CARIS Award Honors Achievements of School of Medicine Administrator
(June 2, 2019) — L. Whitman Brown, MBA, PMP, assistant dean for finance & administration at Georgetown University School of Medicine, was surprised to hear his name called at the Georgetown University Medical Center Community Meeting on May 9 in the Research Building auditorium.
“I was told there was a big announcement happening at the community meeting and that I had to be there. Once Sean [Hawkins] started talking about the award, I noticed a photographer next to me and quickly realized why I had to be there,” Brown said after the meeting.
Brown was the recipient of this year’s C.A.R.I.S. Award, which stands for compassion, achievement, respect, inspiration and service, and is awarded to staff and academic and administrative professionals (AAPs) that exemplify these values at the medical center.
The award name is also inspired by the Greek word for “grace” or “kindness,” qualities possessed by the 2019 recipient of the C.A.R.I.S. Award, said Sean Hawkins, chief of staff in the office of the executive vice president at the medical center and director of GUMC special projects, who presented the award.
“It was a wonderful feeling,” said Brown on his selection. “It’s nice to be recognized.”
Coming Full Circle
Brown started working part-time at the School of Medicine in 2009 while finishing his master’s in business administration at The George Washington University. During this time, he was tasked with assisting faculty and administrators during the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) site visit.
After the site visit, Brown worked in the curriculum office before moving to finance and administration. Three years ago, he became the project manager for the self-study in preparation for the LCME recertification site visit that took place this February.
“Looking back on it, starting with the last self-study and wrapping up this one feels really good,” Brown said. “It’s neat that the site visit was how I got my foot in the door at Georgetown and then I ended up running the project the next time around.”
To prepare for the site visit, Brown closely collaborated with Stephen Ray Mitchell, MD, MBA, dean for medical education, Mary Furlong, MD, senior associate dean for curriculum, and Yvonne Hernandez, PhD, associate dean for preclinical education, among several others.
The visit itself consisted of 21 different sessions over three days, each with two individual preparation meetings in January and February.
Hawkins said at the community meeting, “I know I speak for many who were engaged in this process at having witnessed Whit’s tireless, infinitely patient, and unwavering dedication and hard work ethic over the past several years as we prepared for the LCME recertification for the medical school that took place earlier this year.”
“It wasn’t a team effort,” Brown said. “It was a community effort.”
Focused on the Future
Known for being solutions-oriented and a strong communicator and collaborator, Brown said that he stays positive in high pressure situations by focusing on the issues that he can control.
“When something is outside my control, I try not to worry about it,” he said. “Initially, there may be a little fuss, but you have to move on. If I can’t control it, I go with the flow and focus on the things I have control over,” he said.
Outside of work, Brown loves spending time with his family, including his 2-year-old daughter, and has a passion for sailing. His favorite part about working at Georgetown is the community and culture centered around values, including its support for work-life balance.
“People really care at Georgetown,” he said. “If there’s anything personal going on in your life that you need to attend to, there’s an understanding that family comes first. It really feels like a community.”
With the next site visit happening in 2027, Brown is focused on continuous quality improvement at the School of Medicine and addressing the findings of the recent self-study and site visit. He plans to be here for the next site visit and is aiming for zero citations in the future.
“That’s our motto,” he said. “‘Zero in 2027.’”