On January 17, UT President John Petersen announced plans to immediately remove the interim title designation for both Hershel “Pat” Wall, MD, and Ken Brown, MPA, JD, PhD.
Today, UT President John Petersen announced plans to immediately remove the interim title designation for both Hershel “Pat” Wall, MD, and Ken Brown, MPA, JD, PhD. Since mid-April 2007, Dr. Wall has served as interim chancellor and vice president for Health Affairs, while Dr. Brown has served as chief of staff and interim executive vice chancellor for the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC).
“The change for Pat requires board approval and I will submit that recommendation” President Petersen said. “The change for Ken will take place immediately. Both have done excellent jobs in carrying out their responsibilities and we appreciate their willingness to provide leadership going forward.”
President Petersen noted, “In December, we suspended the chancellor search while we explored issues we felt were important to our ability to conduct the search with maximum effectiveness.
“On Wednesday, Dr. David Millhorn, Dr. Thomas Zacharia and I spent the day [in Memphis] meeting with several of our community partners as well as campus leadership, discussing some of the options we have been exploring. We are now prepared to move ahead on a strong and rapid strategic track.”
Pending board approval, Dr. Wall will carry the title of chancellor and its full responsibilities until a new permanent chancellor is hired. Dr. Brown will immediately function full time as the permanent executive vice chancellor and continue in his role as chief of staff.
“We will not resume the chancellor search process until we have enhanced the appeal of the position through the joint efforts of campus leadership and our community partners,” President Petersen stated. “We hope the search can be re-started within the next year and we expect to attract an exceptional leader.
“We are grateful to Chancellor Wall for agreeing to assume the chancellorship until that task is completed.”
President Petersen continued, “By early this summer we will roll out a clear plan for taking the Health Science Center forward. That plan will reflect the outcome of working closely with campus leadership, and with our Memphis partners at St. Jude, Baptist, Methodist and Bioworks in the coming weeks.
“Among the opportunities we will pursue is a rapid and strategic exercise to bring our supercomputing capabilities into the Health Science Center enterprise.”
He added, “We will be actively looking at opportunities to partner with key health care resources across the state, to apply mutual strengths to mutual advantage.
“We will continue to work with members of the legislature and the governor’s office to pursue support in meeting the funding gaps and other operating and structural needs that presently hinder our advancement.
“We believe this is a sound direction and appreciate the indication of support we have received. This process will receive the full focus and resources of all involved.”
President Petersen stated, “The needs on the Health Science Center campus have been and continue to be at the highest priority in my office and among our key leadership, including our board of trustees. A successful Health Science Center is absolutely critical to the mission of the University of Tennessee and we are committed to taking the steps to assure that success.”
Prior to accepting the role as interim chancellor, Dr. Wall was a professor and executive associate dean for admissions and student affairs. He had served as interim dean for the UTHSC College of Medicine, Memphis, from November 2005 to April 2007. Dr. Wall is a 1960 graduate of the UT College of Medicine, Memphis campus.
The College of Medicine recognized Dr. Wall in 1994 as the Outstanding Alumnus. In 2000, he was honored by the Tennessee Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics as Pediatrician of the Year. In 2004, he received the Exemplary Service Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Group on Student Affairs. Dr. Wall also has been recognized by the UT National Alumni Association with awards for distinguished public and community service, student mentorship and outstanding teaching.
As the chief of staff and executive vice chancellor for UTHSC, Dr. Brown is the principal aide to the chancellor. He handles a wide range of matters of institutional importance, such as operations of the Office of the Chancellor, including management of staff, budgets, administration, policies and procedures. The chief of staff provides coordination and oversight in the development of defined core initiatives for the Office of the Chancellor and serves as the chancellor’s primary strategic liaison with the Health Science Center and community constituencies. He is the chief administrative officer for the Health Science Center campus, providing leadership in areas of human resources, facilities and maintenance. In addition, he oversees all capital construction, architectural support services and the office of physical resources, which manages campus space and infrastructure needs, and campus police and security.
Dr. Brown began his career with the university some eight years ago in the Office of the General Counsel. From there, he became the director of Affirmative Action. He has also served as the director of Employee Relations and the executive director for the Center for Health Disparities. He holds a BA in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Memphis. He attended the Cecil C. Humphrey’s School of Law at the University of Memphis and received his JD in 1995. In August 2001, he received a master’s in Public Administration from the University of Memphis. Dr. Brown is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, the national public administration honor society. He earned his PhD in health policy at UTHSC in 2007. He was recognized by the UTHSC faculty senate as the administrator of the year for 2006-2007. Also, in 2007 he received the Imhotep award in recognition of outstanding dedication and service to the students of the UT Health Science Center.