In the ’70s, Brown’s medical school and community health department had just begun, and interest in addiction was scattered around Brown and area hospitals.
In 1976 Dr. Stanley Aronson, Brown’s inaugural dean of medicine, recruited David Lewis, M.D. from Harvard to develop an addiction studies program at Brown. With substantial support from President Howard Swearer and key donors, the Center was established by Brown University in 1982 as part of the Division of Biology and Medicine, under the directorship of Dr. Lewis. The Center is one of 20 centers at Brown established by the President of the University to encourage interdisciplinary scholarly work that cuts across traditional department lines. Peter M. Monti, Ph.D. joined the following year.
In 2014, the Center joined the newly established School of Public Health.