Dr. Edward J. Wing heads the department of medicine and biological sciences at Brown University that includes the $45 million Warren Alpert Medical School, which opened in August in Providence. He is in charge of an annual budget of $142 million; 500 division employees; 1,056 students – including 416 currently at the medical school – and more than 2,000 faculty members on campus, in the hospitals and in the community.
As an example of how the medical school benefits the state, Wing says that 38 percent of the doctors in the state were trained at the Brown medical school or in its residency programs, and 13 percent of the state’s doctors graduated from it.
Wing, who still sees patients once a week at The Miriam Hospital, discusses the importance of the new medical school and challenges the state faces in reforming health care.
PBN: You were a champion of locating Brown’s Warren Alpert Medical School in Providence’s Knowledge District? Why was that so important to you?
WING: The medical-school building itself [which opened in August 2011] is extremely important for Brown University and for the medical school. We did not have an identified home for the medical students. They were in buildings on the main campus. So, just the fact of having a medical-school building has been transformative for our students and our faculty. It’s made a huge difference.
Placing it in the Knowledge District was a very important strategic decision for Brown. It was one of the first major educational buildings that was not on the College Hill campus. We were really saying that Brown University is committed to the Knowledge District area – not just to the research facilities that Brown already had there, at 70 Ship St. – but this is Brown committing to that area for all of its functions. It’s also close to some of the hospitals.