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Dr. Brann passed away at his home on January thirty-first at the age of 89. He was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas to Alfred and Pauline Stewart Brann. His mother died tragically in childbirth; however, this event seemingly sparked Dr. Brann's lifelong passion of caring for mothers and babies. He grew up in Florence, Alabama with his aunt and uncle, Mable and Bayless Shane Haraway whom he called his parents. He graduated from Vanderbilt University in Nashville before attending Tulane Medical School in New Orleans, where he met his future wife, Peggy. Dr. Brann then spent the next seven years, studying the elements of what would become neonatology, the branch of medicine concerned with the treatment and care of newborn babies. In the late 1960s Dr. Brann served two years of military service at the primate lab in Puerto Rico researching hypoxia - brain injury caused by insufficient oxygen. In the years after, he authored many articles and chapters related to this research. This seminal work greatly influenced Dr. Brann's subsequent academic work in neonatology and secured his reputation in this uncharted field.
After his military service ended in 1969, Dr. Brann accepted a position at the University of Mississippi as the director of the division of Neonatology. In 1975 he accepted the invitation to lead the division of Neonatology at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. There, he was in charge of caring for the sickest newborn infants in the state and training the largest number of neonatologists and neonatal nurse practitioners in Georgia. Additionally, he worked with then Governor Jimmy Carter to develop one of the first statewide perinatal care systems in the country. As part of this system, Dr. Brann introduced Angel II, a newborn ambulance which has safely transported well over 200,000 sick and recovering Georgia newborn infants. Under Dr. Brann's direction, the Emory Regional Perinatal Center has been recognized as a national center of excellence.
Dr. Brann contributed significantly to the knowledge base of neonatal-perinatal medicine by publishing dozens of book chapters, review articles and scientific articles in professional journals. In 1983, Dr. Brann led the first collaborative effort between the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, co-writing the American Academy of Pediatrics' first official "Guidelines for Perinatal Care." It is currently in its 8th edition and is used in countries around the world to organize and staff perinatal services. In 2002, Dr. Brann was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. In 2010 Dr. Brann was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from Tulane University School of Medicine. In 2014 Dr. Brann was named to the Alfred W. Brann, Jr. Chair in Pediatrics for Reproductive Health and Perinatal Care at the Emory University Medical School.
In 1994, Dr. Brann began to focus his efforts internationally, developing and directing the Global Collaborating Center in Reproductive Health (GCC/RH), a model for implementing systems of data collection and analysis to inform care of mothers and sick neonates world-wide. In a CNN interview in 2013 he recounted, "We've probably ...worked in some 30 different countries." He would often remind his audiences, "You didn't choose your parents. You didn't choose the color of your skin. You didn't choose the country in which you're born." Dr. Brann developed "Systems Solution" where successful care is the result of the simultaneous, interdependent care of the mother, fetus and infant. Additionally, "Implementation Science," is applied by the integration of evidence-based strategies into routine patient care. Dr. Brann brought these unique practices to multiple states across the country to effectively reduce maternal and infant mortality nationally.
Dr. Brann worked with President Carter and the Carter Center to develop "Closing the Gap," a workshop that explored disparities in healthcare. The project has averted preterm births, decreased unintended pregnancies, decreased teen births, and increased inter-pregnancy intervals, leading to improved birth outcomes. This program saves money for the State of Georgia and is so successful that several other states have adapted Dr. Brann's model.
Although preoccupied by his profession, Al took time out to enjoy hikes in the woods with his family. He taught his sons how to play mumbly-peg, a quintessential boyhood game. He had a dazzling collection of baseball caps and would choose one to complement his outfit. Recently, despite his rigorous schedule, Al took time to have a breakfast on Saturday mornings with his son and two grandsons. He especially enjoyed visits to New Orleans for Jazz, coffee, donuts and drives down Prytania Street. He was the consummate optimist, always recognizing the best in others. This quality served him well as a member of the Atlanta Downtown Rotary Club, as elder at Trinity Presbyterian Church and a member of the Board of Trustees of Trinity School. Al was remarkably intuitive. The night after meeting Peggy, he told his roommate, "She is the girl I'm going to marry."
Dr. Al Brann is survived by his wife of sixty-four years, Margaret (Peggy), his sons, Will and Stewart, his daughter-in-law Emily and his grandsons, Alexander and Phidias. He is predeceased by "sister" (his cousin), Cora Lovegrove. He will be remembered as a man with a singular vision for a better world.
A memorial service will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 3003 Howell Mill Road, NW, Atlanta, GA 30327 on Thursday, February 8 at 11:00 am. A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Emory School of Medicine in support of the Alfred W. Brann, Jr. Chair in Pediatrics for Reproductive Health and Perinatal Care. Gifts may be sent to the Office of Gift Records, Emory University, 1762 Clifton Road NE, Suite 1400, Atlanta, Georgia 30322 or online https://together.emory.edu/give or Trinity Presbyterian Church (www.trinityatlanta.org/give) address above.
Emory School of Medicine - Alfred W. Brann, Jr. Chair in Pediatrics for Reproductive Health and Peri
Office of Gift Records, Emory University, 1762 Clifton Road, NE - Suite 1400, Atlanta GA 30322
3003 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta GA 30327