Brown, Lifespan launch joint Center for Digital Health

Center for Digital Health graphic

Building on a decade of successful collaborations, Brown University and Lifespan, Rhode Island’s largest health system, announce the launch of the Brown-Lifespan Center for Digital Health. The Center for Digital Health’s mission is to utilize the best of technology to seamlessly maximize health and eliminate health disparities for both individual patients and larger populations, extending from the local to global communities.

“Digital health technologies, from wearables to apps, are increasingly used by consumers to serve health care needs,” says Megan L. Ranney, MD, MPH, director of the center. “However, the development and widespread use of these technologies is limited by a lack of efficacy data, lack of implementation guidance, and, most of all, by lack of systematic collaboration among researchers, clinicians, patients, and other stakeholders.”

The Center for Digital Health will serve as an incubator for research, fostering the development of practical digital health tools focused on solving the real needs of patients, health care providers, and populations. The center will train the next generation of digital health scientists and entrepreneurs by offering experiential education. 

“We will help people from across our hospital and university campuses to go from ‘idea-to-impact’ quickly, efficiently, and ethically,” Ranney says. 

The ultimate goal is to be able to quickly scale up digital treatment modalities in order to have broad impact for both patients and populations. To achieve these functions, the center will intersect with leading entrepreneurs, academicians, and clinicians across all Brown schools, the Lifespan health system, and the greater Providence area, as well as with national and international business and research leaders in the field. 

The Center for Digital Health builds on the Emergency Digital Health Innovation program, which for more than six years successfully developed and studied digital applications in the field of emergency medicine, including text message programs to reduce injury among adolescents, machine learning-based mobile applications to provide support to adults with behavioral health diagnoses, and collaborations on novel social media monitoring programs. The Center will broaden its reach to encompass all aspects of health, with a focus on equity and vulnerable populations.

“We are excited to foster the Center for Digital Health’s growth as part of the Brown Institute for Translational Science,” says Jack A. Elias, MD, senior vice president for health affairs and dean of medicine and biological sciences at Brown University. “The faculty have a track record of successful clinical trials and industry partnerships to build on. This expertise presents a wonderful educational and research opportunity for Brown students.”

“This outstanding partnership will enable us to further develop and apply digital health in the ever-changing practice of medicine,” says Timothy J. Babineau, MD, president and CEO of Lifespan. “Our clinicians and researchers are creative, innovative problem-solvers, and the Center for Digital Health further binds Lifespan and Brown together to support their individual efforts and fuse their energies into potentially life-changing technology for our patients and our providers.” 

Learn more about the Center for Digital Health, including video perspectives from our staff and trainees.

The Center for Digital Health

Twitter: @browndigihealth