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Med School selects new assistant dean

Maureen Phipps was chosen to fill the vacant position following a two-year long search

Maureen Phipps assumed her role as assistant dean of the Warren Alpert Medical School and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology last Sunday after her selection was announced last month.

Phipps, who is known within the medical community for her work on women and newborn health, will also serve as chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Women and Infants Hospital of Rhode Island and executive chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the health care provider network Care New England. Phipps replaced Joanna Cain as chief of OB-GYN at Women and Infants Hospital following Cain’s resignation in January 2011, The Herald previously reported.

Phipps said she plans to focus on improving consistency in research methods and on implementing evidence-based medicine. She will work out of her office at Women and Infants Hospital in Upper South Providence, Phipps added.

Phipps filled in as the interim OB-GYN chair prior to her promotion to the posts of assistant dean and permanent chair. She was chosen after a University committee conducted a two-year long national search to find Cain’s replacement, said Provost Mark Schlissel P’15.

“We compared her to all the candidates around the country, and the search committee decided she was the strongest candidate to lead (a) big and important academic and clinical job,” Schlissel said.

Phipps said she  hopes to facilitate increased collaboration between the University and Women and Infants Hospital. She also said she played a pivotal role in winning the hospital recognition by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as a National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health. The designation by HHS led to a $9 million grant for the hospital, reinforcing a partnership that Phipps labeled a “stimulus for bringing women’s health to the forefront” of the Med School.

As OB-GYN chief at Women and Infants Hospital, Phipps will oversee the training of new doctors and researchers. Women and Infants serves as a teaching center for the Med School and the hospitals tied to the Care New England network.

In her new role at Care New England, Phipps will work with a broader base of OB-GYN doctors.  She said she sees this position as a “bigger platform for making an impact for women’s heath.”

The three appointments signal a “continuing commitment” to a broad range of women’s health issues, Schlissel said. Committee members supported including a physician and researcher like Phipps in the Med School administration, he added, with jurisdiction over promoting “research and teaching on diseases that disproportionately affect women.”


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