Member of the Month: Bruce Russell, M.D.

Tags: russell, port aransas, mustang island, nature, member of the month

Member of the Month: Bruce Russell, M.D.

Coastal Bend physician encourages patients to spend time in nature

posted 4.14.14

While caring for patients in his community of Port Aransas, Dr. Bruce Russell encourages kids and families to be outside through the Nature Rocks program he is affiliated with in the Coastal Bend area. Family medicine was an easy choice for him while a student, thanks to the family physician that delivered him and cared for him through his medical school years.

Tell us about yourself.
I am lucky enough to be an island doc in Port Aransas. I have a busy practice and family on Mustang Island.

Why did you choose family practice and were you inspired by anyone?
I went to medical school with the idea of becoming a family doc. I enjoyed the different rotations that I did in school, but nothing compared to being a family physician. Dr. Dan Hoerster was my doctor from the time he delivered me until I finished medical school. His example showed me the importance of the family doc to individuals, as well as to the community as a whole. He encouraged me to be a family doctor and gave me great insight into the importance of the role of family medicine. I still have the "Family Medicine" belt buckle he gave me 30 years ago. The belt seems to have shrunk.

What is the Nature Rocks program?
The Nature Rocks program is a brilliant program that connects families and kids with the outdoors, giving them the opportunity to connect with naturalists in the state park system, environmental educators, and sportsmen and be involved in hiking, fishing, and nature programs. The idea is to increase the amount of time that kids and families spend outdoors. The result will be happier, healthier, and smarter families. My sincerest hope is that every doc who reads this will share the nature rocks link with their families that need a little fresh air and exercise, as well as all their home schoolers who need the environmental credits.

What one sentence of advice would you give to students interested in family medicine?
Listen more than you speak.

It is important for me to be a member of TAFP and AAFP because:
Medicine is changing at a lightning rate. Some of the changes will be good and some will be very bad. Family medicine has always valued the doctor-patient relationship. We must have a voice that will speak for family physicians. It must speak to the importance of our relationship with patients as individuals as well as the importance of maintaining the autonomy of physicians. TAFP is that voice.

TAFP’s Member of the Month program highlights Texas family physicians in TAFP News Now and on the TAFP website. We feature a biography and a Q&A with a different TAFP member each month and his or her unique approach to family medicine. If you know an outstanding family physician colleague who you think should be featured as a Member of the Month or if you’d like to tell your own story, nominate yourself or your colleague by contacting TAFP by e-mail at or by phone at (512) 329-8666. View past Members of the Month here.