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Distributed April 5, 2004
Contact Mark Nickel

Brown University announces new investments in biological sciences,
new partnership agreements with affiliated hospitals

As part of the Plan for Academic Enrichment, the Corporation of Brown University has approved proposals that will bring significant new investments to the Division of Biology and Medicine. New laboratories and an expanded faculty are already under way in the basic biological sciences. The University is committed to expanding its Program in Public Health and providing it a new home. The Medical School and its hospital partners will be working under new agreements.

At its winter meeting on Feb. 28, 2004, the Corporation of Brown University approved a set of proposals to enhance Brown Medical School’s capacity for strategic planning and decision making with its affiliated hospitals and to set the stage for expansion of the University’s Program in Public Health.

The initiatives approved by the Corporation will allow the dean of medicine and biological sciences, for whom a national search is underway, to exercise strategic leadership in matters related to faculty appointment and deployment in clinical departments and to work in closer collaboration with clinical department chairs and hospital leadership.

The Academic Medical Center

From its beginning in the early 1970s, Brown Medical School has built its programs of clinical instruction and research in partnership with affiliated local hospitals. These institutional relationships – the Academic Medical Center – have been mutually dependent and beneficial, supporting both care delivery and clinical medical education.

The Plan for Academic Enrichment incorporates proposals for enhanced individual partnerships between Brown and Lifespan, Care New England, the V.A. Medical Center and Memorial Hospital. Those new partnerships would give the Academic Medical Center greater capacity for strategic planning, an enhanced ability to integrate clinical and academic programs, and greater control and accountability for program quality across all departments. Proposed changes in the partnerships include:

  • each partnership will be overseen by a Senior Executive Partnership Board, including the Brown provost, dean of medicine and biological sciences, the clinical partner’s CEO and an executive to be appointed by the CEO. The dean will serve as chair;
  • designation of the dean of medicine and biological sciences as chief academic officer of each partnership in addition to being the chief academic officer of the Division and the Medical School;
  • development of a comprehensive plan for investments in teaching and research activities, for faculty recruitment that supports academic and clinical priorities, and for agreement on performance standards and assessment of each department;
  • annually the affiliated hospitals and faculty practice plans will commit funds to a Dean’s Academic Enhancement Fund totaling $1.5 million;
  • streamlining of research administration procedures and development of a unified effort for commercialization of intellectual property.

The proposed changes in the Academic Medical Center will set the stage for growth and program enhancements within the Medical School and will strengthen the University’s hand as it recruits a new dean of medicine and biological sciences.

Basic Biological Sciences

The University’s first effort, already underway as part of the Plan for Academic Enrichment, is to invest significantly in basic biological sciences. These investments include:

  • expanding by 30 percent the size of faculty in the life sciences;
  • increasing life sciences laboratory space by 70 percent (a new 168,800-square-foot life sciences research building will be available in spring 2006, and a 105,000-square-foot former factory in the Jewelry District will be ready for service as a life sciences laboratory this fall);
  • expanding new multidisciplinary programs in the life sciences (brain science; genetics, genomics and proteomics; computational molecular biology; environmental change and others);
  • a formal institutional affiliation with the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole.

Public Health

Brown’s nationally prominent Program in Public Health is one of the fastest growing areas in the Division of Biology and Medicine. The Plan for Academic Enrichment and the Division’s own strategic plan call for investments that will solidify the program’s growth to date and position it for significant growth in the next five to seven years.

  • During the next five to seven years, the Division will recruit 17 new tenure-track faculty to enhance educational and research needs within the Program in Public Health.
  • The Department of Community Health, which is the academic unit in which most of the Public Health appointments will be made, will also increase from 54 to 100 full-time faculty, 27 of whom will be tenure-track.
  • The graduate student body within Public Health will double to 160 (110 in the Master of Public Health and Master of Science in biostatistics professional programs, and 50 in other masters and doctoral programs).
  • Undergraduate interest in the Community Health concentration will continue at a high level, with approximately 70 undergraduate concentrators per year.
  • The University has committed to a dedicated building of approximately 150,000 square feet to serve as a home for the Program in Public Health, to consolidate and co-locate its constituent programs, and to accommodate future growth in faculty, student body and academic programs.

Medical School

At its meeting on Saturday, Feb. 28, the Brown University Corporation endorsed developments already underway in the basic biological sciences and authorized the administration to move forward with planning for investments and changes in the Medical School and the Program in Public Health. The Corporation also approved a new set of strategic goals, including:

  • Brown Medical School should rank in the top quartile of U.S. medical schools;
  • The major residencies of Brown Medical School should rank in the top 20 nationally;
  • Brown Medical School and Program in Public Health should plan to increase external research support by 75 percent;
  • Brown Medical School should expand the current size of its student body by roughly a third, to 400 students;
  • Brown Medical school should undertake a pilot project, beginning in fall 2005, to admit an additional eight to 10 medical students from standard four-year pre-medical undergraduate programs;
  • Brown Medical School should design a new integrated curriculum.

During the next five years, the dean of medicine and biological sciences will be provided with an additional $12.5 million for academic purposes, in addition to more than $130 million in capital investments already underway.

History of biological and biomedical research at Brown

Brown Medical School, which graduated its first class in 1975, is well known for its Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME), an innovative program combining college and medical education in an eight-year continuum leading to both the bachelor degree and the M.D. degree. It is different from most medical schools in that the majority of openings for the first-year class are reserved for students who are enrolled in the PLME. Brown awards approximately 80 Doctor of Medicine degrees each year.

Brown has created an administrative structure – the Division of Biology and Medicine – that promotes the intellectual integration of the biological and medical sciences and offers students opportunities to develop flexible, individualized studies. The basic science curriculum is taught on the University campus, where basic science departments are housed; the basic science faculty are actively involved in the academic and research activities of the University. The majority of the clinical departments are housed in the seven affiliated hospitals; most clinical teaching is hospital- or community-based.

The Division of Biology and Medicine comprises Program in Biology (five basic science departments) and the Medical School (13 clinical departments). There are currently 161 campus-based faculty, 481 full-time faculty in the clinical departments, and 217 adjunct, emeritus or visiting faculty. There are also 1,362 clinical voluntary faculty.

Basic Science Departments

  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Microbiology and Molecular Immunology
  • Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry
  • Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology and Biotechnology
  • Neuroscience

Clinical Departments

  • Clinical Neurosciences
  • Community Health
  • Dermatology
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Family Medicine
  • Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Orthopaedics
  • Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry and Human Behavior
  • Radiation Oncology
  • Surgery

Brown-affiliated teaching hospitals

  • Emma Pendelton Bradley Hospital
  • Butler Hospital
  • Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island
  • The Miriam Hospital
  • Rhode Island Hospital
  • The VA Medical Center
  • Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island