BUTLER HOSPITAL of Rhode Island … plus connections

By Steve Lippmann, M.D.

Well, seems like maybe we are getting over the pandemic. We have lessened coronavirus fears, attenuation of COVID-19 illness severity, and my wife and I are fully vaccinated. Great. With restrictions on travel eased in April 2021, we visited our eldest daughter in Rhode Island. A Brown University emergency medicine faculty member, she was our tour guide; Butler Hospital was among the first things she showed us in Providence. Yes, she took us to the beach, town, medical school, and other affiliated hospitals, too.

Butler Hospital is a very old psychiatric facility and now affiliated with Brown University. What about Butler?

The hospital was founded in 1884 as one of the earliest mental health facilities in this country. It is a huge institution sitting on a surprisingly massive, yet attractive campus that houses numerous buildings, a park-like environment, and even a two-century old farmhouse. Besides the expected many in-patient facilities for psychiatry and addiction medicine, it also hosts a day hospital, and services for social work, a wide variety of offices for other out-patient medical specialties, research facilities, and legal aspects, that include a courthouse. A network of campus roads and parking lots link the numerous buildings.Butler is a base for Brown University’s Psychiatry Department and remains a famous, award-winning mental health hospital. The focus is on psychiatry, addiction medicine, research, and movement disorders, like Parkinson’s disease. They serve adolescents and adults; children, too, had been included, but kids these days go to another affiliated facility. The hospital campus also has a psychiatry emergency evaluation and treatment center with close ties to Brown’s two main Emergency Medicine Departments. Butler Hospital also has an interesting history.

One prominent story is about Dr. William Halsted. He was a famous, early leader in aseptic surgery, use of anesthesia during operations, and numerous innovative surgical techniques. Dr. Halsted was admitted as a patient to the Butler Hospital because of his being addicted to cocaine. At Butler, physicians back then prescribed opiates to attenuate cocaine drug withdrawal, as was the accepted medical practice in those days. Thus, Dr. Halsted got “switched” from cocaine dependance to became opiate addicted; hard to imagine now adays … sad, but true.

Together with the Oxford internist, Sir William Osler, Dr. William Halsted was one of the founders of Johns Hopkins Medical School. It offered excellent, up-to-date physician education. Here now follows a Louisville connection.

Back in those days American medical schools were generally not up to European scientific standards. They were unregulated, often proprietary, and without academic requirements, faculty, or credentialing. Our own Louisvillian, Abraham Flexner was part of a movement that evaluated all American medical schools, closed them, and only allowed reopening only if they met the Johns Hopkins role model for educating new doctors. That included having faculty on-staff in all specialties, providing clinical care to patients, while actually teaching medical students. This reform greatly improved US medical training. Oh, Abraham Flexner Way, a road named in his honor, is in Louisville, running between Jewish Hospital and the University of Louisville of School of Medicine.

By the way, Johns Hopkins Medical School was originally conceived in the 1890s to be built with a big economic donation of railroad stock shares. It was to be a public hospital without race or other restrictions for patient admissions. However, a stock market decline left insufficient funds. The donor’s daughters agreed to help fund the new school, but IF and ONLY if women students were to be admitted under the same criteria as men. The administrators initially refused, but short on money, they finally agreed. Johns Hopkins was then established offering a top-quality medical education as the national role model for all US medical schools to copy. Hopkins also helped begin the concept of admitting women to study medicine in this country. So be it.                                                                

Rescheduled: KPMA 2020 Annual Meeting

Please join us virtually on Thursday, October 15th and 22nd, for our 2020 Annual Meeting. This meeting will be free for all KPMA members.

On October 15th, from 6:30pm – 8:30pm we will have a panel discussion on addiction featuring Dr. Allan Brenzel, Dr. Lon Hays, Dr. Chris Stewart, and Dr. Michelle Lofwall. A Q&A/live discussion will take place from 8:30pm – 9:00pm.

On October 22nd, from 7pm – 8:30pm we will have a panel discussion addressing social justice issues and health disparities featuring Dr. Julio Ramirez, Dr. Cheryl Willis and Dr. Stephanie White. A Q&A/live discussion will take place from 8:30pm – 9:00pm.

Register Now

KPMA Town Hall

Please join us Monday, June 1st, from 6pm – 7pm for a discussion with Dr. Allen Brenzel regarding the climate of mental health in Kentucky and what psychiatry can do to help. We will also be discussing current changes in our practice systems and what we anticipate needing in the future to provide quality patient care. We will offer two breakout sessions led by Dr. Randy Schrodt and Dr. Kathy Vincent. Dr. Schrodt will moderate conversation around ambulatory/outpatient psychiatry while Dr. Vincent moderates conversation around academic/inpatient psychiatry. Registration is required. This town hall is open to members only.

Register Now

Postponed: 2020 KPMA Annual Meeting


Please join us on Friday, March 13th, 2020, at the Hurstbourne Country Club in Louisville, Kentucky, 8:00 AM-5:00 PM, for our annual meeting. Our topics and speakers include: Nutrition and Health Panel with Dr. Carmelita Tobias & Dr. Christian Furman, Child & Adolescent Addiction Panel with Dr. Cathy Martin, et. al., A Review of New Medications and Clinical Experience with Dr. Eric Lydon, Dr. Josh Briley, and Dr. Michelle Lofwall, an Addiction Panel with Dr. Lon Hays, Dr. Chris Stewart, Dr. Allen Brenzel, and Dr. Michelle Lofwall, and Dr. Amy Meadows will be discussing the “Enduring Effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences”. Accreditation This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education through the joint providership of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and KPMA. The APA is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. Designation The APA designates this live activity for a maximum of 7 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. *This meeting has been approved by the KBML for 5h HB1 CME. Syllabus – March 13, 2020 Slides A special thank you to our sponsors! Allergan Ironshore Pharmaceuticals Janseen PRMS Wellpath