Dr. Brown’s work explores professional norms and ethical values that underlie clinical decision-making and communication in the setting of advanced diagnostic and therapeutic technologies. His objective is to create and implement innovative solutions for optimizing ethical practice and patient-provider communication in an age of rapid technological innovation. His approach combines policy analysis, empirical research, and educational program development. His projects as a PI have included a national survey of prenatal care providers’ attitudes about pregnancy management in the setting of various fetal and maternal conditions, and development of communication skills training programs for prenatal care providers and radiologists.


Dr. Brown specializes in prenatal and pediatric body imaging.  A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, he completed a residency in Diagnostic Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital and fellowships in Pediatric Radiology and Pediatric Interventional Radiology at Boston Children's Hospital. He received his obstetrical ultrasound training at Diagnostic Ultrasound Associates in Boston.

Dr. Brown completed the 2003-2004 Fellowship in Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School. He is a longstanding member of the Children’s Hospital Ethics Advisory Committee and an Associate Ethicist in the Hospital’s Office of Ethics. He is Chair of the Professionalism Committee of the Radiological Society of North America, and a member of the RSNA Patient-Centered Radiology Steering Committee.

Dr. Brown received a 2006 Children's Hospital Faculty Career Development Award, and he was named an Eleanor and Miles Shore 50th Anniversary Scholar in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is the inaugural recipient of the American Roentgen Ray Society Leonard Berlin Scholarship in Medical Professionalism, and a recipient of grants from the Kornfeld Program in Bioethics and Patient Care, the Greenwall Foundation, and the Harvard University Milton Fund. Dr. Brown received a 2011 RSNA Education Scholar Award, and a 2014 Boston Children’s Hospital Academy Medical Educator Award for Innovative Scholarship in Medical Education. 

Selected Publications

  1. Brown SD, Truog RD, Johnson JA, Ecker JE, Do Differences in the AAP and ACOG Positions on the Ethics of Maternal-Fetal Interventions Reflect Subtly Divergent Professional Sensitivities to Pregnant Women and Fetuses? Pediatrics. 2006 Apr; 117 (4):1382-1387.
  2. Brown SD, Daly JC, Kalish LA, McDaniel S, Financial Disclosures of Scientific Papers Presented at RSNA 2003: Association with the Reporting of Non-FDA-Approved Uses of Industry Products. Radiology 2006 Jun; 239(3):849-855.
  3. Brown SD, Lyerly AD, Little MO, Lantos, JD. Pediatrics-based Fetal Care: Unanswered Ethical Questions. Acta Paediatr 2008; 97(2):1617-1619.
  4. Brown, SD. The “Fetus as Patient”: A Critique.  Am J Bioeth. 2008 Jul;8(7):47-50
  5. Brown, SD, Goske, MJ, Johnson, CM, Beyond Substance Abuse: Stress, Burnout, and Depression as Causes of Physician Impairment and Disruptive Behavior. Journal of the American College of Radiology 2009; 6(7):479-485.
  6. Brown, SD. The Intersection of Ethics and Communication in Prenatal Imaging: Challenges for the Pediatric Radiologist. Pediatr Radiol 2010; 40(4):514-517.
  7. Brown SD, Lehman CD, Truog RD, Browning DM, Gallagher TL, Stepping Out Further from the Shadows: Disclosure of Harmful Radiologic Errors to Patients. Radiology, February 2012; 262(2):381-386.
  8. Brown SD, Ecker JL, Ward JRM, Halpern EF, Sayeed SA, Buchmiller TL, Mitchell C, Donelan K, Prenatally Diagnosed Fetal Conditions in the Age of Fetal Care: Does Who Counsels Matter? Am J Obstet Gynecol 2012 May;206(5):409-e1-409-e11.
  9. Brown SD, Professional Norms Regarding How Radiologists Handle Incidental Findings. Journal of the American College of Radiology, 2013;10:253-257.
  10. Brown SD, Donelan K, Martins Y, Burmeister K, Buchmiller TL, Sayeed SA, Mitchell C, Ecker JL. Differing Attitudes Toward Fetal Care By Pediatric And Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialists, Pediatrics. 2012, 2012 Dec;130(6):e1534-40
  11. Brown SD, Donelan K, Martins Y, Sayeed, SA, Mitchell C, Buchmiller TL, Burmeister K, Ecker, JL. Does Professional Orientation Predict Ethical Sensitivities? Attitudes Of Pediatric And Obstetric Specialists Toward Fetuses, Pregnant Women, And Pregnancy Termination. J Med Ethics 2014;40:117–122.
  12. Brown SD, Callahan MJ, Browning DM, Lebowitz, RL, Bell SK, Jang J, Meyer EC, Radiology trainees’ comfort with difficult conversations and attitudes about error disclosure: Effect of a communication skills workshop. Journal of the American College of Radiology 2014, 10.1016/j.jacr.2014.01.018
  13. Bruno MA, Petscavage-Thomas JM, Mohr MJ, Bell SK, Brown SD, The “Open Letter”: Radiologists reports in the era of patient web portals, Journal of the American College of Radiology 2014, in press.


