At Brown, the things that don’t change are more remarkable than those that do.
“Content expert.” That’s a title I’ve acquired during the past year as we’ve been planning the 50 Years of Medicine at Brown celebration. Any question about the past, present, or future of The Warren Alpert Medical School lands in my inbox. Most of the time, I know the answer. And while it means a whole lot more work to do, I’ve embraced the moniker. After 21 years of working at the Medical School, how could I not? I’ve worked for six deans, starting with Don Marsh. I’ve sat in six offices, from the low, a rambling shotgun-style building on Eddy Street, to the high, a posh suite on the ninth floor of 121 S. Main St. that overlooked downtown. I’ve had too many bosses to list, but some were the most significant mentors of my career. I was here when the School of Public Health was the Department of Community Health. When 222 Richmond St. was an office building. When I would drive to work on an expanse of highway that is now a pedestrian bridge connecting the Jewelry District to College Hill.
But so many things haven’t changed. Like the people drawn to work and study here, who share a passion for confronting medicine’s most vexing problems and finding ways to fix them, even when that might mean disrupting tradition or changing the entire system.
When something extraordinary happens, we often shrug our shoulders and say, “Yup, that’s just the Brown way,” and we all understand what that means. It means choosing the path that is right even when it’s harder, or finding the least obvious solution to a problem, and only accepting the answer that benefits the most people, not just some. That’s the enduring core of this medical school and what I feel like we are really celebrating during this 50th anniversary. The Brown way is what keeps me and so many others here for 30, 40, even 50 years. The sense that we are part of something greater than ourselves brings professional satisfaction no matter how big a role we may play. And if my role is keeping the history and telling the stories of this work, then I will choose it every time.
Kris Cambra, Editor
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