Alumni Profile: Howard M. Busch

D.O. ’81
Osteopathic Medicine
Current Position
Rheumatologist, Family Arthritis Center
Alumni Profile: Howard M. Busch

Current Position

Rheumatologist for more than 30 years and founder of Family Arthritis Center in Palm Beach County, Fla. He also serves as founder and president of American Arthritis and Rheumatology Associates (AARA), the largest private rheumatology “super group” in the United States. It provides rheumatology services to 20 states and works with more than 100 rheumatologists.

Renaissance Man

In addition to helping patients with their musculoskeletal and inflammatory diseases, Busch holds seven patents and works with the private sector to develop drug delivery systems, nanofluidics, new alloys, and alternative energy solutions. He has also published a series of comic books and graphic novels based on characters he created with his children called The Adventures of Edgar Mudd and Elaine. In addition, Busch practices martial arts and enjoys snowboarding, boating, music, and spending time with his grandchildren.

The D.O. philosophy is about learning about the lives of patients, not just treating symptoms of a disease.

Learning Colorblind

Originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., Busch and his family moved to Syosset, Long Island. He and 33 other doctors were part of the first graduating class of NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM). “Classroom technology at the time was less about computers and more about having other advanced microscopes and tools,” he recalls. 

One of his mentors was the late Arnold Nagler, Ph.D., professor of pathology who later served as NYITCOM senior associate dean of preclinical medical education. “I’m colorblind, and at the time when I was learning histology, you had to base the differentiation of cells on color,” says Busch. “Dr. Nagler saw I wasn't doing well in class and brought me to a lab with dozens of microscopes. Each displayed various cells, and he taught me how to look at them by their morphology rather than color. I aced the next test.”

Successful Outcomes

After earning his NYITCOM degree, Busch worked at Metropolitan Hospital in Philadelphia and at Norwalk (Connecticut) Hospital, an affiliate of Yale University. Later, he was chief medical resident and an instructor at Yale. He completed his rheumatology fellowship at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in Newark, N.J., where he was elected as chief fellow and later awarded the Northeast Regional Fellow Award for Research. “I’m incredibly proud to be a D.O.,” says Busch.

He and his wife, Stacey, who is a nurse, are married for 34 years. They have three children and four grandchildren. “I taught my children that when you pick a career, you need to reach for the stars,” he says. “Just because you haven't done something doesn't mean you can't do it.”

Healthy Convictions

"The D.O. philosophy is about learning about the lives of patients, not just treating symptoms of a disease," says Busch.

That was part of the mindset behind the creation of the AARA. The organization is disruptive in attempting to improve “the patient journey” through better access and informatics, advocacy, technology, training, and education. It also leverages the ability of rheumatologists to work as a unified group with manufacturers and insurance companies to improve patient outcomes. “Throughout the healthcare industry, we want to promote the culture that says, ‘Your success is our success,’ extending this to all our strategic partners in healthcare,” says Busch.