Member of the Month: Howard Brody, M.D.

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Member of the Month: Howard Brody, M.D.

Galveston physician educates patients, promotes specialty through writing

posted 03.17.11

TAFP continues the new Member of the Month program, which highlights outstanding Texas family physicians in QuickInfo and on the TAFP website. We’ll feature a different TAFP member each month who is doing great work to advance family medicine in his or her community.

Missed the official launch? See February’s Member of the Month, Chrisette Dharma, M.D., of Dallas.

If you know an outstanding family physician colleague who you think should be featured as a Member of the Month, nominate the physician by sending his or her name, phone number, and e-mail address to

Howard Brody, M.D., has been the director of the Institute for the Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston since 2006. Prior to this position, he served as the director of the Center for Ethics and Humanities at Michigan State University.

Brody says that he chose family medicine to focus his academic career on medical ethics. By being a family doctor, Brody says he believed it would enhance his knowledge of medical ethical issues by giving him broad exposure to the problems patients and their families face between birth and death.

While on the faculty at Michigan State, Brody wrote a weekly health column in the local paper to reach out to people about primary care issues that recurred with his patients. In Galveston, he wrote a weekly medical ethics column in The Galveston County Daily News until 2008 and he still contributes columns for the paper periodically. In total, Brody has written over 100 articles on medical ethics and is the author of six books on the topic, the most recent being “The Future of Bioethics.”

Brody earned his medical degree in 1976 from the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and his doctorate in philosophy in 1977, also from Michigan State. He and his wife Daralyn have two children, Sheila and Mark. In his free time, Dr. Brody enjoys reading the Sherlock Holmes saga and contributing articles to the Baker Street Journal, a publication devoted to Sherlock Holmes.

Why did you start writing health columns? I wanted to write the column because I found myself repeating some of the same discussions over and over again with different patients and it seemed worth a try to reach out to the general audience with messages pertinent to primary care.

What do you like about the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston? Despite the struggles to rebuild after Hurricane Ike, which affected both my workplace and my home, I am very happy to be at UTMB. I am impressed by both the diversity and the compassion and the intelligence of our medical students. UTMB has a unique program in medical humanities; though it already boasts a distinguished national and international reputation, it deserves to be even better known.

How has being a family physician affected your outlook on medical ethics? My own approach to medical ethics and humanities is always based on insights and perspectives I have gained as a result of my being a family physician, and I think it has proven to be a strong combination.

By Monica Kortsha, TAFP publications intern - Spring 2011