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



Continuing a Tradition of Curiosity

Faculty are a vital part of the medical student experience at Brown. They serve as teachers, mentors, and role models for those who will someday follow in their footsteps.

In 1955, Anthony “Tony” Davids ’49, PhD, joined the Department of Psychology at Brown and taught for 33 years until his retirement in 1989. He also served as director of psychology at the Emma Pendleton Bradley Hospital—a teaching affiliate of The Warren Alpert Medical School and the nation’s first psychiatric hospital devoted exclusively to children and adolescents.

Davids found working with students was incredibly rewarding and chose to honor that relationship with a bequest to The Warren Alpert Medical School. Together with his wife, Martha, he established the Anthony Davids, Ph.D. ’49 and Martha S. Davids Medical Education Fund, which will support future physicians at Brown in perpetuity.

“Tony was very proud of his time at Brown, both as a student and a professor,” says the Davids’ nephew, Michael A. Battey, DPM, an adjunct assistant professor of medical science at Brown. “He was passionate about helping young people, both in his practice and in his role as a teacher, and with this gift, that legacy will live on.”

For over half of his time at Brown, the Medical School did not exist, but Davids wisely guided many Brown alumni on the path toward medicine. Battey credits his uncle’s curious spirit for that accomplishment.

“I remember Tony as a great listener who asked thoughtful questions,” Battey says. “That was a big part of who he was, and he felt strongly about not accepting generalizations in medicine. He thought that students should be trained to look at multiple points of view, and that there should always be space for growth, flexibility, and inquiry.”

With the evolution of standards of care and best practices in doctoring, priorities within medical education are always in flux. However, the Medical School’s commitment to preparing students to face an ever-changing health care landscape remains paramount.

“The Davids Medical Education Fund will provide us with wonderful flexibility to support our students in innovative and timely ways,” says B. Star Hampton, MD, senior associate dean for medical education. “As a faculty member, I am proud to carry on the great work of Professor Davids by ensuring that we are training the best and brightest to be curious and compassionate caregivers.”

A Gift of Hope for Families Facing Cancer

For Pat Tarantino, a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in April 2021 was the catalyst for her and her husband, John, to think deeply about the meaning of legacy. For many, legacy is about what you hope to leave behind. But for the Tarantinos, it was about looking to the future, especially when it came to cancer care in Rhode Island.

Pat and John Tarantino were pillars of the Rhode Island community for many years. Being active locally was always grounding for the couple, and they thought Rhode Island’s size was a unique asset.

“You can accomplish a lot in a small state,” John says. “Being in close proximity with the entire population means you can build connections and have a big impact over time.”

While Pat was under the care of Professor of Medicine Howard Safran, MD, chief of hematology/oncology at the Lifespan Cancer Institute and the medical director of the Brown University Oncology Group (BrUOG), the Tarantinos learned about the incredible work happening at Brown’s Legorreta Cancer Center.

“I was amazed to hear how many new faculty in cancer-related fields that Brown had recruited in recent years,” John says. “There is an incredible amount of talent here, and they are poised to make a real difference in our state.”

Over the course of Pat’s treatment, she and John discussed what difference they wanted to make for families like theirs facing cancer. When Pat died in April 2022, John set their plan in motion with the creation of the John and Pat Tarantino Charitable Foundation, a gift to support Safran’s research, and a gift to establish a pancreatic research fund at Brown.

“Pat always liked the idea that our gift could provide hope,” John says. “The goal is to help make Rhode Island one of the top 10 research venues in the country.”

John adds that achieving National Cancer Institute designation, a steadfast priority for the Legorreta Cancer Center, is a necessary step to elevate research and treatment in the state, as is Brown’s ability to continue to attract innovative researchers to Providence—faculty like Sendurai Mani, PhD, who moved his lab from the MD Anderson Cancer Center to help build Brown’s cancer research program.

“I was so impressed with his work using artificial intelligence to shorten research time and identify biomarkers,” John says. “He is doing some truly amazing things in his lab, and that makes me feel very optimistic about the future of cancer care.”



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