March 08, 2019

Kirk J. Brower, M.D., appointed chief wellness officer, faculty director of new Wellness Office

The Michigan Medicine Wellness Office provides centralized coordination, development and implementation of programs and initiatives designed to improve and support wellness on campus

Kirk J. Brower, M.D., named chief wellness officer

Kirk J. Brower, M.D., has been appointed as faculty director of the new Michigan Medicine Wellness Office and chief wellness officer for the U-M Medical School, effective March 1.

In this capacity, Brower will lead the new Wellness Office toward its mission to improve the health and well-being of faculty, staff and learners. 

Brower is a professor of psychiatry in the Medical School. He was most recently the medical director for the Faculty and Physician Health Initiative for Michigan Medicine, psychiatric consultant to the Office of Clinical Affairs at the U-M Health System, and certified medical review officer for Michigan Medicine. He has also served as the founding program director of the ACGME-accredited Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship Program and executive director of the U-M Addiction Treatment Services.

After earning a Bachelor of Arts in psychobiology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), he earned his medical degree at the UC Irvine College of Medicine. He then completed a rotating internship in medicine, neurology and psychiatry at UCLA and West Los Angeles VA Medical Centers, and a residency in psychiatry at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute and Brentwood VA Medical Center.

Brower joined the U-M faculty in 1986 as an instructor, was awarded tenure in 1994 and earned promotion to professor in 2008. He currently is a distinguished fellow of both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Board of Addiction Medicine and serves as a member of the Physician Health Committee for the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry.

His clinical interests include treating patients with co-occurring substance use and psychiatric disorders as well as faculty and physician health.  His research interests have ranged from improving treatment for substance use disorders, including targeted addiction pharmacotherapy for co-occurring sleep disorders, the relationships between sleep neurophysiology and relapse to heavy drinking in patients with alcohol use disorders, and the psychiatric and addictive effects of using non-medical anabolic-androgenic steroids. He has trained dozens of medical students, residents and fellows, and published more than 130 peer-reviewed papers.

The Wellness Office was established after members of the Michigan Medicine community came together to study ways in which the organization could improve wellness for faculty, staff and learners. The Wellness and Civility Task Force surveyed employees and studied trends nationwide in order to come up with a set of recommendations, one of which was the establishment of an on-site Wellness Office.

The office, which is now open, will provide centralized coordination, development and implementation of programs and initiatives designed to improve and support wellness on campus. This will involve working with offices and resources already in place, including MHealthy, Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience, Office for Health Equity and Inclusion, Office of Faculty Affairs, Office of Clinical Affairs and Human Resources.

The Wellness Office will also utilize its own resources to tackle burnout and other important issues by working to alleviate the root causes of them — such as workload concerns, dysfunctional teams, and the need to improve rewards and incentive programs.