More Than a Job: A Doctor's Perspective on Giving Back

November 30, 2016
Topics: Riley Staff Profiles, Pulmonology

michelle how image
Riley Hospital for Children

Riley Hospital has a heart and soul that I haven’t seen any place else. It is my clinical home, and where so much of my pride in being a physician lies.  The most rewarding parts of this work are the relationships we form with patients and families. These special bonds offset the stresses of working in pediatric medicine.


As I began my medical education, I was interested in family medicine, but my experiences at Riley Hospital as a medical student with the IU School of Medicine inspired me to pursue a career in pediatrics. Working with teenaged patients with cystic fibrosis really made the “light go on” for me, and I was drawn to pediatric pulmonology. After I completed my residency and fellowship at Riley, I worked in Florida for 11 years, and then returned to Riley, where I assumed a leadership role in the cystic fibrosis center at Riley, along with seeing general pulmonary patients. Today I see outpatients in pediatric pulmonology, and serve as a senior associate dean over graduate medical education and continuing medical education.


I think it is hugely important that those of us who work here also find other ways to give back, such as participating in the Gift of Hope Happens Here Employee Giving campaign. It’s a way all of us at Riley can say, “This is more than a job to us.” As a member of Riley Society (a group comprised of Riley Children’s Foundation donors who make gifts of $1,000 or more annually) I think families appreciate knowing that we are fully invested in Riley, both professionally and personally.
It is one of the hardest places to work, but we can be a part of making it better, and that feels good.

Michelle Howenstine

Michelle Howenstine, M.D., is a Riley Pediatric Pulmonologist, and served as director of the cystic fibrosis clinic from 2000-2015. She also serves as senior associate dean for graduate medical education and continuing medical education for Indiana University School of Medicine.

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