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

Pursuing Passions in Pathology and Performance


Musical theater actor Ron Phillips MD’23 will specialize in a field that complements his vast array of pursuits.

Ron Phillips’ interests called him down any number of career paths.

He was always curious. Influenced by his detective father, he thought about pursuing a future as an investigator. He also wondered if a position as a news anchor or journalist could be a good outlet for his ceaseless drive to learn more. Or perhaps he would be best suited for life on the stage, showcasing his theatrical talents in front of an audience. But he was also intrigued by brain science. How could he choose?

The Pennsylvania native soon realized he didn’t have to. As an undergraduate at the University of Delaware, he encountered a field that combined the best parts of all his seemingly disparate interests: pathology, the study of understanding and diagnosing diseases.
“I fell in love with the idea that a person could know so much about the human body and be able to derive diagnoses, lifestyles and so much other information just from all these little clues,” says Phillips, who will graduate from Brown later this month with the MD Class of 2023. “You’re like the ultimate detective.”
At the morgue, performing autopsies to determine cause of death, or in the lab, working to uncover and diagnose rare conditions, Phillips is a detective of sorts. Meanwhile, on the stage, he has taken on many more roles—most recently as the strong-willed orphan Jack Kelly, lead of the musical Newsies, which finished its run at Woonsocket’s Stadium Theater in March.
Staying engaged with the performing arts while attending medical school, Phillips solidified his commitment to pursuing what he is most passionate about. It was one of the reasons he chose Brown, where instructors and peers supported his passion for exploration.
“If you’re a med student and you meet with someone and say, ‘I love this thing’—whatever it is—they’ll say, ‘We’ll do everything we can to get you there,’” Phillips says.

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