Current Issue
Spring 2014
BMM Current Issue
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Letter from the Dean

This fall is an exciting time in BioMed. President Christina Paxson has begun her term. She has been spending much of her time meeting with many faculty and students. President Paxson has been warmly welcomed by all members of the community, and she has been remarkably open and welcoming to us. She has also initiated a strategic process for Brown that will identify priorities and initiatives for the University over the next five to ten years. Many individuals from BioMed will be involved in the process. At all levels we look forward to working with our new president on the plans for new programs and continued excellence in the future. Please see the Q & A with President Paxson in this edition.

This issue also highlights some of the challenges facing the Medical School and Public Health including our clinical faculty and hospitals in the future health care landscape. Health care costs are unsustainable, primary care has been neglected, and there has been a lack of focus on areas such as prevention and palliative care. It’s gratifying to see Alpert alumni such as Neel Shah and many members of our faculty engaged in helping our country confront these staggering problems.

This issue also profiles Dr. Jack Wands, director of the Brown Liver Research Center. Dr. Wands is one of the world’s outstanding researchers in gastroenterology and particularly hepatology. He was the first division chief recruit when I was chair of the Department of Medicine and one of a long line of recruitments that Brown has made from Harvard. Jack has grown his Research Center and the Division of Gastroenterology into one of the country’s best. He has also been an inspiration to legions of Brown undergraduates, medical students, residents, and fellows.

We are looking forward to an exciting new year with new leadership in many positions at Brown and our affiliated hospitals as well as new faculty and students.

Edward J. Wing, MD


Letter from the Editor

In my old office, I’d perfected the move of rolling my chair back so that I could look over my shoulder and see if Sarah Baldwin-Beneich, my editor and mentor, was seated at her desk. From this vantage point, I could call over with a grammar question, test her knowledge of institutional history, or try to make her laugh with the latest thing that had popped into my head.

Now, I have to shout considerably louder, since Sarah is up on College Hill as director of communications at the Watson Institute. Readers who have come to know and appreciate this magazine, take heart. Sarah taught me everything I know about alumni communications, and her presence is still very much felt over my

As I took over the editor’s chair, I revisited the magazine’s mission statement, to make sure we stay on course.

Brown Medicine is intended to create a connection between Alpert Medical School and its many              constituencies, especially alumni; to inform them of the activities and accomplishments of its faculty, students, and alumni; to encourage an exchange of ideas and opinions on issues relating to medicine and medical education; and to increase the visibility of and support for the Medical School.

In reflection, I think we do a good job of informing, but not so much when it comes to the exchange of ideas. That requires conversation and dialogue, and to achieve that, we need to hear from you. With so much controversy in health care—over ethical issues, plans for reform, even how to bring down its cost, as I explore in this issue—I know our readers must have strong feelings. And I know there must be thoughtful, intellectual, passionate opinions out there. This is Brown, after all.

Share them with us.

Kris Cambra
Letters to the Editor
I agree with the conclusion reached by Randy Rockney in his opinion piece “All Nighters” (Brown Medicine, Winter 2012) that “maybe it is not such a bad thing that ‘all-nighters’ be relegated to the dustbin of history.” However, I come to this conclusion not as a medical professional, but as a person whose only contact with the medical profession is as a patient. While I do not doubt that all-nighters can wreak havoc on the social development of the residents and cause their compassion for patients to “go out the window,” my primary concern about all-nighters is not their effect on the residents, but their effect on me. As a patient, I do not want to—and should not—be treated by a medical professional whose lack of sleep “produces impairments equivalent to intoxication beyond the legal limit to operate a motor vehicle.”

It’s pretty simple: if you’re too drunk to drive—or so sleep-deprived that you are the functional equivalent thereof—then you’re too drunk to make decisions regarding my treatment. I am sure that Dr. Rockney is an excellent doctor, and I do not doubt that he, and legions of residents, do not “perceive any diminution of [their] technical skills after 36 hours without sleep.” Most drunk drivers say the same thing about their ability to drive. Resident work hour restrictions are long overdue. As a patient, I welcome them.

Name withheld by request
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