A magazine for friends of the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

For the Love of the Ocean State


Ben Brown ’08 MD’12“There’s a Sense of Responsibility to the Broader Community”

Ben Brown ’08 MD’12

Favorite Thing About Rhode Island: Having access to ocean and woods and camping in one area
Favorite Rhode Island Food: Oysters from Point Judith Pond

When Ben Brown ’08 MD’12 moved back to Rhode Island after finishing his residency and fellowships in ob/gyn and complex family planning care in Chicago, he went to the Department of Motor Vehicles to renew his driver’s license. The clerk was confused. They already had a record of a Benjamin Brown who lived on that same street.

That made sense—because it was him. He had just moved back to the same street as his medical school apartment. “I do have that classic Rhode Island story of living within a one-square-mile radius for many years of my life,” he jokes.

Brown grew up in Rhode Island and the suburbs of Boston and came to Providence right out of high school, through the PLME. The plan was always to practice in the Ocean State, but to get out
into the world to learn first.

“Rhode Island is home to me, so the goal was always that I would do my residency and fellowship somewhere else to spend time living somewhere else and learn how things are done in another place, and then come home to provide care where I grew up,” says the assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, clinician educator.

Rhode Island, he says, “is a special place,” one that “provides rich opportunities for building community. I get to know patients and the communities that they live in because it’s a small state.”

He says his background makes him feel more grounded too, and makes a bigger difference than if he were working in a larger, more spread-out community. “There’s tremendous opportunity to collaborate with all sorts of people who are working to improve public health,” he says, including legislators and community and advocacy groups. “There’s a great potential as a provider to build these collaborations and engage in and do the community-based work that can contribute to health in a broader way.”

Brown sees this in his colleagues too, and in their similar strong ties to Rhode Island, whether they were born and raised in New England or on the other side of the world. “People want to be good members of the community and give back, and not just in providing great care. Yes, of course, we want to do that, but there’s a sense of responsibility to the broader community in a way that’s pretty great,” he says.

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