By Anne Riker Garlington
Stephen “Brint” Carlton, J.D., M.B.A, M.H.A., a 2005 graduate of the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions’ Master of Health Administration program, has received the 2023 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year award in recognition of extraordinary contributions to health care services policy and leadership at the state and national levels.
Carlton is the executive director of the Texas Medical Board in Austin, where he is responsible for protecting public safety through the licensure and regulation of Texas physicians, physician assistants, acupuncturists, medical radiologic technicians and respiratory care professions. He manages a $14 million budget and 240 state employees.
He is also a traditional reservist serving as commander of the 94th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Georgia and is responsible for providing aeromedical evacuation capability in training, exercise and deployed settings. He was selected as the 2008 Air Force Medical Service Group Practice Manager of the Year.
Previously, Carlton held positions as the county judge of Orange County, Texas, and a juvenile prosecutor. He was responsible for employee policies for 400 county employees and services to 80,000 citizens. He presided over the five-member Orange County Commissioners’ Court and was responsible for the creation of a $46 million annual county budget.
Carlton lives in Texas with his wife and children. They enjoy traveling, spending time with loved ones, skiing and hunting.
Carlton shares some of his UF memories and insights:
Why did you choose UF for your degree?
I discovered UF had a great master’s in health administration program and knew I wanted to move to Florida to be close to my sister, who had received her master’s at FSU. Originally, I thought I wanted to go into medicine, but having enjoyed my business classes so much, realized it would be better to pursue the administration route rather than patient care.
Favorite UF memory.
I was able to join the Gator band as a trumpet player and travel to all the football games and be part of another group in addition to my master’s cohort. I was fortunate to be able to interact with a variety of people across the campus, which helped broaden my horizons.
Best lesson learned at UF.
Get yourself involved and be more open to try new things. Obviously, there’s the academic piece of it and what you learn in a classroom, but interacting with a variety of people helped me out later in life as far as leadership skills, being understanding and empathetic, as well as realizing everybody has different experiences and something to offer.
UF faculty member who influenced you most.
Paul Duncan, Ph.D., who retired last year as a senior associate dean in the UF Graduate School, and a professor in the PHHP department of health services research, management and policy, provided my first big introduction to health administration and was inspirational because he had such a passion for health administration.
In addition, former UF professors Christy Lemak, Ph.D., FACHE, and Murray Côté, Ph.D., M.B.A, taught several classes which helped to inspire me in the career field.
Advice you would give others who might be interested in going into your field.
Don’t be afraid to fail. Put yourself out there. Trust your teammates to do their part. Keep learning. You never know where life is going to take you.
I graduated UF at age 23 and thought I was completely done with school. I never could have imagined where life was going to take me, and it all goes back to my time at the University of Florida because if I didn’t have the M.H.A degree, I wouldn’t have gone into the Air Force and completed multiple deployments, which wouldn’t have gotten me into law school, which wouldn’t have gotten me to be a county judge, or the job I have now. Life really is this chain of events that points back to one place where it really took off.
People would be surprised to know.
I have a very dry sense of humor and can sometimes deliver a dead pan response and people aren’t sure if I’m being serious or not, but I try to make it as absurd as possible so that they can catch on.