I am a native of Long Island, New York. My dad spent his entire career in pharmaceutical sales, and my mother was a medical secretary. We had a very close-knit family, and routinely discussed medical issues around the dinner table for as long as I could remember. Food, and home-make …
I am a native of Long Island, New York. My dad spent his entire career in pharmaceutical sales, and my mother was a medical secretary. We had a very close-knit family, and routinely discussed medical issues around the dinner table for as long as I could remember. Food, and home-make cooking, was also the center of attention growing up. We were all required to participate in preparing and cooking the meals my parents made, which was a huge influence on me, and me love of cooking today.
He received his undergraduate degree at Syracuse University and attended St. George's University School of Medicine.
Following medical school, I did my Internship and Residency in Internal Medicine at State University of New York Health Science Center-Brooklyn (formerly Downstate Medical Center)/Kings County Hospital Center, one of the premier teaching hospitals in the country. I remained an additional year in the department to assume responsibilities as the Chief Medical Resident in the Department of Medicine under the direction of Dr. Donald E. Wilson. While this was one of the most challenging and difficult programs in the country, these were years that I cherish most.
Specialty Training in Liver Disease
Wanting to pursue further training and expertise in Liver Disease/Transplant Medicine, I left New York City for Omaha, Nebraska. I completed my Fellowship training in Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Transplant Medicine at University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Thinking I would head back immediately to New York City, I instead relocated to Houston, Texas in 1994, joining the faculty at University of Texas Medical School-Houston. In 1996, I became Medical Director of Transplant Hepatology at University of Texas Medical School. In the spring of 1999, I left this full-time position at University of Texas Medical School to form a private practice. At about the same time, I was named Medical Director of the newly formed St. Luke's Texas Liver Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, Houston, Texas. In the spring of 2001, I formed Liver Specialists of Texas.
In 2007, I accepted the position of Medical Director of the Center for Liver Disease and Transplantation at The Methodist Hospital. The Methodist Hospital, earning worldwide recognition since 1919, is nationally ranked in 12 specialities by U.S. News and World Reports.
My current practice is devoted to the care of patients with both acute and chronic liver disease, as well as individuals with disorders of the digestive tract. The majority of his referrals are for patients with chronic type C hepatitis -- most of which have previously failed some form of therapy or have now developed complications. My staff and I conducted research in several areas of liver disease, including new drug development in chronic hepatitis C.
Over the years, I have been very fortunate to have been an invited speaker both nationally and internationally, having lectured in Latin America, Europe, and Asia. I am a Diplomat with the American Board of Internal Medicine, and a Fellow in the American College of Gastroenterology.
When not practicing medicine, I am an avid photographer, currently completing his latest project, “ Great Hands of Texas”, a collection of hand photographs of some of Texas' greatest living legends. Many of these photographs are proudly displayed in the office. I enjoy backpacking, having traveled throughout North America, backpacking and climbing through some of the most picturesque areas of the world.
Since 2003, I has been working with the Clear Channel Radio cluster in Houston. In addition to hosting Your Health First, I am also Medical Expert for 740 KTRH.
For years, I have been a radio buff. Growing up in New York we listened to some of the greatest AM and FM stations in the country. In our home, the radio was always on, with my Mom especially tuning into the likes of Barry Gray and Bob Grant on the talk radio side, and 1010 WINS News for local and national news. Remember, this was long before the internet. When I lived abroad, having had a feeling of isolation, tuning into the radio at night allowed me to pick up the BBC World News, Voice of America, Armed Forces Radio, and scattered, hard to tune in, American AM stations. At times, listening to the radio was the best form of entertainment-and it served me just fine.
Wanting to be on the radio was something I never planned on. I was fine listening as much as I needed to. It was in March of 1989 that the idea of being on the radio was hatched. I was driving to the hospital on a Saturday morning and tuned into the National Public Radio program “Car Talk”. If you are not familiar with this program, which is still on every week, check it out. I was struck by the humor and banter of the two brothers that host the program. The fun they were having on the air seemed pretty natural and honest. At that point, I realized that possibly I could create a program, centering on all aspects of health and wellness, in a fun and enjoyable fashion. While discussing cars is a lot different than the field of medicine, I thought it was worth a shot.
Meeting Joe Martelle
In 1999, I met Joe Martelle, an on-air radio veteran of 35 years, who was the morning host of the Oldies station in Houston. He and I hit it off immediately. I shared my not so secret interest in radio, and he agreed that there was a role for the sharing of medical information to the lay public in an effort to increase awareness . On April 19, 1999 I made my debut on his morning program, talking about health. That lasted several months, until Joe needed open heart surgery. He was off the air for several weeks, and later relocated to another radio market. We remained in touch and continued to talk radio and how to best create a health related radio program that would have popular appeal. Joe is now living with his wife Kim in Colorado, still a welcomed constructive critic to my efforts.
Clear Channel Radio and Deborah Keener Brown
In 2003, my path crossed with Deborah Keener Brown, an Account Executive with Clear Channel Radio-Houston. I pitched the idea of a health program, and within several days, I was sitting in front of one of Clear Channels executives. He was curious with the idea of a new health program on the radio, and it was shortly thereafter that we started producing the “Radio Medical Minute”, a weekly health update aired on several of the Houston Clear Channel stations. This was received well, and was the stepping stone for what later became “Your Health First”. Since March 2005, “Your Health First” has aired every Sunday for one hour. Starting on Clear Channels 950 KPRC, the program has moved to Houston’s News Station 740 KTRH, now airing at 7:00 p.m. Deborah has been by my side since that first encounter, and his been a vital contributor to the program.
Dave Dillon and Ray Schilens
Along the way, others have coached me on how to be a credible radio host. Dave Dillon, a lifelong radio professional, has been invaluable in the careful review of the program, pointing out the subtle features of radio programming, required to make the program a success. He singlehandedly elevated the quality of the production many levels. Ray Schilens, founder of Radio Lounge, has taught me about the technical aspects of recording, sound, and editing. His thoughtful input, like Dave Dillon, has allowed Your Health First to ascend from a quirky idea, to a meaningful radio program, influencing those that listen.
I have learned during these years that the general public is keenly interested in health and wellness. Each week I do my best to present logical information in an easy to understand format. I have no false hopes that this program will cure all the ills that we face, but it is a start. Each week I bring before the listeners some of the greatest physicians and health experts in the field of medicine and wellness, sharing their experience and wisdom. Changing poor health habits will take a generation. Obesity is a national concern, and educating the public is vital, and Your Health First is making its small contribution to these efforts.