WASHINGTON—Dr. David Brown, an orthopedic surgeon who promoted the well-being of America and its principles as chairman of The Heritage Foundation Board of Trustees, died March 2, 2022.
Brown joined Heritage’s board in 1978, he was elected chairman in 1992, and served in that capacity for the next 17 years. After his retirement as chairman, he was elected chairman emeritus, a title which he held until his passing.
Heritage founder Ed Feulner, who served as president during the entirety of Brown’s tenure as a trustee and chairman, made the following statement:
“David Brown’s foresight and long-term strategic thinking were invaluable to The Heritage Foundation. For more than three decades, he provided guidance that helped us grow from a small policy center to a powerhouse of conservative ideas. David was an incredible leader and a truly wise counsellor to me and to so many others.”
In the 1990s, Brown took on additional duties at Heritage, serving as chairman of the think tank’s Physician’s Council during the debates around expanding the role of government in health care. He recruited more than 700 doctors to the council, all of them dedicated to strengthening the doctor-patient relationship and advocating personal choice in health care plans.
Throughout his years with Heritage, Brown maintained a private practice as an orthopedic surgeon in Oklahoma City. He also taught as a clinical professor at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, where he had conducted investigative work on the replacement of intervertebral discs. He also served as president of the Oklahoma Chernobyl Bridge Foundation, a charitable organization providing medical aid to children of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
In 2009, Heritage awarded Brown its highest honor, the Clare Boothe Luce Award, with this commendation:
“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. Through your personal honor, your integrity, and your commitment to plain-spoken truth, you have infused this institution and its family with those virtues.
“You have set a lifelong example of what it means to be a man, a citizen, and a patriotic American. It is with highest gratitude, affection, and respect that The Heritage Foundation pays its highest tribute to David Brown.”
Beyond Heritage, Brown served on the governing boards of several nonprofit organizations, including the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation and the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA), which he cofounded in 1993. He served as the longtime chairman of OCPA’s board and was, until his death, chairman emeritus. OCPA is a vital member of State Policy Network, which Brown supported from its earliest days.
His wife, Ann Noble Brown, died in 2021. They were married for 69 years.