New UF psychiatrist helps impaired health-care providers mend their careers

Martha E. Brown, M.D.

A national expert in helping physicians, health professionals and professional athletes cope with psychiatric problems has joined the University of Florida.

Martha E. Brown, M.D., has been named an associate professor in the division of addiction medicine, which is led by Florida Recovery Center Director Scott Teitelbaum, M.D.

With extensive experience in workplace issues for health professionals, Brown has treated hundreds of disruptive physicians and has led educational efforts in Louisiana and Florida to help physicians and other prescribers understand pain and proper controlled substance prescribing, said Mark Gold, M.D., chairman of the department of psychiatry at the College of Medicine.

Previously the medical director of Louisiana’s Physician Health Program and a consultant to the National Football League, Brown is now the assistant medical director of Florida’s Professional Resource Network, an organization that by statute coordinates evaluations, treatment, case management and advocacy for all licensed physicians and health-care professionals (except nurses) who have had problems, but are now in compliance with monitoring and treatment recommendations.

In that role, Brown assesses physicians and other health providers who may have had problems with substance abuse, misprescribing or unprofessional behavior. She educates them about new coping strategies and techniques, and advocates for their return to professional life. She will also work with medical students and residents on issues surrounding professionalism and prescribing medications.

Brown comes to UF from the University of South Florida, where she was an associate professor, director of the division of addiction psychiatry and an associate dean for faculty development in the USF College of Medicine.

She received her medical degree, graduate and postgraduate training at the Medical University of South Carolina and became an assistant professor at the Louisiana State University Medical School, developing areas of interest that include physicians’ health, impaired health professionals and working with professional athletes.

“We are very excited to have Dr. Brown here,” Gold said. “She adds considerable expertise to our College of Medicine as an addiction psychiatry expert. She will also add to our efforts to develop new prevention programs, early intervention and recovery, which will only make the Florida Recovery Center’s nationally renowned programs even better.”

Board-certified in psychiatry and addiction medicine, Brown will complement other double board-certified clinical addiction experts at UF and the FRC, including Teitelbaum, Louis Solomon, M.D., William Greene, M.D., Kimberly White, M.D., and Daniel Logan, M.D., Gold said.

Brown’s research interests revolve around treatment models for impaired professionals, evaluation of national assistance programs for professionals, the impact of employee assistance programs and drug testing programs on health and wellness, and early intervention with educational courses on misprescribing and disruptive behaviors.

Her work will mesh with impaired-professional research being done by faculty members such as Lisa Merlo Greene, Sara Jo Nixon, Linda Cottler and Michael Herkov, Gold said.

“Dr. Brown also has a long history of being asked to be an expert (witness) by state and federal governmental agencies,” Gold said. “It is expected that she will add her considerable forensic expertise to our tobacco, alcohol and drug forensic program and the UF Forensic Institute.”