The Brown University School of Public Health mourns the loss of Marvin Gene Ronning, who passed away on Monday, November 7 at the age of 60. During his years as a senior administrator and deputy director of the Rhode Island Free Clinic, Marvin was an unstinting champion for vulnerable families across the state. He practiced his faith in the power of education by mentoring innumerable students at the School of Public Health and by establishing academic partnerships with every institution of higher education in Rhode Island.
“Marvin was a wonderful friend of the School of Public Health,” said Fox Wetle, professor of health services, policy and practice and the founding dean of the School of Public Health. “Very early on, Marvin supported the MPH internship at the RI Free Clinic and worked with us to design a thriving experience that is used as a model for such internships today. Marvin was always dapper in his bow tie and crisply pressed shirts. Personally, I will miss Marvin’s collegial friendship and helpful advice, as will many, many SPH students, staff, and faculty.”
Joann Barao, coordinator for Applied Learning Experiences and Professional Development for Brown’s MPH program, said, “Marvin was just a spectacular human being – always collaborating with community partners to support the underserved, and often unseen, people of Rhode Island. He was a wonderful and caring mentor to public health and medical students at Brown while simultaneously carrying out true, down-and-dirty community health work for decades. He will truly be missed and oh so hard to replace.”
Among his many additional acts of public service, Marvin served as director of the Northern RI Area Health Education Center, and as board chair of the Learning Community Charter School in Central Falls.