Women & Infants Hospital to create new labor, delivery center with $5 million from Brown University

Release Date: 10/20/2022

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – With a $5 million gift from Brown University to support the project, Care New England plans to build a new, technologically advanced labor and delivery center at Women & Infants Hospital that will serve families from Rhode Island and the surrounding region.


In recognition of the gift, CNE will name its state-of-the-art facility the Brown University Labor and Delivery Center when it is completed. It will be designed to meet the specific needs of birthing families and their dedicated medical providers.


Dr. James E. Fanale, president and CEO of Care New England, said that “four out of five families from Rhode Island give birth at Women & Infants, which is the leading innovator in the fields of normal and high-risk obstetrics and neonatology. While the hospital’s existing labor and delivery suite has served patients well for more than 35 years, evolving medical protocols, technologies and patient expectations necessitate an update.”


“The redesigned and expanded labor and delivery center will provide an exceptional environment to support Women & Infants Hospital’s excellence and commitment to world-class medical care, and it would not be possible without our deep, long-standing relationship with our academic partner, Brown University,” Fanale said. “The University’s investment will anchor efforts to build a facility that will have a tremendously positive impact on regional health care and will benefit a significant proportion of people giving birth in the region, and their families for generations to come.”


As part of Care New England’s mission to provide the highest quality care, the health system has committed to a bold and ambitious plan that involves facility renovations and building enhancements, as well as new research and education initiatives. CNE has developed a multi-layered fundraising strategy to realize its vision, and the $5 million gift from Brown adds to philanthropic support received to date toward what’s estimated to be a $28 million construction project. Fanale said he hopes the early gifts will inspire additional contributors to support the labor and delivery center and CNE’s broader vision.


Brown President Christina H. Paxson said the University embraces the opportunity to support the care of women and families in Rhode Island, as well as the many accomplished medical practitioners at Women & Infants who serve as faculty members at Brown’s Warren Alpert Medical School.


“Brown’s support for the labor and delivery center not only reflects the important partnership between Brown and Care New England, but it also demonstrates how cooperation across institutions can serve the people of Rhode Island and elevate the level of health care in the state,” Paxson said. “Close coordination between physicians and researchers translates to excellent medical care and patient outcomes, and we’re pleased to support this project and the health of families from across the region.”


Paxson noted that Brown and CNE remain in ongoing conversations about additional measures of support to ensure strong and productive partnerships between the University and the health system.


Shannon Sullivan, president and COO of Women & Infants Hospital, is proud of the work going into the state-of-the-art upgrades. She shared that “the new birth center will provide a comfortable and welcoming space that will offer access to high-quality obstetrics for all patients. Rooms will be designed to better accommodate the range of child delivery experiences desired by patients, including meeting the requirements of patient medical conditions. Rooms will be 400 square feet in size, an increase from the current 220-square-foot rooms at Women & Infants, which will not only increase comfort for patients but better accommodate extended family, birth partners and doulas.”


Labor and delivery center rooms will include private baths as well as externally facing windows that permit natural light. In addition, an expanded centralized workspace for physicians and care providers will advance clinical collaboration.


Women & Infants Hospital serves as a safe medical space for a diverse community, and the labor and delivery center will provide “tangible and substantive improvements in care quality for generations of women,” said Dr. Methodius Tuuli, chief of obstetrics and gynecology at the hospital and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Brown’s Warren Alpert Medical School.


“The project to create this new labor and delivery center is driven by our commitment to providing the best possible care to patients and their families and elevating clinical practice,” Tuuli said. “For patients, the new center will support a more personalized birth experience. For medical and academic partners, it will offer improved clinical team communication and an enhanced ability to recruit and retain top clinical and research talent.”


Dr. Mukesh Jain, dean of medicine and biological sciences at the Warren Alpert Medical School, noted that emerging data show a clear link between the health care environment and safe clinical outcomes. For example, labor and delivery units that are designed to facilitate natural childbirth, as those in the new center will be, have lower rates of cesarean delivery and better birth outcomes.


“Women & Infants Hospital is creating an exceptional environment that will advance even further its clinical excellence, and we’re proud to partner with Care New England in caring for the women, children and families of southern New England,” said Jain, who oversees the medical school’s relationships with affiliated hospitals. “Women & Infants is an integral training site for our medical students, and learning in a facility designed to improve outcomes will impart important lessons in providing patient-centered care.”


CNE expects to begin construction on the Brown University Labor and Delivery Center in early 2023.


About Women & Infants Hospital

Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, a Care New England hospital, is one of the nation’s leading specialty hospitals for women and newborns. A major teaching affiliate of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University for obstetrics, gynecology, and newborn pediatrics, as well as a number of specialized programs in women’s medicine, Women & Infants is the ninth largest stand-alone obstetrical service in the country and the largest in New England with approximately 8,700 deliveries per year. Women & Infants is a Designated Baby-Friendly® USA hospital, a U.S.News & World Report 2014-15 Best Children’s Hospital in Neonatology, and a 2014 Leapfrog Top Hospital. The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology ranked number 11 in U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 Best Medical Schools specialty ranking.


Women & Infants has been designated as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiography; a Center of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecology; Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence in Perinatal Biology and in Reproductive Health by the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and a Neonatal Resource Services Center of Excellence.  It is one of the largest and most prestigious research facilities in high risk and normal obstetrics, gynecology, and newborn pediatrics in the nation, and is a member of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Maternal Fetal Medicine Units Network, Neonatal Research Network, and Pelvic Floors Disorders Network, as well as the National Cancer Institute’s Gynecologic Oncology Group.