New faculty spotlight: Brian Westerhuis, MD

June 23, 2021

Image with caption: Brian Westerhuis, MD

Brian Westerhuis, MD

Brian Westerhuis, MD, is a new faculty member at UNMC.

  • Name: Brian Westerhuis, MD
  • Hometown: Platte, South Dakota
  • Title and department at UNMC/Nebraska Medicine: Assistant professor, UNMC Department of Neurological Sciences; neurohospitalist

Medical Interests:

  • Acute neurology
  • Stroke
  • Hospital neurology
  • Hospital medicine
  • Patient safety and quality of care
  • Workflow efficiency

How I fell in love with neurology: I've never really been able to pin down what drew me to neurology. Certainly it's an amazing system, which definitely sparked an interest to study it. But it runs deeper than that. Looking back, I've had a fair amount of contact with friends and family with neurological issues that included Parkinson's disease, stroke -- one of my family members even had a rough course with West Nile encephalitis. One of my first jobs was in a nursing home, where I met and helped care for two women, both bedridden with multiple sclerosis. As I worked with them, they taught me volumes, but they also saw something in me that I certainly did not see -- they told me I'd make a good doctor someday (something I had zero designs on at the time). But they kindled a flame, and the rest is history.

What draws me most is that when part of this "crown jewel" of a system fails, the results are often very intrusive, if not devastating, for the person and often their family. To be there to help if I can, and, when I can't, to just sit in the moment and help them and their family grapple with a new normal, is a blessing. These are amazing opportunities to learn about someone -- their humanity, their spirit -- and usually, in the process, learn about yourself. Those moments keep me coming back -- I love our patients and families in neurology.

Education:

  • MD, University of South Dakota
  • Internship, general surgery, Western Michigan University School of Medicine, Kalamazoo
  • Internship, internal medicine, UNMC
  • Residency, neurology, UNMC

Memberships:

  • American Academy of Neurology
  • Neurohospitalist Society
  • Neurocritical Care Society

Three things people may not know about me:

  • I love spending time with my wife (Hillary) and four children (Jake, 15, Norah, 12, Jude, 7, and Max, 3). Home is where I am centered.
  • Outside of that, I love being outdoors and enjoy hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, etc. I've recently started working on rock climbing (mainly gym climbing so far) and love the challenges within that.
  • Though I don't spend much time on it anymore, I enjoy writing and have even had a couple of poems selected for publication.

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