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

For the Record


A video archive preserves the history of the Medical School.

When Jeffrey Borkan, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Family Medicine, first came to Brown’s Medical School in 2001, he tried to get a sense of the history of his new academic home. One problem: no such written history existed.

Borkan saw an opportunity. All of the Medical School’s previous deans were still living and able to give a firsthand account of their time in the deanship. Borkan approached Brown President Ruth J. Simmons, who agreed to commit some resources to the project.

“And that’s how we made sure history was saved,” Borkan says. It took about three years to record video interviews with deans Stanley Aronson, David Greer, Donald Marsh, Richard Besdine, Eli Y. Adashi, and Edward Wing. “Some of them were reluctant at first,” Borkan says, “but once they sat down and began talking, their stories flowed.”

Brown’s contributions came in the form of technological expertise from Giovanna Roz Gastaldi, manager of instructional media and production. All of the videos—“the complete boxed set of deans,” Borkan says—are available thanks to Gastaldi in a playlist on YouTube.

Borkan says when the time is right he hopes to get Dean Jack A. Elias in front of the camera.


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