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March 24, 2009

Brown's Vision for Okla. Policy Center Earns Top Heritage Honor

Washington, March 24, 2009 --Dr. David R. Brown, an orthopedic surgeon whose vision of a policy research organization for Oklahoma issues became reality, last night received the highest award of The Heritage Foundation, the leading Washington, D.C., think tank he helped build.

In presenting Brown with Heritage's Clare Boothe Luce Award at an Oklahoma City dinner gathering, colleagues cited his instrumental role in the 1993 founding of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA), an early example of a trend toward conservative, state-level policy research shops.

"OCPA has become the leader among state-based think tanks, and the organization's success is due in large part to the outstanding vision and leadership of Dr. Brown," Heritage President Edwin J. Feulner told the crowd at OCPA's Citizenship Award Dinner, held at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

One of Brown's models in creating Oklahoma City-based OCPA was Heritage, which from its founding in 1973 rapidly rose to prominence among conservative research organizations -- and think tanks in general. Brown, an unsung hero of the conservative movement, has been a key part of the Heritage brain trust since 1978, for the past 17 years serving as chairman of the Board of Trustees.

For 15 years, OCPA has researched and analyzed issues of concern to state residents from the perspective of limited government, individual liberty and a free-market economy. The organization is proud to have become regarded as "the flagship of the conservative movement in Oklahoma."

Heritage's Clare Boothe Luce Award recognizes outstanding leadership in the conservative movement. Past recipients include the late writer and editor William F. Buckley Jr., former President Ronald Reagan and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

"You personify the Jeffersonian spirit that made America a great nation and a good nation," the Heritage board said in a resolution bestowing the award on Brown. "Thanks to your wise counsel and generosity as trustee and chairman of The Heritage Foundation, our institution has grown into a permanent rampart for the defense of freedom."

The resolution concluded: "You have set a lifelong example of what it means to be a man, a citizen and a patriotic American."

Feulner read a portion of a congratulatory letter from Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) thanking Brown for "leadership and service in the medical field as well as ... effectiveness in the conservative movement." Tom Saunders of New York, a Heritage board member who oversees the think tank's "Leadership for America" campaign, joined Feulner to present the award.

A graduate of the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine, Brown served as president of the Oklahoma State Orthopedic Association and chairman of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Saint Anthony Hospital.

He is a former board member of the Baptist Medical Center of Oklahoma Foundation and a retired professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine. He currently serves as a trustee of the Noble Foundation and chairman of the Executive Committee of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.

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