Letter from the Dean
This issue of Medicine@Brown will reach you at a time when you might normally be preparing to return to campus for Commencement-Reunion Weekend. While we cannot be together right now, I hope the stories contained in this edition will serve to connect you to Brown and to our community.
In Rhode Island, our faculty, students, and staff jumped in to help as soon as we began seeing cases of COVID-19. As you know, many of our faculty form the state’s first line of defense. They have been instrumental in defining the protocols and guidelines for testing, triage, and critical care, as well as providing all levels of care. We salute the truly heroic work they have been doing.
We use the word “unprecedented” so often in describing these times. I could never have imagined that we would have to suspend in-person didactic teaching, pause clinical rotations for the third- and fourth-year medical students, or hold a virtual Match Day event, but we did in March. Despite COVID-19 our students did wonderfully matching at the premier programs in the county. Undaunted, our medical students began volunteering with the Rhode Island Department of Health, assisting with contact tracing, gathering supplies, working on COVID-19-related research projects, and even offering childcare to health care providers when daycares closed. We soon witnessed another “first”: the early graduation of about a third of the fourth-year class in mid-April. Most of these students began working in the Lifespan and Care New England hospital systems, while some went on to the residency programs where they had matched.
For our research faculty, ramping down their laboratories and ceasing the work they’ve pursued for years was understandably difficult. They, too, quickly found ways to help. Many pivoted to focus their expertise on COVID-19-related research projects. Others gathered personal protective equipment (PPE) to donate to the hospitals, produced hand sanitizer from their lab stock, and created the viral transport medium needed to do COVID-19 testing.
Many of you have also provided help to us, from Corporation members and parents organizing donations of PPE for health care workers to supporting the Medical Student Emergency Response Fund and COVID-19-related research. You have once again demonstrated your commitment to Brown and to The Warren Alpert Medical School. Speaking for everyone at the Medical School, we deeply appreciate your support!
I know many alumni are on the front lines of the pandemic in their own communities. We are proud of the work you are doing, all around the world, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Be well and stay healthy!
—JACK A. ELIAS, MD
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences