Dr. Charles Alan Brown, captain in the U.S. Navy Reserve, cardiologist and member of the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital medical staff , was recently honored with a Hospital Hero Award from the National Health Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health of the underserved.

The Hospital Hero Awards is an annual event that honors the outstanding achievements and events that occur at hospitals that are members of the Hospital Association of Southern California. The event honors health care professionals who are dedicated to patient care and those who help to create miracles for patients. Proceeds from the event benefit the National Health Foundation.

Dr. Brown has been a distinguished cardiologist serving in the Santa Barbara area since 1981. At the peak of his career in December 2002, he joined the Navy Reserve in response to the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001.

Brown was initially serving with a naval unit in Port Hueneme, and subsequently switched to become a medical officer for a Marine battalion in California.

In October 2009, he joined the 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Marine Battalion and deployed with that unit to serve in southern Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

During his eight-month tour of duty in Helmand Province, Dr. Brown was the chief medical officer and was responsible for the lives of about 800 Marines and sailors, and provided medical care for about 5,000 villagers along the Helmand River.

Brown’s medical unit initiated a medical civic action program to provide assistance to the villagers, which included caring for all ages, from premature babies to the elderly. This unit cared for 100 to 200 villagers per day with a wide range of medical problems, including significant infectious disease, malnutrition and traumatic injuries and burns.

After returning to the United States in June 2010, Brown remained in the Navy Reserve, and in August 2011 was promoted to the rank of captain and received the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service in Afghanistan.

We congratulate Dr. Brown for earning a 2011 Hospital Hero Award.

— Maria Zate is the marketing and public affairs manager for Cottage Health System.