Thomas Howell, MD
Clinical and Research Interests
For me, the greatest privilege of being a physician is the physician patient relationship and I am interested in a clinical practice which provides meaningful long-term clinical relationships with patients. At this stage in my training, I am interested in oncology. Before medicine, I studied industrial engineering and health systems. I have always been interested in studying systems, processes, people, and the flow of information. My research utilizes traditional industrial engineering methods, mathematical models, and machine learning to help design safer, smarter, and more effective health systems.
What were you looking for in a residency program?
I was looking for a strong academic surgical program with exposure to many disciplines, multiple practice environments, and diverse populations. I also wanted to find a program that could uniquely cultivate my research interests and had a strong engineering, business, and healthcare presence.
What are the strengths of the Duke program?
Duke has a storied general surgery program, but what impressed me the most was the people: the leadership, faculty, staff, and residents. I feel challenged, supported, and a part of a family at Duke.
What advice do you have for incoming interns?
Learn from everyone you can: patients, nurses, allied health, co-residents, and attendings. Call for help; surgery is a team sport. Maintain your anchors, those who bring you back to reality and build you up when you need it.
What do you like best about living in Durham and the Triangle?
The community, cost of living, diversity, easy commute, and amenities. We have excellent coffee roasters, breweries, restaurants, trails, and easy access to other cities and towns for day and weekend trips.
What do you like to do outside of Duke?
Spend time with my wife, enjoy a well-made cup of coffee, cycle, walk the trails/ATT, smoke meats, home brew beer, hike, camp, and climb.
Honors and Awards
- George W. Cox, MD Loyalty Fund Scholarship, University of North Carolina School of Medicine: 2017, 2018, 2019
- Harold C. Pillsbury Student Research Award for Public Health Poster, John B. Graham Medical Student Research Society: 2016, 2018
- Georgia HIMSS David Z. Cowan Scholarship Recipient: 2015
- Research Associate of the Month, Georgia Tech Research Institute: 2014
- Eagle Scout: 2008
- Lumpkin, S., I. Kratzke, C. Howell, & N. Chaumont. (2019). Reducing variability in discharge communication reduces administrative burden. December 5, 2019 at Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation in Health.
- Howell, T.C., L. Mazur. Quantifying, Visualizing, and Predicting Radiation Oncology Process Reliability Using Incident Learning System Data. Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics International Conference. July 27, 2019.
- Thompson, T., G. Tracton, T.C. Howell, P. Mosaly, L. Mazur. Building a robust treatment delivery system by balancing the reliability of “safety” processes with workload. Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics International Conference. July 19, 2017.