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  1. News Release

  2. Feb 28, 2020

Doctors, Public Back Rhode Island Bills To Stop Unsound, Unethical Use of Animals in Medical Training

Doctors Group Underscores Their Stance With Outdoor Ads and Billboard Outside State House

PROVIDENCE, R.I.—On Wednesday, Feb. 26, at the Rhode Island State House, doctors and members of the public joined Rep. Joseph Solomon and Sen. Bridget Valverde in support of bills that would modernize medical training in Rhode Island and make it more human-relevant. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine—a national nonprofit with more than 12,000 doctor members—is backing H 7211 and S 2341, which specify that if nonanimal training methods are available or used by another accredited training program in the same medical discipline, a medical training program may not use live animals.

The bills would stop the ongoing, lethal animal use in Brown University’s emergency medicine residency, which takes place at Rhode Island Hospital. Brown’s is the only emergency medicine residency in New England using and killing animals to train doctors. Emergency medicine residencies operate without using animals at Massachusetts General Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston University, the University of Connecticut, and Yale University.

The Physicians Committee is also responsible for several outdoor ads, including a billboard and five bus shelter ads, surrounding the State House and Brown University. The signs read “You deserve the best-trained doctors! Tell your legislators YES on S 2341 and H 7211.” and “It’s time for Brown to stop killing animals to train doctors. Tell your legislators YES on S 2341 and H 7211.”

Physicians Committee doctors Kerry Foley, MD, of Washington, D.C., and Al Puerini, MD, FAAFP, of Clayville, R.I., spoke in support of the bills. Dr. Foley, a retired emergency medicine physician and instructor, practiced emergency medicine for 26 years. She completed her residency at Georgetown University. Dr. Puerini practiced medicine in Rhode Island for 35 years. He completed his residency at Brown University and was awarded 2017 Physician of the Year by the Rhode Island Academy of Family Physicians.

“Multiple studies have shown that medical training simulators improve skill acquisition and retention. Some simulators feature flowing blood, breakable bones, and layers of skin, muscle, and fat,” said Kerry Foley, MD. “All of these devices are more appropriate for teaching emergency procedures than are animals.”

“The joint Brown-Rhode Island Hospital emergency medicine program continues to use animals, even though nearly all of its peers across the nation have ceased the practice,” said Al Puerini, MD, FAAFP. “House Bill 7211 and Senate Bill 2341 would address not only the substandard animal-based training occurring in that program, but it would also ensure that Rhode Island is a leader in ethical, human-relevant medical training.”

To speak with Dr. Foley or for a copy of the doctors’ testimonies or the ad artwork, please contact Reina Pohl at 202-527-7326 or

Media Contact

Reina Pohl, MPH


Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in education and research.

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