Dr. Michael Brodie has experienced many significant “firsts.” He was the first African American to open a family practice in Turlock. Moreover, he was the first African American doctor for Stanislaus State’s Student Health Center, a role he took on during the 1990s.
Dr. Michael Brodie (right) and his daughter Dr. Kilolo Brodie-Crumsey (left) in front of the Student Health Center.
Brodie first practiced medicine in Los Angeles for almost 20 years before moving to Turlock. He wanted a change and that is exactly what he got after seeing a magazine advertisement recruiting physicians to Turlock.
Brodie grew up in Baltimore and left his hometown in 1962. He is a Vietnam combat veteran of the United States Marine Corps.
He returned to the United States after four years in the Corps. He enrolled at Morgan State University and then UC Berkeley before eventually earning a medical degree from UC Davis in 1976.
Brodie had a practice in Los Angeles and then started in pediatrics in 1976 and broadened his field to family practice after moving to Turlock. For the last 20 years, Brodie has treated geriatric patients and served as the medical director for several skilled nursing facilities in the region.
He said he did not have the foresight into serving a particular patient population; rather, he took patients to fill the community’s need. There were no other doctors at the time that specialized in treating patients with sickle cell anemia.
“One thing in particular I remember was treating patients with sickle cell in Turlock,” said Brodie, referencing the disorder that primarily impacts people of African descent. “I remember two students who were so appreciative because other doctors did not know how to treat their condition.”
Because Brodie conducted research on the disorder in the 1970s and ’80s and treated many patients with sickle cell while in Los Angeles, other doctors in Turlock called him for advice.
Others noticed his work in Turlock and the impact he was having, including Stan State’s AVP and Dean of Students Fred Edmondson, who approached Brodie about working at the Student Health Center.
The students Brodie served at the Student Health Center came to see him not only when they were sick, but also just to talk.
“They would ask me about what subjects to take next. I would give them my opinion and tell them to also talk with their academic advisor,” he said.
Brodie recalled chaperoning a student organization’s dance on campus, partially because his daughter Kilolo was attending. Kilolo Brodie-Crumsey is now a professor in the Department of Social Work.
Brodie-Crumsey said her dad played a significant role in not only her life but many students’ lives at Stan State and was very influential in promoting higher education.
“If you were to ask any students who interacted with him, they would all credit him with having a conversation about career advancement and advanced degrees,” Brodie-Crumsey said. “Anyone who meets my dad, hears about the academic/school path and the way he does it, you appreciate it.”
Brodie-Crumsey and her brother Khary followed their father’s advice on the path to higher education. Khary graduated from UC Davis and is now a chief petty officer in the U.S. Navy. Brodie-Crumsey received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Clark Atlanta University in Georgia, graduated with a Master of Social Work from Stan State and attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. where she earned a Ph.D. in Social Work.
Though retired as of 2023, Brodie was board certified in family practice medicine, addictionology and as a medical director of long-term care. Brodie said part of the reason he became board certified in addictionology is because addiction is sometimes involved with patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As a veteran, he is sensitive to the subject and has previously spoken to veterans' groups.
Perhaps the most important role of his career, both as a physician and as a father, was being a role model, according to Brodie-Crumsey.
“I looked at my dad and the image of him as a doctor,” she said. “Without my dad’s direction, I would not have earned my doctorate degree.”