Brian Volck is a…


Brian received his undergraduate degree in English Literature from Washington University in St. Louis and his MFA in creative writing from Seattle Pacific University. He has authored a book of poetry, Flesh Becomes Word, and a memoir, Attending Others: A Doctor’s Education in Bodies and Words, and is coauthor of Reclaiming the Body: Christians and the Faithful Use of Modern Medicine. His essays, poetry, and reviews have appeared Atlanta Review, The Christian Century, DoubleTake, IMAGE, and other print venues and he has published widely online (this will link to a separate page on the website, “Brian Volck online.”) His current projects include a second poetry collection and a book on the intersection of health, history, and culture in the Navajo nation.


Brian received his MD from Washington University in St. Louis and completed his pediatric residency at University Hospitals/Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland. He has provided pediatric care at an Indian Health Service hospital on the Navajo Reservation, at an inner-city community health center in Kentucky, at a storefront pediatric office, and at a university-affiliated combined internal medicine-pediatrics teaching practice. He has participated in medical education and direct service medical teams to Central America and the Navajo Nation. From 2009 to 2017, he was Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Hospital Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Now retired from active medical practice, he continues to write on global child health, Native American child health, and  medical ethics.



During his tenure at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, his educational innovations included:

•founding and teaching a medical student elective on literature and medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine;
•planning and serving as co-founding faculty in the Initiative on Poverty, Justice and Health, which introduces medical students and primary-care residents at the University of Cincinnati to the challenges, strengths, and medical concerns of persons in poverty;
•planning and serving as co-founding faculty of Global Child Health Boot Camp, a cultural and medical immersion on the Navajo Nation for pediatric interns from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

He now teaches at the Ecumenical Institute at St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, Maryland, and has taught several online seminars, including Science, Poetry, and the Imagination and One Great Subject: Wendell Berry on Wholeness, Limits, and the Unity of Creation.


Brian advocates for children and families in poverty. He was a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Native American Child Health, which conducts site visits to hospitals and medical centers providing care to American Indians and Alaska Natives and advocates for the health of native children. He was US Planning Chair for the Fifth and Sixth International Meetings on Indigenous Child Health. Through the Initiative on Poverty, Justice, and Health at the University of Cincinnati and the Global Child Health track at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, he mentored medical students and residents in direct care and advocacy. He continues to teach residents at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center on the uses of narrative in child health advocacy.


Brian speaks on a variety of subjects, including medical ethics, theology, Native American child health, poetry, and cross-cultural communication. He has presented to groups at the Baylor University Symposium on Faith and Culture; the National Congress of American Indians; the Duke University Initiative on Theology, Medicine, and Culture; and at colleges, universities, and gatherings throughout the United States.

Brian divides his time between Baltimore, Cincinnati, and the landscape of his heart, the American Southwest.