As a new member of the Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain’s (MIDB) child and adolescent psychiatry team, Tom Briese, MD, is enjoying the freedom of being an independent provider. “Not having to repeat the patient’s story to supervising physicians – there is a lot of freedom in that,” he said. “I feel like I am able to connect with my patients more genuinely without the mental clock telling me to wrap things up so I can go staff.”

Before joining MIDB, Briese had finished a two-year Child and Adolescent Fellowship through the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. A fervent Gopher, he also completed his psychiatry residency and went to medical school at the U.

Serving Minnesota
“I really appreciate and identify with the University of Minnesota’s mission,” said Briese. “The idea of serving Minnesota and working with complex, high-need cases speaks to my interests and I am excited to be able to give back to this institution and the state that has given me so many different opportunities over the years.”

Dr. Tom Briese

In his new role as an outpatient child and adolescent psychiatrist, Briese has what he describes as a “kitchen sink” practice. “I’m a general practitioner and believe that seeing a broad population of patients can be helpful in bridging the gap that may be perceived between community providers and the specialty care provided by the University,” he said. “I also believe there is real value in my own development as a child and adolescent psychiatrist in continuing to see a diverse patient population.”

Being part of the new MIDB clinic space gives Briese a sense of flexibility. “When I think about where I am in my career and where this clinic is at in its own development, it’s something of a parallel process,” he said. “That’s comforting, in a way.”

Briese also covers for providers who are sick or on vacation on the inpatient mental health floors of the Masonic Children’s Hospital.

Developing the fellowship
On the academic side, he is both an assistant professor and the Child and Adolescent Fellowship Associate Program Director, working with Program Director Jacquetta Blacker, MD. “I want to continue to develop the fellowship and leave it in a better place than I found it,” he said.

While he is at the U, Briese hopes to develop a better sense for the kinds of patients and patient diagnoses that he will treat. “I also want to develop my research and education skills,” he said. “That’s very important in the academic setting.”

Research in education
As part of the Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Department, he believes some of his work will lend itself to research in education. “I want to help develop better systems for educating the next generation of child and adolescent psychiatrists,” he said. “You can’t help but be impressed by the breadth of ongoing research in the department. I also hope to connect with some faculty members who are doing remarkable things, helping where I can, learning what I can from their example and their work and perhaps developing research interests of my own.”

Although an admitted introvert, Briese invites people to reach out to him. “If you have things you think I can help with or ways in which to be more engaged with the child and adolescent fellowship, I am all ears,” he said.

When he has free time, Briese enjoys spending it with his wife and their cat, Potato. He also likes to sing and make music with his guitar and piano – or trombone if he’s feeling “particularly ambitious.” While gamely developing an interest in tennis and golf, Briese believes they are very clearly in an early stage of development.

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