UNC Charlotte professor emeritus Bill Brandon and his wife, Pam Fawcett-Brandon, have made a significant contribution in support of the College of Health and Human Services’ health policy agenda through the creation of the Pam Fawcett-Brandon and William P. Brandon Endowment.
This generous commitment will expand institutional resources and support for the Metrolina Medical Foundation Distinguished Professor of Public Policy on Health (MMF professor), a post Brandon was the first to hold and served in from 1994 to 2014. The position is now held by Professor Winsor Schmidt.
The Brandon Endowment is intended to supplement existing resources, modernize the scope of research and foster the growth of institutional structure at UNC Charlotte for research, service and teaching in health and environmental policy.
“I think institutions matter,” Brandon said. “Particularly in health care, more and more research is team-oriented.”
By establishing the Brandon Initiative for Health and Environmental Policy, the endowment seeks to expand CHHS’s research capabilities in the area by building on what is already in place. Brandon’s focus on environmental health is rooted in an emerging recognition of its importance in public health policy.
“Increasingly we're aware of the social determinants of health. We're moving away from the classical epidemiological model … because we now recognize the impact of factors like human behavior, toxic substances in the environment and climate change,” he said.
The Brandon Initiative also seeks to pair robust increases in research and external funding with a continued focus on community engagement; strong evidence suggests CHHS faculty and staff are already embracing this very philosophy.
The College of Health and Human Services recently met a goal of $5 million in competitive external funding and launched a series of new community-facing ventures during the past year.
The Academy for Public Health Innovation (APHI) is a new partnership between CHHS and the Mecklenburg County Health Department; APHI will strive to make Charlotte the nation’s healthiest community through forward-thinking research, implementation of evidence-based practices in public health, training and workforce development and community engagement.
Over time, Brandon said he hopes the endowment fosters institutionalized health policy through a vibrant network of scholars coordinated under the leadership of the MMF professor.
“The Brandons’ generous and forward-thinking gift will serve as an essential catalyst in strengthening our many academic and research programs touching on health policy,” said Nan Fey-Yensan, dean of the College of Health and Human Services. “Importantly, Bill’s approaches have always been highly interdisciplinary and focused on improving health access and health outcomes – we will be able to invest more deeply in his vision and hopes for our communities with significant health challenges.”
The endowment also emerged from a desire to honor the Metrolina Medical Foundation for its longtime support of his research and valuable contributions as a community partner, Brandon said. “I wanted to honor the work they've done and build on it.”
Brandon, Ph.D., MPH, CPH, is Emeritus Metrolina Medical Foundation Distinguished Professor of Public Policy on Health, UNC Charlotte. Brandon taught in the masters' programs in health administration, gerontology and public administration and was a Faculty Associate of the Center for Professional and Applied Ethics. He played a central role in developing the health policy concentration of the Ph.D. in Public Policy, supervised the dissertation of the first candidate to receive the Public Policy Ph.D. and developed the doctoral health policy seminar for both public policy and health services research.