Physician father inspired Iatros winner’s career path

By Debbie Bolles

Dr. Brown on campus
Dr. David Brown

The last thing that Dr. David Brown wants to do as a new physician is shuttle patients in and out on a tight, busy schedule. He’d rather develop relationships with patients, hear their stories, and help them manage the challenges of their medical issues. As an anesthesiologist, he can do all that.

“The anesthesiologist gives hands-on care and stays with you. I really look forward to the time that I’ll get to spend with patients and to help them deal with pain and get through surgery,” said Dr. Brown, a recent UT Southwestern Medical School graduate and recipient of this year’s Iatros Award.

The Iatros winner is determined by votes of the graduating class to honor the individual who most emulates the complete qualities of a physician. “Iatros” is a Greek word for “physician.” The award is sponsored annually by the UT Southwestern Medical School Alumni Foundation.

“David has so many of the best qualities of the ideal physician. He is a kind, considerate, and thoughtful person who also is intelligent, inquisitive, and eager to solve his patients’ problems,” said Dr. John “Greg” Modrall, Professor of Surgery and a mentor to Dr. Brown during the first two years of his medical school training.

 “He is the type of person who puts those around him at ease, while possessing the intelligence and judgment to solve the most difficult clinical problems. I am confident that David will be a superstar wherever he practices.”

Although medicine had interested him since childhood, Dr. Brown said, his father’s decision to also become an anesthesiologist reinforced his career choice.

“The real inspiration for me becoming a doctor is my dad, who went into medicine as a second career,” he said. “He was 40 years old when he started medical school, and he had six kids. I’m really proud of him; he’s my hero.”

The day after receiving his own medical degree, Dr. Brown headed to Rochester, Minn., to prepare for an anesthesiology residency at the Mayo Clinic. He and his wife, Laura, who had worked as a labor and delivery nurse at Parkland Memorial Hospital, also were expecting a baby in early June. The newborn would join 20-month-old Nathan, their first child.

“We like to get all our big life changes over at the same time – new home, new house, new baby, new job,” Dr. Brown joked.

The 27-year-old native of Idaho Falls, Idaho, earned a bachelor’s degree in applied physics at Brigham Young University. Because he enjoys working with children and families, Dr. Brown said he might go into pediatric anesthesia following his residency.

He was so busy getting settled in Rochester that he didn’t open an email that inadvertently mentioned the name of the Iatros Award winner in an attachment. He found out he’d won when Dr. Angela Mihalic, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, called him in mid-May to apologize for spilling the beans.

“To learn it was me was just humbling and a big surprise,” Dr. Brown said. “The student body here at UT Southwestern is so talented and so wonderful – they’ve taught me so much that it’s astonishing to me they would pick me as an example. To receive this award for physicianship is just a privilege.”