April 25, 2023
Austin and Grant Brown accept their award during the 2023 Michigan PharmD Commencement Ceremony.
Austin and Grant Brown accept their award during the 2023 Michigan PharmD Commencement Ceremony.

The Brown Family has been honored with the 2023 Alumni Service Award in Pharmacy. This award recognizes graduates of the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy who have made significant contributions to the profession of pharmacy.

“The Brown family exemplifies everything we inspire our students to achieve professionally,” says Vicki Ellingrod, PharmD, FCCP, FACNP, dean and John Gideon Searle Professor of Pharmacy. “Being leaders and innovators within the profession, while working to improve the health of the communities we serve is just one example of how pharmacists can change lives. They truly are an inspiration to the profession and amazing alumni of the College.”  

December 5, 1922, Bernath H. Brown received his license to practice pharmacy in the State of Michigan and thus began the four-generation impact of the Brown Family.  Bernath worked at Peck’s Drug Store in Jackson, Michigan and, after returning from military service in the South Pacific, his son Denniston met Isabelle Durbin who also worked at Peck’s. They both matriculated at the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy earning their pharmacy degrees in 1949 and marrying soon after. Denniston and Isabelle worked in various practice settings before opening Brown’s Pharmacy in Jackson in 1959 – just three years after their eldest son Grant was born.

Grant continued the family pharmacy legacy, attending the U-M College of Pharmacy earning a bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy in 1980 and a PharmD in 1983. While in school, Grant had an internship at Abbott Laboratories and continued working at the family pharmacy after his graduation. In 1985, Grant opened the first Option Care franchise in Michigan – a home infusion therapy service, while also working with his parents at Brown’s Pharmacy. By 1992, there was a second retail pharmacy and multiple Option Care locations and in 1995 the Michigan Pharmacists’ Association (MPA) recognized Grant with an innovative practice award – Grant was similarly recognized the following year by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA).

In 1989, Grant and his wife Anne had their son Austin – who would be the third generation of Browns to attend the U-M College of Pharmacy. Adding to the family was Erika Price – who became Austin’s wife in 2017 – the same year they each graduated with PharmDs.

Denniston passed away in 2002; Isabelle passed away in 2020.

Grant has served on the MPA and National Home Infusion Association boards of directors, is a board advisor to the American Pharmacy buying group and served on both the College’s Board of Governors and Dean’s Advisory Committee. Austin has served on various statewide committees and is the current vice president of operations for the Browns’ partnership or ownership in seven community pharmacies. Erika completed a residency at the VA Ann Arbor Health System and now serves there as a clinical pharmacist. Of note, the Brown family affiliated pharmacies organized and delivered more than 30,000 vaccinations in the early months of the pandemic throughout Jackson, Hillsdale, and Lenawee counties.