One has to look no further than the new Center for Healthcare Improvement and Patient Simulation at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center to see an example of the outstanding leadership of Ken Brown, JD, MPA, PhD, FACHE, the university’s executive vice chancellor, chief operations officer, and the visionary behind the $39.7 million building.
Dr. Brown was recognized Tuesday by the Common Table Health Alliance with its 2018 Visionary Leadership Award for his efforts to improve not only the university, but health and health care in the city, state, and beyond. The award was given at the organization’s annual meeting and luncheon at The Racquet Club of Memphis.
“The Common Table appreciates his years of tireless service to health care, health science, and to making this community better,” said Zach Chandler, MHA, vice chair of the Common Table Health Alliance, a community-based health care improvement collaborative. Since its founding almost two decades ago, the organization has focused on childhood obesity, health equity, health literacy, breast cancer, and other issues.
“I really don’t see myself as a visionary,” Dr. Brown said in accepting the award. “I think the Visionary Leadership Award really should go to the Common Table. The progress they’ve made in moving the proverbial needle for the health status of the people in the community is really where the recognition goes. I appreciate what you do. The University of Tennessee Health Science Center appreciates your partnership.”
Other award winners were Cyril Chang, PhD, professor of economics at the University of Memphis and director of Methodist Le Bonheur Center for Healthcare Economics, and Karen Pease, FNP, founder and CEO of the largest school health care provider in Tennessee, Well Child, Inc. Dr. Chang received the Health Economist Icon award. Pease received the Health Care Provider Innovator award.
The luncheon included a panel discussion focusing on the opioid epidemic in Memphis and Shelby County. Altha Stewart, MD, associate professor and director of the Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth at UTHSC, served as the moderator.
“Unfortunately, we are in the throes of the opioid epidemic,” Dr. Brown said during the awards ceremony after the panel. He cited the work being done by Dr. Stewart with the community’s youth and David Stern, MD, to battle addiction across the state, as examples of the university’s commitment to solving the problem. “With the medical examiner’s office, we see the final product of addiction,” Dr. Brown said. “A health science center has a social responsibility to its community. We’re happy to be a part of the work that you all do.”
As executive vice chancellor and COO at UTHSC, Dr. Brown is responsible for coordinating the day-to-day administrative operations and management of the campus central administration.
He has led the development and evolution of the Campus Master Plan unveiled in 2014. It is changing the face of the campus with major construction, including the Center for Healthcare Improvement and Patient Simulation and the $16 million Plough Center for Sterile Drug Delivery Solutions, which expands UTHSC’s manufacturing capabilities in the global pharmaceutical marketplace.
Dr. Brown is known for his leadership in the community. As chairman of the board of the Memphis Medical District Collaborative, he advocates bringing business, residential capacity, and cultural amenities to the district, and has positioned UTHSC as a key player in that effort.
Dr. Brown has been at UTHSC for more than 20 years. In 2017, he was named a Health Care Hero for administrative excellence by the Memphis Business Journal.
Dr. Brown earned his Juris Doctorate from the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, his master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Memphis, his PhD in Health Science Administration from UTHSC, and is recognized as a Fellow of the American College of Health Care Executives.