A lifetime commitment to Brown and to medicine

Dean and alumna Julianne Ip ’75 MD’78 RES’81 P’18 is leaving an institutional legacy and an imprint on thousands of students’ lives.

As Julianne Ip ’75 MD’78 RES’81 P’18, associate dean of medicine for the Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME) and Visiting International Medical Student Program, prepares to retire from Brown at the end of 2021, she imparted upon the incoming class at The Warren Alpert Medical School some meaningful words of wisdom as they begin their medical journey.

“If you slow down and take the time to think, you will find you know far more than you give yourself credit for. You can figure this out, you will figure this out,” said Dean Ip. “Why? Because when you don your coat, something almost magical happens.”

During the Ceremony of Commitment to Medicine on September 18—the time-honored tradition in which the incoming students receive their first white coats—she welcomed the MD Class of 2025 with the Charles O. Cooke M.D. Distinguished Visiting Lectureship.

In her remarks, she reflected on confidence, professionalism, communication, inspiration, and the privilege of wearing that white coat.

Associate Dean of Medicine Juli Ip shared her thoughts about a career in medicine with members of The Warren Alpert Medical School's MD class of 2025.

Committing to Brown

Dean Ip first chose to attend Brown in the early 1970s because she felt that Brown’s seven-year continuum Medical Education Program (MEP)—the program that would later evolve into PLME—was a perfect way to pursue her professional goal of becoming a physician while also benefiting from a high-quality undergraduate education.

“The MEP had strict course requirements and it’s largely because of those course requirements that I am so enthusiastic about the undergraduate Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME),” explains Dean Ip. “The MEP was designed for scientific research physicians, but my favorite course was a course in humanities and humanism. After taking that class, I realized I wanted a more holistic and patient-centered approach to medicine.”

Dean Ip believes that this is what attracts today’s students to choose the PLME, Brown’s eight-year continuum that allows students to combine both their undergraduate and medical school education at Brown. Because of the many research and patient career opportunities available within the program, it provides a safety net for those who think they want a career in medicine to also explore and find their passion.

“My goal is to get them to trust me so I can get to know them as people, students and future successful individuals, whether they become physicians or not,” says Ip.

“ All PLME students have the intellect and academic ability to be a physician. But becoming one comes from the heart as well as the mind and I want to be sure their heart is in it. The joy of working with students is helping them find their path. ”

— Julianne Ip '75 MD'78 RES'81, P'18, Associate Dean of Medicine

For the love of PLME

Why has the dean of the only combined baccalaureate-MD program in the Ivy League—now known as the “Mom on Campus”—remained in this position for more than three decades?

“All PLME students have the intellect and academic ability to be a physician,” explains Dean Ip. “But becoming one comes from the heart as well as the mind and I want to be sure their heart is in it. The joy of working with students is helping them find their path.”

And the thousands of students who she has guided through the years appreciate all she does: “My peers and I were lucky to have Dean Ip’s guidance and mentorship. For years, she has supported the non-medical passions of PLME students like myself – I majored in Latin as a college student,” said Amador V. Delamerced ’18 MD’23 when he introduced Dean Ip at the white coat ceremony. “She has fostered the development of more compassionate, humanistic, and well-rounded physicians.”

A long-standing dedication to diversity

In her 66-student MEP class, Ip was one of 13 women and one of only two underrepresented students, both Chinese American, although she notes that this was actually considered quite diverse for the time. “My predecessors and mentors ingrained in me the importance of having a diverse cadre of students who wanted to return to serve their communities. PLME has always considered this in admissions but also in the program, it was all about inclusivity so we could share our perspectives and learn from each other.”

The future of medicine is bright

Though Dean Ip is leaving her role at Brown, she hopes that PLMEs continue to be lifelong learners, give back to their communities, and see their Brown experience not only as an eye-opening journey into and through medical school but also having an impact far into their professional and personal lives.

“I have great faith in those who will be our future leaders, specifically some of my PLMEs,” Dean Ip concluded. “Yes, Mom on Campus is very proud and privileged to have been part of their journeys.”