Many faculty at Brown's medical school practice at both facilities run by Care New England and those operated by its competitor Lifespan.

The two providers have publicly clashed over whether Rhode Island regulators should approve a deal that would make Care New England part of Partners Healthcare, the largest provider in Massachusetts.

In a statement, Brown says that Lifespan's public criticism of the deal has put medical school faculty in the "uncomfortable position of having to take sides." The schools says that because of that, Paxson has temporarily stepped down from Care New England's board, and she'll remain on leave until the state rules on the deal.

Initially, Paxson was among the deal's earliest critics. She warned that letting Partners enter the Rhode Island market would mean higher prices and more doctors leaving for Massachusetts. Plus, it was unclear what the deal could mean for Brown's medical school: Partners' hospitals in Massachusetts are affiliated with Harvard Medical School.

But last summer, Partners executives publicly pledged that Brown would remain Care New England's primary affiliate, and Paxson joined Care New England's board. After that, Paxson stopped criticizing the deal publicly.