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Release Date: 11/26/2019

December 2019 marks Butler Hospital’s 175th anniversary, as Rhode Island’s only non-profit, free-standing psychiatric hospital. This milestone birthday makes Butler Hospital the oldest hospital in the state of Rhode Island, a testament to the high-quality behavioral health care it has been providing to patients since the mid-19th century.

In 1844, Butler Hospital was founded in a new era of “Moral Treatment,” a period of reform for psychiatry and the nation. Dr. Isaac Ray, the hospital’s first superintendent, believed that each patient should be treated humanely in a clean, safe environment. His beliefs in the healing effects of quality care and the legal rights of mentally ill patients provided an important foundation upon which Butler Hospital developed its reputation as a leader in treating the mentally ill with dignity and respect. 

The land Butler Hospital sits upon, was originally purchased for a price of $6,000, and the original building was approximately 100,000 square feet and constructed at a cost of $89,000. Today, the sprawling campus is 110-acres and houses 35 buildings, which are home to many of Butler’s services and programs. Many of the original, historic red-brick buildings built in the 1800s remain standing and are still in use, today.  

Mary E. Marran, MS, OT, MBA, Butler Hospital’s 22nd president and chief operating officer, says she is beyond proud of all that Butler has accomplished between the time Isaac Ray oversaw operations, until she took the helm, “Through the hard work and dedication of the caregivers before us, Butler Hospital has become and remains a leader in behavioral health care. Butler has always been and remains a safe place where people can come to receive treatment in a compassionate environment. Our anniversary holds a near and dear place in Rhode Island history, a history steeped in the health and wellness of mind, body, and spirit for all our patients.” 

Affiliated with The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Butler Hospital’s clinical research trials provides valuable information on brain-based diseases. Through this research, new treatments are being discovered for diseases including depression and anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Alzheimer’s disease, Movement Disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, and addictions.

Butler Hospital is dedicated to advancing the neurosciences and reducing human suffering from disorders of the nervous system through world-class research, outstanding clinical care and advanced education. As a result, people with these life-altering illnesses are finding relief and helping develop innovative treatments.

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About Butler Hospital

Butler Hospital, a member of Care New England, is the only private, nonprofit psychiatric and substance abuse hospital serving adults, seniors and adolescents in Rhode Island and southeastern New England. Founded in 1844, it was the first hospital in Rhode Island and has earned a reputation as the leading provider of innovative psychiatric treatments in the region. The Major Affiliated Teaching Hospital for Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Butler is recognized worldwide as a pioneer in conducting cutting-edge research.

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