Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1995-1996 index

Distributed June 4, 1996
Contact: Scott Turner

New affiliation agreement signed

Brown medical school and Memorial Hospital plan primary care partnership

Under a new affiliation agreement, Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island will assume chief responsibility for the primary care academic programs of the Brown University School of Medicine. Memorial and Brown will also collaborate to establish a Brown University Center for Primary Care.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Primary care - a cornerstone of successful health care - just received a booster shot. Brown University and Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, two national leaders in primary care, have agreed to an affiliation that will enhance their efforts in teaching, research and service.

The seven-year agreement calls for Memorial Hospital to assume chief responsibility for primary care academic programs in the Brown University School of Medicine. This includes the creation of a Brown University Center for Primary Care, which will be housed in a facility to be built at Memorial Hospital. The center will integrate faculty efforts in teaching and research and help create new programs in primary care and other areas of medicine.

"High-quality primary care is important to the success of health care reform," said Dr. H. Denman Scott, associate dean of medicine (primary care) and physician-in-chief, Memorial Hospital. "This affiliation strengthens Brown's commitment to primary care for its medical students and for residents of Rhode Island. It also speaks to a national need for more primary care physicians."

Unlike specialists, primary care physicians are trained as the principal point of ongoing contact for patients within a health care system. This care covers internal medicine, pediatrics, family medicine and obstetrics and gynecology.

Family practice and family medicine are considered forerunners of primary care. Memorial Hospital, a founding affiliate of the Brown University School of Medicine, began its family practice program in 1973.

The affiliation agreement calls for Memorial Hospital to provide financial support for the academic programs based at its facility. The University will remain responsible for the direction of those academic programs and for efforts in primary care research.

The agreement addresses the lack of research nationwide devoted to primary care, Scott said. "We're looking forward to pursuing research on the major attributes of primary care," he said. These include coordination, continuity and comprehensiveness of care, access to care and advocacy for patients.

"For example, we want to develop statistical indicators that will tell us how well we're doing in providing care to the community," Scott said.

Under the affiliation agreement, issues and efforts related to patient care will be the sole responsibility of Memorial Hospital. The agreement also outlines how Brown and Memorial Hospital will make joint decisions about teaching, research and service.

"The hospital brings to the community talented individuals in primary care, and we believe education enhances our mission to provide that service," said Frank Dietz, president and chief executive officer of Memorial Hospital. "Without the affiliation, the talent of this faculty would be lost to the people of Rhode Island." Memorial Hospital has 55 faculty devoted to primary care.

The affiliation agreement with Memorial Hospital is the first in a series of separate agreements to be negotiated between Brown and its seven affiliated hospitals, said Dr. Donald J. Marsh, dean of medicine and biological sciences. Until now, a single overall agreement had covered Brown's relationship with the affiliated hospitals.

"This new affiliation agreement formally acknowledges the long-standing relationship between Brown University and Memorial Hospital," Marsh said. "It also recognizes the medical school's leadership in the field of primary care medicine. This is a great example of modern science being applied to primary care."