Meagan C. Brown, PhD, MPH, is a health equity and implementation science researcher who joined Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) as a collaborative scientist in 2021. She is also the associate director of SONNET: Social Needs Network for Evaluation and Translation, which is funded by Kaiser Permanente's National Office of Community Health and aims to address the social risks and needs of Kaiser Permanente members.
Dr. Brown’s work is rooted in intersectionality theory, which emphasizes the interdependence of social positions (for example, race, class/income, and disability) situated within larger macrosystems of power, privilege, and oppression. She has extensive experience in designing, implementing, and evaluating interventions for chronic disease prevention across community-based and academic settings.
Since joining KPWHRI, Dr. Brown has applied her expertise in health equity theories and methods, social determinants of health (SDOH), implementation science, and chronic disease prevention to the rapidly growing field of social health research. She has led several notable social health projects. These include:
In addition to these projects, Dr. Brown currently serves as the health equity expert on the Optimizing Implementation in Cancer Control (OPTICC) Center, which is an implementation science center funded by the NCI. She is also leading a pilot study comparing the impact of local community resource specialists on addressing the social needs of Kaiser Permanente members, with the impact of a centralized call center. In 2022, Dr. Brown also received a National Institutes of Health/NCI Disparities Loan Repayment Award to examine the impact of these 2 different approaches to addressing members’ social needs in relation to preventative breast, colon, and cervical cancer screenings.
Dr. Brown obtained her MPH in health behavior from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her PhD in health services from the University of Washington (UW). At UW, she received a Graduate Opportunities-Minority Achievement Program (GO-MAP) scholarship as well as T32 fellowships from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, all of which supported chronic disease prevention intervention implementation, effectiveness, and equity research. In 2019, Dr. Brown was named one of the Husky 100 — an award given to only 100 UW students across all 3 campuses — for her commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in her research and the broader community.
Dr. Brown is an affiliate assistant professor at UW and is committed to training and mentoring the next generation of public health professionals, particularly those from marginalized backgrounds. In addition to being a co-instructor for the Foundations of Public Health course in the UW MPH Core Program, she also has extensive experience working with rural and under-resourced local health department practitioners to improve their use of evidence-based and community-engaged implementation strategies.
In her spare time, Dr. Brown plays semi-professional ultimate frisbee and, like many PNWers, enjoys hiking and backpacking with her dog, Callie.
Brown MC, Hawley C, Ornelas IJ, Huber C, Best L, Thorndike AN, Beresford S, Howard BV, Umans JG, Hager A, Fretts AM. Adapting a cooking, food budgeting and nutrition intervention for a rural community of American Indians with type 2 diabetes in the North-Central United States. Health Educ Res. 2023 Jan 20;38(1):13-27. doi: 10.1093/her/cyac033. PubMed
Brown MC, Hawley C, Ornelas IJ, Huber C, Beat L, Thorndike AN, Beresford S, Howard BV, Umans JG, Hager A, Fretts AM. Adapting a cooking, food budgeting and nutrition intervention for a rural community of American Indians with type 2 diabetes in the North-Central United States. Health Educ Res. 2022 Nov 7;cyac033. doi: 10.1093/her/cyac033. Online ahead of print. PubMed
Kava CM, Strait M, Brown MC, Hammerback K, Harris JR, Alongi J, Hannon PA. Partnerships to expand worksite wellness programs - A qualitative analysis of state and local health department perspectives. Inquiry. 2022 Jan-Dec;59:469580221092822. doi: 10.1177/00469580221092822. PubMed
Brown MC, Kava C, Bekemeier B, Ornelas IJ, Harris JR, Chan KCG, Robertson M, Hannon PA. Local health departments' capacity for workplace health promotion programs to prevent chronic disease: Comparison of rural, micropolitan, and urban contexts. J Public Health Manag Pract. 2021 Sep-Oct;27(5):E183-E188. doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000001182. PubMed
Brown MC, Marciniak CM, Garrett AM, Gaebler-Spira DJ. Dietary quality in adults with cerebral palsy: An exploratory study of a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease prevention. Dev Med Child Neurol. 2021 Oct;63(10):1221-1228. doi: 10.1111/dmcn.14913. Epub 2021 May 6. PubMed
The HCSRN conference is a venue for collaborative work to improve health and health care.
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Cindee DeWitt describes how Kaiser Permanente Washington’s community resource specialist program stands out among efforts to meet patients’ social needs.