Infectious Diseases

Fellowship program offered flexibility to pursue his passion

After completing his residency in internal medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Philip Chan, MD, wanted to further his interest in HIV treatment and prevention.

Dr. Chan explored options for a fellowship in infectious diseases. He wanted a program at an institution that was a leader in the field and provided the flexibility to shape a fellowship around his specific clinical and research interests.

Chan did not have to travel far.

From 2009 to 2011, Chan served as a fellow at Alpert Medical School’s Division of Infectious Diseases, a program hosted by Brown-affiliated hospitals, including Rhode Island and The Miriam hospitals.

Dr. Chan with patient
Philip Chan, MD, is now an attending physician in infectious diseases at The Miriam and Rhode Island hospitals.

“The fellowship program is focused on supporting your interests and career path, whether it’s research, clinical practice or international work,” explains Chan, now an attending physician in infectious diseases at Rhode Island and The Miriam hospitals.

The Alpert Medical School program gives fellows the experience of working with patients suffering from a full array of infectious diseases while also allowing them to pursue research.

Under the mentoring of Rami Kantor, MD, Chan’s research focuses on the networks of HIV transmission in the community.

“We published a study that showed an increase in HIV in younger gay and bisexual men, especially college students,” Chan explains. He said that the findings led to a better targeted approach to HIV prevention and testing in the community.

Chan also helped open and now runs a clinic dedicated to sexually transmitted diseases. The clinic, a partnership with the Rhode Island Department of Health, tests between 40 and 50 patients each month.

During his fellowship, Chan also worked with community groups to help organize the state’s AIDS Walk for Life event. He said such partnerships in the community are available and are easier to accomplish because Alpert Medical School is the major academic medical training program in the state.

Chan added that cooperation is also strong within the university.

“The academic community in general can sometimes be extremely competitive and difficult to work in,” he says. “Brown University and the hospitals are very collegial. I have no problem picking up the phone and reaching out to a colleague if I have a question or idea.”

Chan said the support of the Division of Infectious Diseases staff helped him when applying for and securing a National Institutes of Health grant. The five-year grant funds 75 percent of his salary to be an attending physician at Rhode Island and The Miriam hospitals.

“Dr. Chan’s fellowship is a perfect example of the tremendous clinical experiences as well as opportunity for medical discovery that our fellows are afforded,” explains Eleftherios Mylonakis, MD, PhD, chief of infectious diseases at Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital.

Dr. Mylonakis adds, “It is an opportunity to make a difference here in Rhode Island and around the globe.”

Learn more about the Infectious Diseases Fellowship