When Kennard Brown, JD, MPA, PhD, FACHE, looks the University of Tennessee Health Science Center today, he sees a very different campus than he did when he joined the university roughly 20 years ago. New state-of-the-art buildings, greatly improved security measures, and strong collaborations with key community partners have helped raised the profile of the state’s public academic health care institution.
As executive vice chancellor and chief operations officer, Dr. Brown has been the visionary behind many of the improvements. The Memphis Business Journal has recognized Dr. Brown’s contributions to the university and the community by naming him one of the 100 most powerful people in Memphis Business.
The Memphis Business Journal’s editorial team compiled the Power 100 list, which names leaders from sports, education, business, politics, health care, and community service. Among others on the list are University of Memphis men’s basketball head coach Penny Hardaway; Dr. Joris Ray, superintendent of Shelby County Schools; Paul Young, director of Housing and Community Development for the City of Memphis; and Van Turner, chairman of the Shelby County Commission.
Dr. Brown is responsible for coordinating the day-to-day administrative operations and management of the university. His tireless efforts in lobbying the state legislature, corporate partners, and alumni for funding to improve the campus are evidenced by ongoing construction that could approach more than $400 million over time.
One has to look no further than the Center for Healthcare Improvement and Patient Simulation (CHIPS) on the Memphis campus to see an example of his leadership. He is the force behind the $39.7 million, 45,000-square-foot building, which is the only one of its kind in Tennessee totally dedicated to educating and developing enhanced clinical skills through simulation training. The lobby of the building is dedicated to him.
Dr. Brown led the development and evolution of the Campus Master Plan unveiled in 2014. In addition to CHIPS, improvements include the $20 million Plough Center for Sterile Drug Delivery Solutions, which recently received FDA registration and expands UTHSC’s manufacturing capabilities in the global pharmaceutical marketplace, and the $70 million renovation of the Historic Quadrangle underway in the center of campus.
He is now leading the 2019 Campus Master Plan Update, which began gathering input from faculty, staff, and students in April. The update will present a long-term vision for the future of the Memphis campus.
He has secured approximately $30 million for campus safety improvements, including an Emergency Operations Center in the General Education Building, thousands of new security cameras and keyless locks, and numerous upgrades to the Campus Police Department. In April, UTHSC was rated among the Top 10 on the 2019 Safest Colleges in America list compiled by the National Council for Home Safety and Security.
Dr. Brown also manages The West Tennessee Regional Forensic Center and UTHSC’s Regional Biocontainment Laboratory.
Known for his leadership in the community, Dr. Brown served for two years as chairman of the board of the Memphis Medical District Collaborative and currently is a board member. He has been a strong advocate for bringing business, residential capacity, and cultural amenities to the district, and has helped to position UTHSC as a key player in that effort.
In 2019, Dr. Brown was recognized by the Common Table Health Alliance with its Visionary Leadership Award. In 2017, he was named a Health Care Hero for administrative excellence by the Memphis Business Journal. In 2016, he was Africa in April’s International Executive of the Year and Rainbow/PUSH Coalition’s Memphis Health Care Executive of the Year.