Infectious diseases physician Karen Tashima, MD, who led the launch of a local clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine and has served on the Governor’s COVID-19 Vaccine Subcommittee, is the 2021 Physician of the Year at The Miriam Hospital.

Tashima, director of clinical trials at the hospital’s Immunology Center, serves as the principal investigator for a phase 3 clinical trial at The Miriam Hospital for the COVID vaccine developed by Novavax. She received an NIH grant to facilitate vaccine trials in Rhode Island and has been widely interviewed by the media during the pandemic.

An attending physician who provides direct patient care, Tashima has been named the Charles C.J. Carpenter, M.D., Outstanding Physician of the Year at The Miriam.

Tashima, who lives in Seekonk, was honored during a recent ceremony in which three annual awards for Miriam physicians were presented to this year’s winners.

Tashima has served on the Lifespan COVID-19 Vaccine Committee and was also the principal investigator for two Gilead Remdesivir studies for moderate and severe COVID disease.

Also honored at the ceremony were Kwame Dapaah-Afriyie, MD, MBA, of Attleboro, Mass., and Richard Besdine, MD, of Providence.

Dapaah-Afriyie, a professor of medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, received the Riesman Family Excellence in Teaching Award. The annual award recognizes a Miriam physician who teaches at the medical school.

Dapaah-Afriyie has been associated with The Miriam and Brown since beginning his residency in internal medicine in 1993. In 1997, he and his colleagues started the program for hospitalists – staff physicians who care for patients during their hospitalization. In 2004, he became the program director. 

Dapaah-Afriyie is a past recipient of the Physician of the Year Award.

Besdine received the Charles “Bud” Kahn, M.D., Lifetime Leadership Award. He has devoted his career to the advancement of geriatrics.

Besdine is currently a professor of medicine and health services policy and practice at Brown. He retired from his position as Director of the Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine in the Department of Medicine, Chief of Geriatrics for Lifespan after 20 years of service.  During his career he served as the first Chief Medical Officer and Director of the Health Standards and Quality Bureau for the Health Care Financing Administration, the predecessor to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The Charles “Bud” Kahn, M.D., Lifetime Leadership Award is sponsored by The Miriam Hospital Medical Staff Association.  It recognizes a Miriam physician for "outstanding leadership over a lifetime of service" and who "exemplifies professionalism and leadership in a variety of ways, to include open communication, collaboration, cooperation, commitment, and integrity." The award, established in 2015, is named after Dr. Charles “Bud” Kahn, a retired endocrinologist who held leadership positions during his career at The Miriam.

The association also sponsors the Physician of the Year award, which is described as "the highest recognition that can be given to a member of our medical staff." The award recognizes physicians for outstanding contributions to medicine, leadership, professionalism, and patient care. The award is named after Charles Carpenter, M.D., who served as The Miriam's physician-in-chief from 1986 to 1998 and became a leader in responding to the HIV/AIDS epidemic by establishing the hospital's Immunology Center. He has served as director of the Lifespan/Tufts/Brown Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) and as a professor of medicine at Brown.

The Riesman Family Excellence in Teaching Award was created in 2007 by a gift from the Robert A. and Marcia S. Riesman family for the purpose of recognizing excellence in teaching by a Miriam Hospital/Brown Medical School faculty member who is currently and actively involved in the education of medical students, resident physicians, and other colleagues. 

Richard Salit

Senior Public Relations Officer

The Miriam Hospital, Newport Hospital, Gateway Healthcare


[email protected]