Stephen Brown

Stephen Brown

Primary Affiliation: Substance Use Disorders and Behavioral Health Working Group

College of Medicine | University of Illinois Chicago

Featured Work

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CPD Consent Decree. Mr. Brown presented recommendations to Mayor Lori Lightfoot for the creation of programs to divert persons experiencing a mental illness crisis away from interaction with police and into community-based mental health agencies.
Launch of the Flexible Housing Pool. Along with several supportive housing agencies, the city of Chicago and Cook County Health, Mr. Brown and his team created a pooled model for attracting investment into supportive housing. Their goal of $11 million was exceeded in 2021, with over $15 million invested to date.
Better Health Through Housing (BHH) launched. BHH is the longest-running healthcare-to-housing program in the country. Mr. Brown and his team continue to track the health outcomes of the first 26 homeless patients placed into permanent supportive housing.
Mr. Brown was awarded $5M from Medtronic Foundation. He created Illinois Heart Rescue, a public health campaign that has educated Illinois residents about what to do when they witness a sudden cardiac arrest. The program has improved survival rates from 2% to 9% statewide.
With start-up funding from the Chicago Community Trust, Mr. Brown created the first online social service resource directory called It was used by patients at the University of Chicago and students in Health Leads, a national service-learning organization for college students that navigates patients into community-based care. Two other start-ups spun up from – NowPow and Purple Binder.



Stephen is a licensed clinical social worker, researcher, a clinical director for team-based programs that coordinate the care of healthcare super-utilizers, and a behavioral health and social determinants policy expert. He has a split appointment between the Department of Emergency Medicine, the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Health Affairs, and the Institute of Government & Public Affairs.

His role as a Senior Director addresses systemic social justice, working upstream with other public sectors such as criminal justice, law enforcement, and human services for better alignment and coordination of care for patients who have severe mental illness, substance abuse, or experience homelessness.

He has led the Better Health Through Housing program, UI Health’s housing program for the chronically homeless. It is the longest running healthcare-to-housing program and has housed more homeless persons than any other hospital in the country.

Stephen is the clinical lead for ComPaCT – the Complex Patient Care Team, a partnership between Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Psychiatry and Mental Health Courts. ComPaCT brings together a large multidisciplinary team to manage patients with serious mental illness, substance use disorders, and complex medical needs.

Prior to transitioning into healthcare in 2005 as an Emergency Room Social Worker at the University of Chicago, Stephen worked for 13 years at Motorola, Inc. and held a variety of positions such as a Systems Engineer, Senior Account Executive, District Sales Director, and Director of Unix Systems Division Product Development. His previous tech experience enables him to work with healthcare and government Information Technology (IT) organizations to drive healthcare and social service interoperability, empowering better clinical care, data-driven public policy, and outcomes-based research.

He is the co-author of a 2016 Health Affairs article entitled “Mr. G and the Revolving Door: Breaking the Readmission Cycle at a Safety Net Hospital.”

Office of the Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, UI Health

Senior Director of Social and Behavioral Health Policy, 2001 to Present

Preventive Emergency Medicine, UI Health

Director,  2009 – 2011

Urban Health Initiative, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Manager of Technology Projects, 2008 – 2009

University of Chicago Medicine, Chicago, IL

Director of Preventative Emergency Medicine, 2005 – 2008

University of Chicago Medicine, Chicago, IL

Social Worker, Emergency Medicine, 2003 – 2009

1st Presbyterian Church, Evanston, IL

Psychotherapist, The Counseling Center, 2003 – 2009

Loyola University, Chicago, IL., M.S.W., 2004.

Northwestern University, Evanston, IL., B.G.S. in Psychology, 1998.

Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, IL., B.S. in Business Marketing, 1981. 


Better Health Through Housing

Stephen Brown is the Project Director for Better Health Through Housing. Since 2015, UI Health has housed more patients than any other hospital in the country. It is also the longest running healthcare to housing program. UI Health has housed over 80 patients and has invested $1.4 million to date. His policy work is focused on creating a behavioral health continuum in Illinois.

80 Homeless Patients

80 homeless patients have been housed in the program

$1.4 Million

UI Health has spent $1.4 million to date

Profiled on NPR

Interviewed on WBUR Boston, Stephen was interviewed about the need for hospitals to recognize homelessness as a health condition.

Recent Publications

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2019 University of Illinois at Chicago. Award of Merit
2018 AIDS Foundation of Chicago. Annual Innovation Award.
2017 All Chicago: Making Homelessness History. Norman H. Stone Award


Policy Work

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