Study Spotlights Lifespan's Economic Impact

April 3, 2018

Teaching hospitals, Brown medical school infuse more than $2.4 billion into state

A new study shows that Lifespan and Care New England teaching hospitals and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University supported 26,449 jobs across the state last year. Those jobs, on average, provided $69,189 in wages, salaries, and benefits to individuals, for a total of $1.83 billion in labor income to Rhode Island.

The study by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) also found that its member organizations in Rhode Island infused $2.46 billion into the state in direct and secondary economic impact. Secondary benefits include purchases of equipment, services, or supplies, and employee purchases at local businesses.

Conducted by RTI International on behalf of the AAMC, the study examined the economic impact of medical schools and teaching hospitals represented by the AAMC in 46 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Lifespan, Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital as well as Care New England (CNE) and its Women & Infants Hospital are AAMC members, as is Brown’s medical school.

“The AAMC findings further validate the vital role Lifespan plays as an economic engine for Rhode Island as we fulfill our mission of providing world-class health care to our patients as well as advancing medical discovery. Our investment in our physicians, clinical staff, researchers and other health care professionals has been unflinching in recent years despite the challenging environment,” said Timothy J. Babineau, M.D., president and CEO of Lifespan, the state’s largest health system and largest private employer. 

Babineau pointed to Lifespan’s nearly 25 percent increase in its workforce from 2009 to 2017. Lifespan has 14,882 employees across the health system, which also includes Newport Hospital, Gateway Healthcare and Bradley Hospital, another academic affiliate of Brown but not a member of the AAMC.  

“Academic medical centers contribute to their local environment in a number of ways. It is easy to see how the research and clinical care that take place improve human health. The academic activities also garner grant support from the National Institutes of Health and philanthropic foundations. In so doing, they provide good paying jobs and generate intellectual property and knowledge about diseases that can lead to new companies and eventually new therapies,” said Jack A. Elias, M.D., senior vice president for health affairs and dean of medicine and biological sciences at Brown.

 “The contributions of medical students, residents, fellows, and other trainees across our Care New England hospitals are crucial to our ability to provide high quality care, conduct groundbreaking research, and train the next generation of caregivers,” said James E. Fanale, M.D., CNE’s president and chief executive officer. “We attract some of the best and brightest from across the country and around the globe. These trainees contribute to our local economy and, through this foundation of education, offer long-term financial contributions locally and nationally.”

CNE’s Butler Hospital is an academic affiliate of Brown as well but not a member of the AAMC. CNE’s Kent Hospital has an academic affiliation with the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, which is not a member of AAMC. 

Nationally, the institutions studied by the AAMC were responsible for more than 6.3 million jobs in 2017 - 3.3 percent of the U.S. workforce - averaging $61,295 per job in wages, salaries, and benefits. They also added more than $562 billion in value to the nation’s economy. Of the total economic impact, research activities at medical schools and teaching hospitals resulted in $25.4 billion added to local economies and 313,604 jobs that generated $16.6 billion in salaries, wages, and benefits.

“Medical schools and teaching hospitals are important economic contributors to their communities and play crucial roles educating tomorrow’s doctors, providing cutting-edge patient care, and conducting groundbreaking research,” said Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., AAMC president and CEO. “This analysis shows just how vital these institutions are as economic engines at the local, state, and national levels in generating jobs, paying wages, and supporting business and community development opportunities.”

“These data show that medical schools and teaching hospitals are a significant contributor to the national economy, roughly equal in scope to the transportation and warehousing sector or accommodation and food services industries. Above all, they are places that offer hope to all Americans who are seeking treatment and hoping for cures when serious injury and illness strike,” Kirch added.

In addition to national data, the full report also provides state-level data on jobs and labor income created, total economic value added by medical schools and teaching hospitals, and impacts of the medical research conducted by AAMC member institutions. 

View the full report at