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Focus on David Brown, MD

Cardiologist David Brown, MD, specializes in general, preventive and critical care cardiology, coronary artery disease and sports cardiology.

Dr. Brown sees patients at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital, Medical Building Three, 1020 N. Mason Road, Suite 100

FOR AN APPOINTMENT, PLEASE CALL 314-362-1291

What happened in the course of schooling to influence you to choose your specialty?

Growing up, my role model was my uncle, who was a neurosurgeon. Even before high school, I went on hospital rounds with my uncle and was very interested in medicine.

Initially I didn’t choose cardiology -- I chose oncology. However, I discovered that specialty didn’t fit my personality, so I changed to cardiology. Cardiology clicked and I liked everything about it.

I like the fact that the physical exam is so important in cardiology, and that it is usually a long-term relationship between patient and doctor. I also liked the satisfaction of helping people adopt a healthy lifestyle to prevent recurrent heart problems and improve their quality of life.

 

What brought you to Washington University?

The short answer is I wanted to work in a great hospital a great medical school and a great University.. At this point in my career, I wanted to be surrounded by the best and the brightest to bring out the best in me. The students, residents and cardiology fellows at Washington University were among the best in the country. My fellow faculty members are some of the brightest doctors with whom I’ve ever worked. It’s an intellectually very stimulating atmosphere.

When I was born, my dad was in the Air Force and we lived in Belleville for the first two years of my life. I feel as if there may be some deep hidden homing mechanism that brought me back to St. Louis!

Which aspect of your practice do you find most interesting?

I like the contrast of seeing patients in my office as well as critically ill patients in the hospital. Previously, I’ve been a director of cardiac intensive care units and actually edited a textbook on cardiac intensive care – that is my favorite in-patient environment.

What new developments in your field are you most excited about?

There are technology developments that are always ongoing. The ability to replace a heart valve with a minimally invasive procedure is probably the newest technological development.

However, one should not be seduced by the new technologies to the point that we lose sight of doing what is best for the patient. A procedure should not be performed if it will not benefit a patient by improving the quantity or quality of life.

The focus of both my writing and research is to define the best treatments for individual patients, rather than applying the same treatment to everyone in a certain category. This is what is now referred to by President Obama and others as precision medicine.

Where did you grow up?

When my dad got out of the Air Force, we moved to a small town about 90 minutes from Houston – eventually moving to Houston. I went to junior high and high school in Houston, college at the University of Texas in Austin, and medical school and residency in Houston.

You lived in New York for 13 years before you moved to St. Louis. Do you miss New York City?

It’s hard not to miss the hustle and bustle, but you don’t really take full advantage of all it has to offer - as much as you think you would.

My last job was on Long Island, about 40 miles from New York City. It was an hour and a half drive to get into Manhattan from Long Island.

St. Louis is much more accessible and I am able to take advantage of cultural and sports events here more than I ever did in New York City.

Is there a particular award or achievement that is most gratifying?

When I was in New York, I was on the Best Doctors of New York list for 13 years in a row.

However, what I am most proud of is an award I didn’t actually win. A group of my former fellows and colleagues nominated me for a mentoring award given by the American Heart Association. That particular year it was an award specifically for mentoring women and it was a group of women who nominated me. I didn’t win, but was actually quite proud to be nominated.

I noticed your sail boats -- do you like to sail?

I was a sailor when I lived in California. But when I migrated to New York, I left my sail boats behind.

It’s true what they say that the two best days of a sailor’s life are when you buy the boat and when you sell the boat. It’s a lot of work and upkeep in between -- nobody tells you that when you buy it!

What is the best advice you’ve received?

What I learned from my mentors was probably not stated explicitly as advice. But what I took from them is always put the patient at the center of everything you do in medicine. Treat your patients like you would want to be treated or like you would want your relatives to be treated.

If you weren’t a doctor, what would you like to be doing?

I would do something creative, like be a writer. I like that in medicine I am able to write. Right now I’m working on several op-ed pieces about politics and health care to submit to various newspapers.