David Houghton, MD, MPH

MARCH 24, 2020

David Houghton, MD, MPH, has always strived to live a life full of meaningful connections. Growing up, he thought he would do that as a cartoonist and poet (think Shel Silverstein), but as time passed, he found his calling in the medical field. Originally planning on pursuing pediatrics, Dr. Houghton—the oldest of four—worked as a researcher for the CDC and WHO in the Maternal and Child Health Department and earned a Master’s in Public Health in epidemiology from Emory.

It was not long after starting medical school at the Medical College of Georgia that he was drawn to the complex nature of neurology. While a student, Dr. Houghton spent time in neurology clinics and gained experience with various disciplines of the field. It was during his residency at the University of Pennsylvania that he realized the long course of many neurodegenerative diseases provided him the opportunity to create a doctor-patient relationship that could span decades.

Dr. Houghton spent time as a faculty member at the University of Louisville and also served as the Neurology Residency Program Director. It was here that he began melding his passions for technology and health care. The department’s telestroke work allowed him to use technology to reach more patients and foster stronger relationships.

“The world has changed dramatically,” he says, noting the world stays connected with apps on phones, tablets and computers. “Why would medicine be different?” He calls on traditional health care providers to innovate and create. “Blockbuster and Kodak resisted change… and that didn’t end well for those companies!” Dr. Houghton encourages this innovation through his current work as the Vice Chair of Movement and Memory Disorders at Ochsner Health in New Orleans and as the Director of CareConnect 360, a telehealth platform that provides patients with unprecedented access to specialized care.

Dr. Houghton has been the Principal Investigator or otherwise involved in several research trials that have allowed him to see truly innovative progress in the treatment of movement disorders. For instance, he is currently working with NeuroDerm on a study for a transdermal levodopa pump for Parkinson’s disease. He’s also carried his early epidemiology interest into his neurology career as he tries “to bend the curve of diseases with new medications for either symptom control or to get us closer to cures.”

While he has stepped back from coaching, in his free time Dr. Houghton and his wife Terri can be found supporting their sons Henry (11) and Hamilton (10) on the pitch, field, or court playing soccer, baseball, or basketball. In return, the boys support their dad’s doodles of silly rhymes and drawings. They even expect him to wake them up with impromptu rhyming songs from time to time!

As for the SCNS, Dr. Houghton says he does not have one favorite memory, but rather loves coming to the annual meeting each year and watching his boys grow up alongside other members’ kids. And, it’s nice that they have a growing appreciation of the work that SCNS does.

Dr. Houghton is the newly elected Secretary/Treasurer. From that role he would like to help the society “expand its digital reach, attract a broader and more junior professional membership, and innovate into creative revenue streams to maintain long-term stability.” Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter @david_houghton!