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Mike Brown’s history with OB-GYN department continues with endowed gift

The Michael P. Brown, M.D., and Janet M. Brown Wichita OB-GYN Support Fund is the department’s first endowed fund to focus solely on engagement and education.

Janet and Mike Brown take a photo together in a wooded area
Janet and Mike Brown, M.D., enjoy hunting together and also enjoy supporting KU School of Medicine-Wichita’s OB-GYN department together. (Courtesy photo)

After retiring in 2017 from a long career delivering babies, providing women’s health care and teaching medical students and residents, Mike Brown, M.D., is again making an impact in OB-GYN health care.

Brown — who did his OB-GYN residency training with KU School of Medicine-Wichita and was a faculty member of the medical school’s OB-GYN department from 1981 through 2017 — and his wife, Janet, have established an endowed fund for the KU School of Medicine-Wichita Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology that will support resident and faculty engagement and education.

The Michael P. Brown, M.D., and Janet M. Brown Wichita OB-GYN Support Fund is the department’s first endowed fund to focus solely on engagement and education. A previous gift from the department’s first chair, Daniel K. Roberts, M.D., created an endowed fund to support research and quality improvement.

Their support is coming at an important time, said David Grainger, M.D., MPH, the department’s current chair, especially as funding for graduate medical education, often from state and federal sources, is not keeping pace.

Because of restrictions, those sources often don’t support some important activities like improving faculty and student engagement or even covering all the costs of training, like the trend to use more simulation practices in residency programs.

For example, Grainger has continued a practice, started by Roberts, of having retreats where all four classes of the residency program can get together. The meetings, which take place three times a year, have become a key part of the residency program because not only do they provide opportunities for networking and building camaraderie, but they also have become a safe space to problem-solve and have exclusive access to the department chair.

Money from the new endowed fund can be used to cover the costs of these retreats or other similar activities that will help continue the program’s reputation for quality, Grainger said.

Brown, who earned his medical degree from the University of Nebraska College of Medicine, has had a long history with the KU School of Medicine-Wichita residency program and the OB-GYN department.

“When I talk to alumni, everyone remembers Mike,” Grainger said.

For Grainger, having Brown step up to create a fund to support students and residents is especially meaningful.

Grainger first met Brown in the early ’80s, when Grainger was in his third year of medical school and Brown was the chief resident at KU School of Medicine-Wichita.

“He was the most important person in me choosing OB-GYN as a career. He was instrumental in driving my interest as a senior resident and then when he graduated (in 1981) he was on the faculty, so he continued to teach me and be a big part of my career,” said Grainger, who did his residency at KU School of Medicine-Wichita from 1981 to 1985. After practicing in Hays, Kansas, for three years and completing a two-year fellowship at Yale, Grainger returned to Wichita in 1990, joining Brown on the faculty.

“He’s been a mentor, a friend and the doctor who delivered one of my kids,” Grainger said. Brown and Grainger, along with OB-GYN faculty member Bruce Tjaden, D.O., also co-founded Cypress Surgery Center.

Over the course of his career, Brown estimates he delivered around 10,000 babies, and he knows of some who went on to medical school.

During that time, Brown also impacted the education of hundreds of medical students and residents.

In 1985 — four years after joining the faculty — Brown began serving as the department’s medical student director, overseeing curriculum and testing, in addition to teaching in the residency program. He was in the director position until his 2017 retirement.

The residency program ended up providing an exclusive pipeline of physicians when Brown set up his practice, College Hill OB-GYN, in 1983.

“That wasn’t by design. We would interview other people, but their training just wasn’t of the quality” of the KU Wichita program, he said.

Brown said he and his wife, who is an artist, had been discussing ways they could continue to support the OB-GYN program when Grainger suggested this opportunity to again lead by example.

“Mike won’t say much about himself, but he was a key player in this department for many years so to have him step up in this capacity is going to be meaningful to other graduates of the program,” Grainger said. “Mike is being a leader in this endeavor, and he’s always been a leader, and I’m very appreciative of Mike and his wife creating this fund.”

KU School of Medicine-Wichita