Brown invests $125M in support of integrated academic health system

For years, Rhode Island leaders have discussed a vision for a world-class integrated academic health system that serves the people of Rhode Island by ensuring excellence in health care from birth to end-of-life, including specialty care, in their home state. 

With co-investment from Lifespan, Care New England and Brown, we bring together the system’s premier teaching hospitals — Lifespan’s Rhode Island, Miriam, Hasbro, Newport and Bradley hospitals, and Care New England’s Women & Infants, Kent, and Butler hospitals — with Brown’s leading research and medical education from The Warren Alpert Medical School. This will create an integrated academic health system (AHS) that has the full array of complementary medical specialties required for excellence in health care, biomedical research to remain on the leading edge of treatment and therapies, and the collaboration required to enable medical practitioners to effectively and efficiently provide health care to the community. This is a unique and valuable opportunity to bring together the expertise and capacity of three organizations to offer excellent, coordinated care to patients. 

Lifespan and Care New England sign definitive agreement to merge and create, with Brown University, an integrated academic health system, together for a healthier Rhode Island.

Front row left to right: Charles Reppucci, Chairman of the Care New England Board of Directors, Lawrence A. Aubin, Sr., Chairman of the Lifespan Board of Directors, and Samuel Mencoff, Chancellor of the Corporation of Brown University. Back row left to right: James E. Fanale, M.D., Care New England President and CEO, Jack A. Elias, M.D., Dean of The Warren Alpert Medical School, Timothy J. Babineau, M.D., Lifespan President and CEO, and Christina H. Paxson, President of Brown University.

Brown has committed to provide a minimum of $125 million over five years in support of the development of the integrated AHS with Lifespan and Care New England. Brown will participate on the governing board of the newly merged health system and play a key role in integrating medical education and research with clinical practice across the combined system’s hospitals.

“Combining health system operations with leading-edge research and renowned medical expertise will improve the quality of medical care for patients across Rhode Island and surrounding regions. The uniting of health care with medical education and research serves to advance biomedical discovery, educate future physicians, nurses and health practitioners in medicine and health care, and create a vibrant economic nexus in the region based on the health care industry,” said Charles Reppucci, Care New England Board of Directors Chairman.

“It is gratifying to finally realize the vision of an integrated academic health system with Lifespan, Care New England and Brown University. Together, we are better able to serve as an economic engine for the state. The health sector in any region is a source of good paying jobs, not only within the hospital systems, but the businesses created and driven by goods and services that hospitals purchase. We want to be sure that these remain strong for many decades to come,” said Lawrence A. Aubin, Sr., Lifespan Board of Directors Chairman.

Unique to this business merger, is the intense involvement of Brown as a higher education institution committed to education and research. “Brown is excited to invest $125 million over five years to bring together the medical expertise and capacity needed to create exactly the kind of integrated academic health system that has provided such dramatic success in healthcare, medical education and biomedical innovation for other regions across the country,” said Samuel Mencoff, Chancellor of the Corporation of Brown University.

“What I am most excited about is the ability of our new, locally based, academic health system to compete at a national level, innovate, attract top talent, develop new scientific knowledge, improve the care we deliver and serve as an economic engine for Providence and the state,” said Lifespan President and CEO Timothy J. Babineau, M.D. “This is an exciting moment-in-time, we cannot let it slip through our grasp yet again.”   

“The positive reaction that we’ve seen, really across the board, to the creation of this new system has been outstanding. Our partners across the region, especially our internal colleagues and physicians, really support this because it’s a very exciting proposition. Creating something new and visionary, but with concrete goals and true work plans, sets the integrated AHS up to achieve high quality care with local access for the people that we serve. It is something to be proud of,” said James E. Fanale, M.D., Care New England President and CEO.

“If you learned from your doctor the devastating news that you had cancer, you want to go to a place that maximizes your chances of a having a great outcome,” said Jack A. Elias, M.D., Dean of The Warren Alpert Medical School. “You want to go to a place where you have the best care you can get from a diagnostic and therapeutic perspective – a place that does cancer research, but that also has the latest in protocol-driven therapies so you can be with your family for many years to come. And, this is the difference that an integrated academic health system can make in patient lives. This is real.”

“We’re committed to creating an integrated health system that increases access to excellent health care and by doing so, reduces health disparities,” said Christina H. Paxson, President of Brown University. “Great health care should be accessible to everyone, including people from communities that historically have experienced obstacles to accessing health care. The seamless integration of research and clinical care drives improvements in the health of patients by offering all Rhode Islanders access to state-of-the-art medicine.”

  • Lifespan is a nationally respected health care system that is known for patient-centered care, from primary care to advanced specialty care in neurology, cardiology, orthopedics, pediatrics, cancer, and more.

  • Care New England is a health care system that has nationally recognized expertise in family medicine, obstetrics, gynecology, neonatology and adult psychiatry and has made major investments in population health management.

  • Brown is a university with the leading Warren Alpert Medical School and Brown School of Public Health, engaged in research and education in areas ranging from aging to brain science, to respiratory medicine, to bioinformatics and big data, to child health and development, to the effective delivery of health care services.

Lifespan, Care New England and Brown are not-for-profit organizations that share a commitment to serving the public good. In the case of Lifespan and Care New England, the core mission is to protect and improve the health of the communities they serve. In the case of Brown, and specifically The Warren Alpert Medical School and Brown School of Public Health, the mission is to improve health and health care through education, research and biomedical discovery.

This integrated academic health system will benefit the community in many ways. It will:

  • Play a major role in providing patients with the best possible individualized and integrated care from world-class physicians who are attracted to Rhode Island by the vibrant academic environment.

  • Allow for the integration of medical innovation and world-class research to inform clinical care in such areas as cancer, women's health, and brain diseases like Alzheimer's and ALS by moving research from the laboratory bench into the hands of clinicians taking care of patients at the hospital bedside.

  • Address many of the underlying chronic health conditions of Rhode Island residents, including cancer, heart disease, neurological problems, children’s diseases and conditions, behavioral health/substance misuse, women’s health, and obesity.

  • Improve population health and reduce health disparities in Rhode Island while reducing costs by using innovative “big data”-informed strategies that have been developed and tested by leading researchers at Brown’s Warren Alpert Medical School and School of Public Health.

  • Collaborate with payers, including the state government, to develop ways to prevent deadly and costly diseases by reducing smoking, obesity, substance abuse, exposure to environmental toxins and more.

  • With the participation of clinicians, public health practitioners and researchers, encourage healthy environments in Rhode Island communities that lead to reductions in racial and ethnic disparities in health.

  • Continue to educate cohorts of outstanding future physicians and public health practitioners, many of whom live and work in the region after graduation.

  • Serve as an economic engine that attracts federal research funding, generates biomedical innovation, attracts and retains talent, attracts and creates new companies and collaborates with other Rhode Island academic, civic, and business organizations. 

Watch video interviews with four leaders about the proposed academic health system: 

Dr. David E. Wazer, Dr. B. Star Hampton, Dr. Raymond O. Powrie, and Dr. Phyllis A. Dennery.

More information is available at

Kathleen Hart

Director, Public Relations
[email protected]