Austin Chamber Announces 2016 Austinites of the Year

Posted on 12/12/2016

Drs. Ken Shine, Clay Johnston receive top honor for roles in developing Dell Medical School

Austin, Texas (Dec. 12, 2016) The Austin Chamber of Commerce today announced that Dr. Kenneth I. Shine and Dr. S. Claiborne “Clay” Johnston, two figures instrumental in transforming the Austin region via the creation and opening of the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin, have been named "Austinites of the Year" for 2016.

The prestigious award represents the highest honor of the Chamber. It will be presented during ceremonies at the Chamber's Annual Meeting scheduled for Feb. 10, 2017.

“The Dell Medical School, Seton teaching hospital and related innovation district not only drive new healthcare delivery models to support the physical health of our local community, but they position Austin around the world as a burgeoning economic hotbed of medical technology and innovation,” said Tony Budet, 2016 Chair of the Austin Chamber. “Dell Medical School has the potential to support the economic health of our community for many years to come. This will help grow our region’s bio, device and healthcare IT sectors and create a broad range of jobs and opportunities for entrepreneurs, small businesses and the local workforce.”

Shine, former executive vice chancellor at UT System and a recognized national expert in academic medicine, was a chief architect, visionary and key community collaborator who turned the idea of a new medical school into reality. Johnston became the Dell Medical School’s first dean in 2014. In addition to overseeing the medical school’s inaugural class of 50 students last year, he has demonstrated leadership in executing on the vision of creating a vital, inclusive health ecosystem for the entire Austin community.

"With the creation of the medical school, we've set ourselves on a path to becoming a model healthy community with an economic engine that drives opportunity far and wide – to all Austinites. Both Ken and Clay have played essential roles in this remarkable achievement and deserve this wonderful honor,” said Texas State Senator Kirk Watson, who championed the medical school as part of his 10 Goals in 10 Years to transform the health of our community and our economy.

In 2004, the Chamber through its Opportunity Austin initiative, was the first to call for a new medical school in Austin. The background of the Dell Medical School can be found here.

"Austinite of the Year" Award
The Chamber created the award in 1984 to recognize significant leaders in the local community who were instrumental in making Austin an even-better place to live, work and do business. Recent honorees include: Mobile Loaves and Fishes CEO, Alan Graham, (2015), Mayor Lee Leffingwell (2014), Clarke Heidrick (2013), Lynn & Tom Meredith (2012), and South by Southwest (SXSW) Leaders Louis Black, Roland Swenson, Nick Barbaro and Hugh Forrest (2011). The complete list of honorees can be found here.

139th Annual Meeting
In addition to honoring the 2016 Austinites of the Year, the Chamber’s Annual Meeting provides the community with the opportunity to celebrate successes of the past year, look ahead to the future, as well as recognize new leadership. The Chamber also plans to recognize its Volunteers of the Year in several key areas. Registration details for the meeting are at here.

About Ken Shine
Ken Shine, MD, is Professor of Medicine, Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin, and Special Advisor on the new Medical School at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. He recently completed a ten-year term as Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs at UT System. In that capacity he was responsible for the six UT System health institutions and their aggregate operating budget of almost $8.4 billion. He has led system wide initiatives in clinical effectiveness, patient safety, and public health, as well as efforts to transform medical education. He was President of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) from 1992-2002. A cardiologist and physiologist, Dr. Shine graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1961. He trained at Harvard’s acclaimed teaching hospital, Massachusetts General, where he became Chief Resident in Medicine in 1968. He also previously served as Dean and Provost for Medical Sciences at UCLA.

About Clay Johnston
Since March 2014, Clay Johnston has served as the inaugural Dean of the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin. Johnston previously served as Associate Vice Chancellor at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Johnston is a practicing neurologist who specializes in preventing and treating stroke. He is a graduate of Amherst College and Harvard Medical School. He later received a PhD in epidemiology from the University of California, Berkeley, and was a resident in Neurology at UCSF, where he later trained in Vascular Neurology. During his 20 years at UCSF, he rose the academic ranks to Professor of Neurology and Epidemiology, and directed the Stroke Service. He has authored more than 300 publications in scientific journals and has won several national awards for his research and teaching. In particular, he has published extensively in the prevention and treatment of stroke and transient ischemic attack.

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About the Austin Chamber
The mission of the Austin Chamber of Commerce is to provide leadership that facilitates the creation of a prosperous regional economy and effective advocacy for its 3,000+ members. For more information about the Austin Chamber visit

Media Inquiries
Luke Sheffield, Public Relations Manager
Austin Chamber of Commerce