Lisa Brown


Lisa Brown, PhD

WSU Spokane

As chancellor of Washington State University Spokane, Lisa Brown leads the development of a rapidly growing, world-class center for health sciences education and research.

Brown oversees a downtown campus central to Spokane's urban growth and sustainability. The campus is a growing academic health center highly connected to the city's medical district. WSU Spokane fosters groundbreaking research and outreach that focuses on improving human health in urban and rural populations, as well as interprofessional teaching approaches that are changing the face of education in medicine, pharmacy, nursing, and beyond.

Prior to joining WSU in 2013, Brown served the Washington Legislature for more than 20 years. After serving two terms in the state House of Representatives (1992-1996), she was elected to the Senate in 1996 and was appointed chair of the Ways and Means Committee in her first term. Brown was elected as minority leader in 2002 and, in 2005, became the first Democratic woman in the state to hold the position of Senate majority leader.

During her time in the Washington Senate, she has been a passionate advocate for health sciences education and research at WSU Spokane. She gained state support for medical education and advanced education in nursing, as well as for the new WSU Spokane Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences Building—now the home of medical education and the WSU College of Pharmacy.

Brown also spearheaded a variety of other health-related initiatives. She was the prime sponsor of the bill that created the Life Sciences Discovery Fund, which supports innovative health care-related research in Washington State. She also led the effort to create the state's Mental Health Parity Act of 2005, which improved the insurance coverage of mental health services for Washington residents.

A native of Robinson, Illinois, Brown studied economics at the University of Illinois, in Champaign-Urbana, and at the University of Colorado, in Boulder, where she earned a PhD.

She was an associate professor of economics at Eastern Washington University from 1981 to 2001 and served as an associate professor in Gonzaga University's graduate-level organizational leadership program from 2001 to 2012.