Jack Brown Receives Lifetime Commitment to Public Health Award
For 20 years, communities around the country have celebrated National Public Health Week each April to highlight the good work of public health professionals.
Locally, the Sedgwick County Health Department uses this time to recognize an individual who has demonstrated extraordinary commitment and contributions to public health. The 2015 recipient of the Dr. Doren Fredrickson* Lifetime Commitment to Public Health Award is Jack Brown.
Brown has been involved in environmental health initiatives for more than 40 years, making numerous contributions to the health of Kansans. In 1970, be began his career at the Wichita-Sedgwick County Health Department, managing several environmental programs until his appointment as the environmental health director. As director, Brown established and administered local programs in water quality, pollution prevention, food protection, air quality, emergency response and more.
In 1995, Brown began teaching the first environmental health class in the history of University of Kansas Master of Public Health program and, in 2004, left what had become the City of Wichita Environmental Health Department to take up a full-time position with KU. Brown remains a research professor for the university to date and is still seen taking vans of students to local environmental agencies such as the City of Wichita Wastewater Treatment Facility, and the Sedgwick County Household Hazardous Waste Facility.
Some specific examples of his contributions and successes include:
- The nationally lauded Gilbert-Mosley Project, resulting in the construction of the WATER Center in Wichita, which serves as a groundwater remediation and environmental education center for the community.
- The Arkansas River Summit in 2000, leading to the Arkansas River Study, which examined water quality and bacterial contamination levels of the river. This study lead to the development of an advisory system and programs to inform the public of water condition implications, and a plan to address water quality issues related to the Arkansas River.
- Chairperson of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board, and with the board, he has made recommendations to the Wichita City Council and its staff on issues related to bicycling and walking.
“Jack was a longtime colleague of Dr. Fredrickson, and I am sure if he were here today, he would agree that Jack is very deserving of this recognition for the lifetime commitment he has made to ensure the health and safety of the public,” said Adrienne Byrne-Lutz, Sedgwick County Health Department director.
*Dr. Doren Fredrickson served as the Health Department’s health officer from 2002 to 2008. He was a dedicated, caring and enthusiastic health advocate who devoted his entire career to improving public health.