for the Medical School is the effort at Lifespan to create a unified organization to employ our faculty, support the academic mission, and succeed clinically. It is a critical step towards strengthening our Academic Medical Center. This organization will eventually employ the entire Brown faculty at Lifespan as well as community physicians. I regard this effort as one of the most important efforts for Brown in many years. The process will be long, but the outcome will be positive. I am directly involved and President Paxson and Provost Schlissel are strongly supportive.
In other news, I encourage you to read the fourth Biomed Annual Report which is now available online. The stories focus on our faculty and students who are dedicated to transformative and socially responsible research, education and service in the life sciences. We continue to make great strides in 2013 and I am proud to work with such an outstanding group of individuals.
Our faculty are exceptional teachers and mentors and we honor several each year for their outstanding work. This year’s awardees for the Dean’s Awards in Biology and Public Health are:
•Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, Advising and Mentoring in the Biological Sciences- David Rand, PhD, Professor of Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
•Excellence in Graduate and Postdoctoral Teaching and Mentoring in the Biological Sciences- Diane Lipscombe, PhD, Professor of Neuroscience, Department of Neuroscience
•Excellence in Classroom Teaching in Public Health – Kate Carey, PhD, Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies
•Excellence in Mentoring in Public Health- Suzanne Colby, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry & Human Behavior (Research) and Associate Director of the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies
The clinical teaching awards will be announced and celebrated in June at a reception at the Hope Club. I will report on that event in what will probably be my last newsletter to the community as Dean.
Alpert Medical School signed a memorandum of understanding on March 27 with Johnson and Wales University to explore collaborating on the education of our medical students and their physician assistants in a new Physician Assistants program. Physician assistants will be increasingly important in the future world of primary care and team medicine. Starting cooperative educational programs early will be beneficial to both programs. Fortunately, their new physician assistants education building will be just a few blocks from the Medical School building. We will share facilities and have joint educational sessions.
Finally, the Medical School building has a new fitness center on the fourth floor designed for the students. The center has the newest equipment, a general purpose room, and a terrific view. Students will find the new fitness center a place to take a welcome break from studying and lectures.