NAVAL MEDICAL CENTER CAMP LEJEUNE, North Carolina –
U.S. Navy Captain Kevin J. Brown always knew he wanted to be a doctor.
“Generations of people from home were farmers, but I knew pretty early that I wanted to go into medicine,” said Brown. “I wanted to be a family doctor like the country, family doctor we had. That’s what inspired me.”
Brown’s application and acceptance to medical school was an alternate path from the norm while growing up in Genoa, Ohio. Still, medical school aspirations would mean a steep, medical school price tag.
“The Navy offered a one-for-one scholarship which meant a year of medical school paid for a year on active duty,” Brown explained. “I learned about the Health Professions Scholarship Program. I applied for that and was selected, and that’s how I ended up in the Navy.”
Brown graduated from the Medical University of Ohio and completed his family medicine internship and residency at Naval Hospital Jacksonville. What he says was meant to be a four-year commitment became a military medical career nearly 30 years in the making.
Career milestones for Brown include selection for an aerospace medicine residency at Naval Air Station Pensacola and several combat deployments.
“I would say my operational tours are the things I look at most favorably,” said Brown. “Providing high quality care, putting that on our backs, and carrying it forward in an area that doesn’t have other health care resources to support it…that’s professionally, really rewarding.”
Brown assumed command of Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune on July 22, 2022. Brown now has two tours of duty at Marine Corps installations on both the East and West Coasts of the U.S.
“I have loved my time with the Marines. My first tour out of family medicine residency was Twentynine Palms [California] for three years,” Brown said. “We got a lot of ‘I’m sorry’ when we got orders. We went out there, and we are in this great community with these marvelous people who love having us there. It wasn’t about the location; it was about the people, which is always the case.”
People will remain Brown’s focus as he moves into his new leadership role as NMCCL’s Commander and Director. Brown says he has two goals as a leader: empower and enable.
“Empower, to me, means training, mentoring, and encouraging people to operate at the highest level of their training and capabilities. The enabling piece is making sure folks have the resources they need to meet the tasks they’re given, and for me to have the strength as a leader to get out of their way and let them do their jobs.”
Brown has spent only a few weeks on the job, but one message he already has for his team: if they see him walking around their clinic or space, run toward him, not away.
Said Brown, “I want to get to know staff not just for what they do but get to know them for who they are. I think about all the other places I’ve been, and the most memorable experiences are developing those relationship and those friendships in time.”
Brown’s hopes for NMCCL are to continue providing the highest quality of care for beneficiaries and to continue as the premier readiness training platform, missions he calls “mutually inclusive.”
“From day one, I’ve felt like a welcomed, valued member of this team, as a person and a professional, not just because I happen to be the new commander.”
Brown comes to NMCCL following time spent as Fleet Surgeon for U.S. Fleet Forces. Prior to that, he was Commanding Officer of Expeditionary Medical Facility- Mike, deploying to New York, Texas and other states in support of COVID-19 response.