Growing up in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Michael T. Brady, M.D., FAAP, was reminded every day of the impact a caring physician could have on a community.
Those reminders didn’t come from his father, whose practice was attached to the family home for more than a decade. Nor did it come from his mother, a nurse for many years.
Instead, the lessons on the value of a dedicated doctor came from those who lived in his small northeastern Pennsylvania town. Dr. John Brady treated almost everyone his son knew — and they all went out of their way to express their gratitude.
“Most of my classmates and grade school teachers were patients of his, and they would tell me all of the time how great my dad was and how much he helped them,” Dr. Brady said. “And he didn’t just help them with their physical health, he helped them try to get through things. It has always been very clear to me that it’s a very rewarding profession.”Over the last four decades, Michael T. Brady, M.D., FAAP (third from right) has been a leading voice on pediatric infectious diseases, but sees himself first and foremost as a pediatrician. He is associate medical director at Nationwide Children's Hospital and professor of pediatrics at the Ohio State University. Dr. Brady said he and his wife Jane (fourth from left), work hard to make his career compatible with family life.
Drawn by the possibility of touching people’s lives much the same way, Dr. Brady followed in his father’s educational and professional footsteps. He graduated from his father’s alma mater, the University of Notre Dame, in 1973, then earned his medical degree at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.
He chose to go into pediatrics, in part because he believed it would allow him to make the biggest impact. The decision led to a pediatric residency at Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and a pediatric infectious diseases fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine.
“It became very apparent to me that there's no population I would rather take care of,” Dr. Brady said. “It really is a spectacular career option.”
Leading voice in the field
Over the past four decades, Dr. Brady has become a leading voice on pediatric infectious diseases and an active member of the Academy. His efforts have led to a host of awards and honors, including his recent nomination for the AAP presidency.
Associate medical director at Nationwide Children’s Hospital (NCH) and a professor of pediatrics at the Ohio State University (OSU), Dr. Brady joined the pediatric infectious disease faculty at NCH in the early 1980s. Focusing on infection control and HIV, his most notable accomplishments include developing a family-centered HIV program recognized by the federal government in 2005 as a “Model That Works.” He also is the principal investigator of the Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Group subunit sponsored through the National Institutes of Health.
“I've gone from one patient at a time, and now we're able to expand and reach children all over the world,” Dr. Brady said.
Honors span multiple areas
Having taught at the Ohio State College of Medicine since 1983, Dr. Brady served as chair of OSU’s Department of Pediatrics from 2005-’13. He won the college’s outstanding teaching award in 1998.
He also was the 2013 recipient of the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, which honors outstanding compassion in the delivery of care. In 2009, he received Notre Dame’s Thomas Dooley Award, given to an alumnus who has exhibited outstanding service to humankind.
At the Academy, Dr. Brady has been a member of the Section on Infectious Diseases Executive Committee, Committee on Pediatric AIDS and Committee on Infectious Diseases, which he chaired from 2010-’14. He also is an associate editor of the 2015 and 2018 editions of the Red Book.
In Ohio, he has assisted the chapter with improving human papillomavirus immunization rates and with legislation improving immunizations of children in child care.
“Although Mike is a highly regarded infectious disease specialist, he sees himself first and foremost as a pediatrician; he understands the pivotal role of relationships in promoting child health and wellness,” said AAP Ohio Chapter President Andrew S. Garner, M.D., Ph.D., FAAP. “He has always been generous with his time and supportive of the Ohio Chapter, particularly with regard to our advocacy efforts to increase immunization rates.”
Dr. Brady also has championed the medical home and says he will continue to do so if elected president. With health care financing poised to undergo significant changes in the next decade, Dr. Brady wants pediatricians to be well-positioned in that new world.
His colleagues say he has the expertise and leadership skills to guide the Academy through whatever pressures and tumultuous issues may arise.
“I’ve watched him succeed in a number of different capacities. I’ve seen him build consensus among very independently minded physicians so there is consensus among a large group. He just sees things much broader,” said David W. Kimberlin, M.D., FAAP, editor of the Red Book and co-director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “He's been in a great position to impact kids on a local, regional and national level. The passion is there for each and every child in America. The passion is also there for each and every pediatrician.”
Dr. Brady’s other passion is his family, including his wife, Jane, whom he met at Notre Dame. They have two children, both of whom graduated from the same university as their parents, and two grandchildren.
Spending quality time with his family means so much to Dr. Brady, he initially worried about becoming a doctor because of the time commitment involved. As the son of a family physician, he saw the sacrifices a doctor — and a doctor’s family — had to make.
“I was only nervous because I didn’t get to see my father as much as I'd like to growing up. I would’ve liked to see him more,” Dr. Brady said. “I recognized how wonderful it could be to have that impact on patients and their families, but it comes with some baggage.”
Dr. Brady and his wife worked hard to make his career compatible with family life. His family often traveled with him to speaking engagements and conferences, where he spent time with them after his professional obligations were done for the day.
Technology helped, too. The advent of pagers meant he could go anywhere with his children as long as he was near a phone.
“With those changes, I could continue to have the career I wanted,” Dr. Brady said. “I could spend time with my kids and I could have a career like my dad. I could be someone who made a difference.”
Dr. Brady is running against Colleen A. Kraft, M.D., FAAP, of Cincinnati, in the election that runs from Oct. 21 through Nov. 21. For a profile of Dr. Kraft visit http://www.aappublications.org/news/2016/06/22/KraftProfile062216.