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



Supporting research and students.

Elevating Women’s Health

Medicine has long been considered a teaching profession. Every day, physicians share their knowledge with students, peers, and patients. As an obstetrician-gynecologist who specializes in reproductive endocrinology and infertility, the role of teacher is one that Eli Y. Adashi, MD, MS, professor of medical science, takes to heart.

He has mentored more than 50 postdoctoral trainees, fellows, residents, medical students, and high school students over the years, many of whom have written and published papers with him.

“It’s our collective duty to transfer whatever insights we may have to educate, enlighten, and broaden horizons,” says Adashi, who, with his wife, Toni, recently made a gift to establish the Eli Y. Adashi, MD, MS, and Toni Adashi Women’s Health Fund in order to create a platform for deeper
engagement around women’s health. Adashi joined the Brown community in 2005 when
he began his term as the fifth dean of medicine and biological sciences. One of the highlights of his tenure was an overhaul of The Warren Alpert Medical School curriculum to focus more on interdisciplinary education. After stepping down, Adashi took a sabbatical and joined the Obama administration, spending several years in the State Department under Secretary Hillary Clinton. Living in Washington, DC, fed Adashi’s growing interest in health care policy and public health. Upon his return to Brown, Adashi shared his expertise with students by serving as a faculty liaison for the Medical School’s Healthcare in America pre-clinical elective and lecture series, which brings renowned policymakers and institutional and industry leaders to Brown to discuss contemporary issues like health equity, behavioral health, and evolving models of care. Adashi appreciated the benefit these external voices brought to the campus community, enriching students and faculty alike. The new Adashi Women’s Health Fund aims to stimulate similar conversations that “expose young minds to progressive concepts in women’s health and serve as a pulpit.”

Adashi also believes that continued investments in women’s health are needed; he hopes the topic will garner broad interest from the larger Brown community, whether related to policy or some other facet, especially given current events regarding reproductive rights.

“The history of women’s health research in the United States only goes back around 40 years,” Adashi says, “so there is much to do and much
to discuss. Toni and I hope this gift can make a difference in that realm.”

Celebrating Progress and Tradition

Brown did not have a medical school when Lawrence A. Kerson ’64, P’00, was on College Hill, though the University had many sources of inspiration that carried him to a career in medicine. In particular, he recalls endocrinology lectures by Milton Hamolsky, MD, who had just been recruited to establish a department of medicine at Rhode Island Hospital, and who became one of the founding fathers of Brown’s medical school.

“The progress of The Warren Alpert Medical School is a source of pride,” says Kerson, a retired neurologist/neuro-ophthalmologist and former associate clinical professor at the University of Pennsylvania. “Educating physicians, service to the Rhode Island community, and advancing
science all reflect my values, and Brown’s interdisciplinary orientation fits well with life and health science research.”

Kerson is excited that the University is deepening its commitment to research, and he is keenly aware that if the Medical School wants to compete for the most talented students and faculty, encouraging research is essential. To fuel these pivotal opportunities for students, Kerson and his wife, Toba, have established the Kerson Family Medical Student Research Fund.

As a medical student at Penn, Kerson enjoyed the intellectual independence of his research projects, and he hopes to bolster Brown medical students’ interest in finding mentors and exploring that path. For Kerson, this is a great way to kickstart a career in medical research. “Direct participation in research helps a physician-in-training become a more educated consumer of research literature,” he says, “and it helps them understand how hard and yet rewarding the process of research can be.” Kerson is celebrating his 60th Reunion this year, and this gift to Brown recognizes both progress and tradition.

“At Brown, I learned to question what I did not know or understand, and I gained confidence that enabled me to work through complex situations in my profession and in my life,” Kerson says. “Our gift is motivated by the seriousness of the University’s commitment to research and my own research experiences”—as well as an expression of gratitude for his experiences as a student and, later, a parent, of Jennie K. Pritzker ’00.

“Looking back, I realize how much my teachers and family contributed to my success, and watching our daughter experience her own version of Brown was a great joy,” he says. “My wife and I appreciated what was unchanged about Brown and what was new.”



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