Members of the Brown Community,

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Jack Elias, a physician-scientist specializing in immunobiology and pulmonary medicine, as the seventh dean of medicine and biological sciences at Brown. Currently chair of internal medicine at Yale Medical School and physician-in-chief at Yale-New Haven Hospital, Dr. Elias assumes the responsibilities of dean on September 1. He succeeds Dr. Edward Wing, who announced earlier this year plans to step down as dean July 1. Provost Mark Schlissel will serve as interim dean during July and August.

The Division of Biology and Medicine encompasses five campus-based biology departments and the Warren Alpert Medical School. The dean of medicine and biological sciences is the strategic and academic leader as well as the chief executive of the Division of Biology and Medicine. Faculty members in the division’s biology departments teach undergraduate, graduate, and medical students, and conduct basic laboratory research. The Alpert Medical School comprises 14 clinical departments with more than 600 full-time faculty based at seven affiliated hospitals or departmentally based practice plans, and nearly 1,000 clinical teaching faculty in private practice. The dean has direct oversight responsibilities for faculty, research, teaching, and students; and finance and administration based on the Brown campus. The dean also manages the medical school’s relationships with its affiliated hospitals and provides intellectual leadership for research by clinical faculty at affiliated hospitals. The dean serves as a member of the President’s Cabinet.

The Division of Biology and Medicine has grown tremendously during the last decade. Three new buildings have been dedicated for research and teaching in the division: Sidney Frank Hall, the Laboratories for Molecular Medicine at 70 Ship Street, and the medical education building at 222 Richmond Street. With its first dedicated home, the Alpert Medical School has increased its class size by more than a fifth to 120 students, and a new MD/MS program for 24 more students focused on primary care and population health is planned for 2015.

The growth has come at a time when the science of biomedicine is quickly advancing and the practice of medicine is rapidly changing. For these dynamic times, both at Brown and in the broader world, we are fortunate to have found in Dr. Elias a leader who has the essential attributes to succeed. He is a world-class scientist, physician, educator and administrator.

Dr. Elias earned his bachelor’s degree and his MD at the University of Pennsylvania. Over the course of his impressive career, in both the clinic and the lab, he has taken on such difficult lung ailments as asthma, pneumonia, pulmonary fibrosis, and the effects of smoking. Dr. Elias has been consistently funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and has earned funding from industry and private foundations, as well. He has published more than 200 peer-reviewed research papers, holds several patents, and has received numerous prestigious honors and awards. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine, serves on the Council of Councils of the NIH, and served on the Advisory Council of the National Heart Blood and Lung Institute (2009-2012), and as president of the Association of American Physicians (2010-11). Dr. Elias has also trained scores of young researchers.

In addition to his significant work as a physician-scientist and educator, Dr. Elias brings to Brown extensive administrative experience both in clinical and academic settings. He has directed outpatient clinics and intensive care programs and other clinical services, and served on many key administrative and academic committees at the Yale School of Medicine. He began in his current positions of chair of medicine and physician-in-chief at Yale-New Haven in 2006.

I am deeply grateful to Provost Schlissel who led the nationwide search that brought Dr. Elias to us, and to the members of the search committee for their months of work that concluded with great success: Dr. Timothy Babineau, President & CEO, Lifespan, President, Rhode Island Hospital, Professor of Surgery; Katherine Bergeron, Professor of Music and Dean of the College; Dr. Jeffrey Borkan, Professor and Chair of Family Medicine; Wayne Bowen, Professor and Chair of Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology and Biotechnology; Honora Burnett, Medical Student class of ’15; Dr. Penelope Dennehy, Professor and Vice-Chair Academic Affairs, Pediatrics; John Donoghue, Professor of Neuroscience and Director, Brown Institute for Brain Science; Dr. Jane Eisen, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior; Dr. Galen Henderson, Trustee Emeritus and medical school alumnus; Dennis Keefe, President and CEO, Care New England; Kimberly Mowry, Professor and Chair, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry; Dr. Louis Rice, Professor and Chair of Medicine; Dr. Sharon Rounds, Professor of Medicine and Chief of Medical Service, Providence VA Medical Center; and Dr. Ira Wilson, Professor and Chair, Health Services, Policy & Practice.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Jack Elias as the new dean of medicine and biological sciences.


Christina H. Paxson