David Brown seated with hands folded David J. Brown, MD
Associate Vice President and Associate Dean for Health Equity and Inclusion
Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery

Dr. Brown leads the Office for Health Equity and Inclusion at Michigan Medicine which implements the University of Michigan Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan, provides training to advance diversity and inclusion, and provides numerous healthcare pathways and mentorship programs. As a leader at Michigan Medicine, Dr. Brown is an executive sponsor of the Anti-Racism Oversight Committee (AROC), initiated in June 2020. In addition, he supports the recruitment of many medical students, house officers and faculty to the University of Michigan Medical School.

Prior to his current role, Dr. Brown served as the Medical Director of the Pediatric Otolaryngology Clinic, and Multidisciplinary Aerodigestive Clinic, and was a founding member and faculty lead of the Otolaryngology Essential Skills Simulation Bootcamp. He is a member of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Group on Diversity and Inclusion (GDI), and formerly served as the central region representative for the AAMC GDI from 2017-2019. Dr. Brown was also the Chair of the Society of University Otolaryngologist Diversity Committee from 2019-2022.

He is a member of Michigan Medicine Global REACH (Research, Education, and Collaboration in Health) and is part of an otolaryngology team that travels to Ghana multiple times a year to collaborate on research projects and advance clinical care.

Dr. Brown graduated from Brown University and Harvard Medical School. He completed his residency in Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Michigan and fellowship in Pediatric Otolaryngology at the Children’s Hospital of Boston. Prior to returning to Michigan, he was on the faculty at Johns Hopkins Hospital where he was the Otolaryngology Residency Associate Program Director and winner of the 2005 George T. Nager Award for Excellence in Teaching. He worked from 2008-11 at the Medical College of Wisconsin, where he won the Otolaryngology Faculty Teaching Award.

He was recently honored with the Harvard Medical School 2020 Distinguished Alumni Service Award for co-creating an alumni mentorship program for medical students underrepresented in medicine.

Dr. Brown enjoys classical music and was a founding member, principal flutist and 2018 Concerto Competition Winner of the University of Michigan Life Sciences Orchestra.

Get to Know

What inspired you to pursue a career in this field?

As a person of color and who was the first generation in my family to go to college coming from a lower socioeconomic neighborhood, I was inspired to become a physician and give outstanding care to ALL patients. Throughout my journey, I was supported by mentors, communities, and pathways. Doors were opened to me and I felt compelled to give back through my work in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion space.

Why Michigan Medicine? Which attributes of this organization persuaded you to join us?

I joined Michigan Medicine as a resident. I was attracted to the institution for its high quality and excellent training, but what made it outstanding and unique at the time was that it had the largest percentage of African American students within any Otolaryngology program in the country. It continues that commitment to diversity today. I choose to return to the university later because I realized how special it was to work in an environment where there is a commitment to lead in areas which can be challenging or difficult to advocate for change.

What advice would you give others who wish to serve in a similar leadership role?

Find a mentor who is doing this work. Remain open minded with your thought process. Practice humility and self-reflection. Understand the impact of social justice and learn change management skills to impact culture change.