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UTHSC’s Ken Brown and Altha Stewart Receive 2017 Health Care Heroes Awards


Two outstanding leaders from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center won top awards last night at the Memphis Business Journal’s 2017 Health Care Heroes Awards ceremony.

Dr. Ken Brown

UTHSC’s Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operations Officer Ken Brown, JD, MPA, PhD, FACHE, received the 2017 Health Care Heroes Award for Administrative Excellence. Altha Stewart, MD, associate professor of psychiatry and founding director of the Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth, received the 2017 Health Care Heroes Award in the Health Care Provider (Physician) category.

Dr. Brown has served the university for 17 years. A visionary dedicated to moving Tennessee’s public academic health care institution forward, he is a tireless promoter of the university on the local, state, national, and international stage.

Dr. Brown has said his mission is to move UTHSC “from an incidental to an intentional campus,” taking the infrastructure from a conglomeration of disparate buildings in the heart of the Memphis Medical District to a state-of-the-art, cohesive anchor for the local health care community.

He has led the development and evolution of the Campus Master Plan unveiled in 2014, which features construction that is changing the face of the campus. Among the construction projects are the $49 million Translational Science Research Building, $70 million in renovations to the Historic Quadrangle at the center of campus, $5 million in demolition of outdated buildings, and renovations of structures across the university.

Two buildings slated for completion this year shine a spotlight on his leadership. The $16 million Plough Center for Sterile Drug Delivery Systems expands UTHSC’s manufacturing capabilities in the global pharmaceutical marketplace. The $36.7 million Simulation Center will allow students from the six colleges on campus to train in simulation environments to deliver team-based health care. It is one of only a few at academic health centers around the country built for and totally dedicated to simulation training.

Dr. Brown serves as chair of the board of directors of the Memphis Medical District Collaborative. In that role, he advocates bringing business, residential, and cultural amenities to the district, and is positioning UTHSC as a key player in that effort.

In addition to the Plough Center, he manages The West Tennessee Regional Forensic Center, and UTHSC’s BSL3 Regional Biocontainment Laboratory.

A psychiatrist, Dr. Stewart is dedicated to helping the young citizens of Memphis have better lives. She accepted her award, which honors a doctor who shows exemplary performance in his or her given field, “on behalf of the children we work with every day.”

Her dedication to improve lives extends to the national and international stage as well. Earlier this year, she became the president-elect of the American Psychiatric Association (APA). She is the first African American to lead the more than 37,000-member organization since its start in 1844. She assumes the role of APA president in May 2018.

Dr. Altha Stewart

Dr. Stewart, also chief of Social and Community Psychiatry at UTHSC, is a nationally recognized expert in public sector and minority issues in mental health care, and in the effects of trauma and violence on children. She was recruited to UTHSC in 2015 to establish the Center for Health In Justice Involved Youth, which aims to reduce the number of young people in the juvenile justice system by addressing the trauma and exposure to violence that contribute to the mental health issues and behavioral issues that land them there.

The City Council’s Crime Prevention and Intervention Task Force recently consulted with her about early trauma and later behavior, and the state legislature recognized her for her work with the center and her role with the APA.

UTHSC was well represented at the awards ceremony. Several UTHSC-affiliated finalists were also honored.

Ajay J. Talati, MD, professor of pediatrics and obstetrics and gynecology, and program director of the neonatal-perinatal medicine fellowship at UTHSC, was a finalist in the physician category. Christina Rosenthal, DDS, UTHSC College of Dentistry alumna and founder of the Determined to be a Doctor Someday program, was a finalist in the community outreach category. Giancarlo Mari, MD, and the OB F.A. S.T. team from UTHSC and Regional One Health were also finalists in the community outreach category.

“This dinner represents the best of the best in health care in Memphis,” said Bruce Hopkins, representing First Tennessee Bank, one of the sponsors of the awards.