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Volunteer Spotlight: Deborah Brigell, MD

Dr. Deborah Brigell is an endocrinologist who practices at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates (Atrius Health) in Boston. She previously practiced in Michigan and Illinois. After growing up in the Chicago area, she attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received a degree in social work. While working as a social worker, she took pre-med classes at night and ultimately graduated from the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago and completed her internship, internal medicine residency and endocrinology fellowship at the University of Chicago Hospitals in Chicago. Dr. Brigell joined The MAVEN Project in 2017.

I had a delightful conversation with Dr. Brigell and I hope you enjoy learning more about her.

What influenced her decision to become a physician?

Ironically, until her early 20’s, Dr. Brigell had “science phobia”. She initially went into social work because she wanted to be in a service profession and she was influenced by the careers of her teacher mother, rabbi father, and social worker brother. As a social worker in a hospital setting, Dr. Brigell soon realized that she wanted a different role in health care and was fortunate to meet several older female physicians (rare at that time) who also had raised families. She bonded with one physician and was inspired to enroll in a general chemistry night class. Again, fortuitously, her professor was particularly supportive of students who were changing careers and took her under his wing. She continued taking pre-med classes at night and found that she enjoyed the challenge of science.

How did she select her specialty?

When Dr. Brigell was an internal medicine resident at the University of Chicago, not only did she enjoy physiology, but she was impressed with the Department of Endocrinology whose attending physicians were holistic in how they viewed and cared for patients. She wanted to help patients make an impact on their health and their life.

What inspired her to join the MAVEN Project?

Dr. Brigell was interested in finding opportunities where she could use her skills as an endocrinologist to help underserved people, so she was thrilled to learn about The MAVEN Project from her department chair who knew of MAVEN Project founder Laurie Green, MD. Dr. Brigell was at a point in her life when she wanted to scale back her practice hours and look for meaningful ways to use her additional time. She was particularly interested in using new technology to deliver care.

What has she enjoyed most about her experience as a MAVEN Project volunteer?

She has done a few advisory consults so far with MAVEN Project clinics and she likes the collegiality of providing advice to primary care providers about their challenging cases. She has enjoyed being of help and providing education for them.

What does she enjoy doing in her free time?

Dr. Brigell likes to read, take walks, relax at home with her husband and keep in touch with two adult daughters, one of whom will be attending medical school. She loves to cook, especially Mediterranean food.

Fun facts about Dr. Brigell

In 1970 when she was in 8th grade, she was the first female student council president at her school.


From everyone at the MAVEN Project – thank you!

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