Current Issue
Spring 2014
BMM Current Issue
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Letter from the Dean
Change Makers

This edition of Brown Medicine highlights one of the exciting areas of research and clinical care at Brown, HIV/AIDS. Brown faculty are national experts in women and HIV, prisoner health, HIV and underserved populations, and HIV in developing countries including Kenya, Ghana, Haiti, South Africa, and India. Federal funding for research in this area at Brown tops $20 million annually.

Further research by Amy Nunn has been focused on the prevention of HIV in high-risk areas like some neighborhoods of Philadelphia. In addition to research, the group headed by Tim Flanigan has provided outstanding clinical care coupled with dynamic education. I observe this each week when I see patients at the same time as Tim and other faculty in The Miriam Hospital Immunology Center. The center is filled with students, residents, fellows, and visiting physicians from other countries, as well as a variety of other people including high school students with an interest in medicine.

Additional articles in this issue include a feature on fascinating translational research in urology headed by Kim Boekelheide in Pathology and Mark Sigman, chief of the Division of Urology. A photo essay on the clinical skills suite shows a very popular and busy part of the new Alpert Medical School building. (Not mentioned but soon to come online is a new fitness center for students on the fourth floor of the building.)

Finally, there is a profile of our outgoing associate dean for medical education, Phil Gruppuso. Phil has been an extraordinary dean during the past seven years. He oversaw a complete revision of the medical curriculum. During his term he has earned respect from students, faculty, and the entire Brown community for his honesty and commitment to excellence. He has also been innovative in developing a proposal for a new Primary Care-Population Health Program and research fellowship opportunities for research-oriented students. Phil isn’t disappearing from education and will continue to teach and advise in the new Alpert Medical School building.


Letter from the Editor
Full of Grace

I spend a lot of time with doctors, both in my professional and personal life. As I write this, my son is in the operating room for yet another procedure. Most of the doctors who care for him are kind, gracious people—people who choose to work on the most complex cases, the tiniest and most fragile bodies, and to deal with the attendant overwrought parents. But once in awhile, I encounter a doctor who rests on the knowledge that he or she knows more than I do, who fails to listen or dismisses my concerns, and in so doing puts my son in danger. Those doctors I want to send to Alpert Medical School to take the Doctoring course, which you’ll read about in this issue.

For one year I was a member of the Doctoring course’s non-physician faculty, so I know well its curriculum and its patient-centered approach. Students are taught to presume nothing and to remember that while the doctor may be an expert in the medicine, the patient (or the parent, I’d add) is the expert in his or her experience of the illness.

While doctoring courses are gaining momentum in academic medicine, I can only hope that soon all doctors will receive and practice these lessons. For now, I am grateful to know that Brown-trained physicians go out into the world each year, for the comfort and safety of patients and parents like me.
Letters to the Editor
Heartiest Congratulations
It’s long overdue that David Egilman was made a professor of family medicine (Brown Medicine, Fall 2012). His blend of idealism and practicality, accompanied by a wicked sense of humor, was memorable so many years ago, when I was a medical student rotating through the Medicine stint and he was a resident charged with teaching my group. We didn’t necessarily make his task of both getting care done and doing no harm easy. He stood out even then as a very capable doctor and out-of-the-box thinker as he tried to lead us. Over the years it has been brutally apparent that the biggest medical challenges are not high tech at all, and it is gratifying that he is trying to address some of them and improve “family medicine.”

Chris Indech ’76 MMSc’79 MD’79
Norcross, GA

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