Brown’s Impact on Health and Medicine in Rhode Island

Medical Education

Building talent and attracting great doctors to Rhode Island.

Brown has a 50-year track record for strengthening the quality of the health care workforce in Rhode Island. Some of the top physicians in Rhode Island report that they come to practice medicine in the state to benefit from the innovation, discovery and excitement of engaging with researchers and students at the Warren Alpert Medical School.

Recruiting, educating and retaining top physicians for Rhode Island:

Almost60% of Rhode Island physicians

have some affiliation with the medical school through teaching and/or research.

48% of all Rhode Island physicians

hold faculty appointments in Brown’s Warren Alpert Medical School.

50%of physicians

who completed both medical school and residency at Brown are actively practicing in Rhode Island.

30%of graduates

of Brown-affiliated residency/fellowship programs are actively practicing in Rhode Island.

The Medical School has a number of scholarships that are restricted for use by students from Rhode Island.

The Early Identification Program provides selected students from Rhode Island College, University of Rhode Island, and Providence College a place in the Medical School following the student's undergraduate education.

Proof points — Examples of great doctors who stay in RI/return to practice:

 Jeremiah Schuur, MD

Jeremiah Schuur, M.D., came for residency and returned to Rhode Island to become chair of Emergency Medicine and chief of EM for Lifespan. His leadership has been essential for the hospital’s management of COVID surges.

 Nicole Alexander-Scott

Nicole Alexander-Scott, MPH, came to Brown for a fellowship in infectious diseases, earned a master’s in Brown’s School of Public Health and is now director of the RI Department of Health. Thanks to her handling of the pandemic, RI has one of the highest adult COVID vaccination rates in the country.

 Megan Ranney, MD

Megan Ranney, M.D., MPH, came to Brown for residency and earned a master’s in the School of Public Health. She co-founded the AFFIRM research institute on firearms; established the Brown-Lifespan Center for Digital Health; and became a national figure regarding ER care during the pandemic.

 Tom Ollila, MD

Tom Ollila, M.D., came to Brown for residency and stayed. He is a hematologist who contributes to the local community through medical practice and raising funds for cancer clinical trials. The Tour de Rhody that he founded has topped $97,000 in annual donations.

 Roxanne Vrees, MD

Roxanne Vrees, M.D., came to RI through the Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME), an eight-year continuum that allows students to combine both their undergraduate and medical school education at Brown. Vrees helped establish the first sexual assault nurse examiner [SANE] program. Women & Infants Hospital is the only emergency room in RI that has a comprehensive post-assault follow-up clinic for survivors. 

RI is a center of excellence in stroke prevention and treatment thanks to the work of three Brown-trained physicians: Mahesh V. Jayaraman, M.D., director of the Neurovascular Center at Rhode Island Hospital; Ryan A. McTaggart, M.D., director of interventional neuroradiology at Rhode Island Hospital; and Karen Furie, M.D., chair of the Department of Neurology and an expert on acute stroke. All did residencies in RI.

Training the Next Generation of Local Health Care Workers

Several Brown pipeline programs introduce local students to careers in medicine and health care and increase the diversity and talent of the medical professions.

Pathways to Medicine, which was started in 2013 by a group of medical students, connects high schoolers with mentors from the Warren Alpert Medical School, the University of Rhode Island nursing and pharmacy schools, and the Bryant University physician assistant program. The program works primarily with students in underserved populations who have a significant interest in the health care field. Summer@Brown offers the mentees scholarships so that they can participate in courses on medicine and health studies.

Health Career Opportunities Reimagined (HealthCORE) brings high school students from communities all over Rhode Island to the Warren Alpert Medical School for a free 10-day course to introduce them to medicine and the health professions.

The Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Summer Enrichment Program exposes high school students from economically disadvantaged and historically underrepresented backgrounds to career possibilities in basic and translational scientific research in pathology, including work within individual research labs where they can interact directly with junior and senior scientists. (The Brown Center for Biomedical Informatics also runs a summer course for high school students.)

The Brown Initiative to Maximize Student Development offers graduate student “trainees” financial support as well as a unique advising plan that builds the skills needed for success in doctoral studies, such as designing and delivering scientific presentations and analyzing statistical data. 

The Leadership Alliance recently added an MD/PhD track to encourage students underrepresented in medicine to enter careers as physician-scientists. The alliance was founded by Brown University in 1992 to address the shortage of underrepresented students in competitive graduate programs and academic careers and the professoriate.

Month of Medical School provides a half-day immersion program for local college students from University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, and Providence College in the medical curriculum. Students are given a stipend to offset any summer earnings they would lose by participating in the program.


The vision for bringing Brown together in collaboration with the Care New England and Lifespan health systems to create an integrated academic health system will create significant new opportunities for strengthening population health serving Rhode Island.