Publications powered by Harvard Catalyst Profiles

  1. The pediatric stomach - congenital abnormalities. Pediatr Radiol. 2021 Aug 05. View abstract
  2. Ethical challenges in child abuse: what is the harm of a misdiagnosis? Pediatr Radiol. 2021 May; 51(6):1070-1075. View abstract
  3. Guidelines for expert testimony in pediatric radiology. Pediatr Radiol. 2021 06; 51(7):1275-1280. View abstract
  4. Radiology Trainees' Perceptions of Speaking up Culture Related to Safety and Unprofessional Behavior in Their Work Environments. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2021 04; 216(4):1081-1087. View abstract
  5. The pediatric stomach - masses and mass-like pathology. Pediatr Radiol. 2020 08; 50(9):1180-1190. View abstract
  6. Society for Pediatric Radiology (SPR) Child Abuse Committee response regarding Miller, Stolfi and Ayoub's flawed theories about child abuse and metabolic bone disease. J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2020 Apr 28; 33(4):547-548. View abstract
  7. Error Disclosure and Apology in Radiology: The Case for Further Dialogue. Radiology. 2019 10; 293(1):30-35. View abstract
  8. The Need for National Guidance Around Informed Consent About GBCA Safety. Am J Bioeth. 2019 Apr; 19(4):75-77. View abstract
  9. Incorporating Patient- and Family-Centered Care Into Radiology Residency Training Through an Experiential Curriculum. J Am Coll Radiol. 2019 Jan; 16(1):96-101. View abstract
  10. A Review of Resources and Methodologies Available for Teaching and Assessing Patient-Related Communication Skills in Radiology. Acad Radiol. 2018 07; 25(7):955-961. View abstract
  11. "I Sleep, But My Heart Is Awake": <i>Negotiating marginal states in life and death</i>. Perspect Biol Med. 2018; 61(1):106-117. View abstract
  12. Weighing the Social and Ethical Considerations of Maternal-Fetal Surgery. Pediatrics. 2017 Dec; 140(6). View abstract
  13. Attitudes of paediatric and obstetric specialists towards prenatal surgery for lethal and non-lethal conditions. J Med Ethics. 2018 04; 44(4):234-238. View abstract
  14. Patient-centered Radiology: Where Are We, Where Do We Want to Be, and How Do We Get There? Radiology. 2017 11; 285(2):601-608. View abstract
  15. Development of a Standardized Kalamazoo Communication Skills Assessment Tool for Radiologists: Validation, Multisource Reliability, and Lessons Learned. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2017 Aug; 209(2):351-357. View abstract
  16. The Standoff. J Am Coll Radiol. 2017 04; 14(4):547-548. View abstract
  17. Is there a place for CPR and sustained physiological support in brain-dead non-donors? J Med Ethics. 2017 10; 43(10):679-683. View abstract
  18. Coming Out of the Dark: A Curriculum for Teaching and Evaluating Radiology Residents' Communication Skills Through Simulation. J Am Coll Radiol. 2017 01; 14(1):87-91. View abstract
  19. Should Incidental Simple Renal Cysts Be Considered Normal Variants and Ignored in Radiologic Reports? Review of a Proposed Framework. J Am Coll Radiol. 2016 Oct; 13(10):1169. View abstract
  20. Voices emerging from the shadows: Radiologic practitioners' experiences of challenging conversations. Patient Educ Couns. 2017 01; 100(1):133-138. View abstract
  21. The etiology and significance of fractures in infants and young children: a critical multidisciplinary review. Pediatr Radiol. 2016 May; 46(5):591-600. View abstract
  22. The Influence of Communication and Relational Education on Radiologists' Early Posttraining Practice. J Am Coll Radiol. 2016 Apr; 13(4):445-8. View abstract
  23. Radiologic Professionalism in Modern Health Care. Radiographics. 2015 Oct; 35(6):1779-88. View abstract
  24. Communication of Radiology Reports to Patients: Does One Size Fit All? J Am Coll Radiol. 2015 Oct; 12(10):1007-8. View abstract
  25. Prenatal Decision-Making for Myelomeningocele: Can We Minimize Bias and Variability? Pediatrics. 2015 Sep; 136(3):409-11. View abstract
  26. Microethics: the ethics of everyday clinical practice. Hastings Cent Rep. 2015 Jan-Feb; 45(1):11-7. View abstract
  27. SPR Child Abuse Committee Response regarding classic metaphyseal lesion. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2014 Aug; 203(2):W232. View abstract
  28. The "open letter": radiologists' reports in the era of patient web portals. J Am Coll Radiol. 2014 Sep; 11(9):863-7. View abstract
  29. Radiology trainees' comfort with difficult conversations and attitudes about error disclosure: effect of a communication skills workshop. J Am Coll Radiol. 2014 Aug; 11(8):781-7. View abstract
  30. Does professional orientation predict ethical sensitivities? Attitudes of paediatric and obstetric specialists toward fetuses, pregnant women and pregnancy termination. J Med Ethics. 2014 Feb; 40(2):117-22. View abstract
  31. Professional norms regarding how radiologists handle incidental findings. J Am Coll Radiol. 2013 Apr; 10(4):253-7. View abstract
  32. Differing attitudes toward fetal care by pediatric and maternal-fetal medicine specialists. Pediatrics. 2012 Dec; 130(6):e1534-40. View abstract
  33. Prenatally diagnosed fetal conditions in the age of fetal care: does who counsels matter? Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2012 May; 206(5):409.e1-11. View abstract
  34. Stepping out further from the shadows: disclosure of harmful radiologic errors to patients. Radiology. 2012 Feb; 262(2):381-6. View abstract
  35. The intersection of ethics and communication in prenatal imaging: challenges for the pediatric radiologist. Pediatr Radiol. 2010 Apr; 40(4):514-7. View abstract
  36. Beyond substance abuse: stress, burnout, and depression as causes of physician impairment and disruptive behavior. J Am Coll Radiol. 2009 Jul; 6(7):479-85. View abstract
  37. Paediatrics-based fetal care: unanswered ethical questions. Acta Paediatr. 2008 Dec; 97(12):1617-9. View abstract
  38. The "fetus as patient": a critique. Am J Bioeth. 2008 Jul; 8(7):47-50; discussion W4-6. View abstract
  39. Issues in imaging-guided tumor ablation in children versus adults. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2007 Sep; 189(3):626-32. View abstract
  40. Safety in pediatric MR and cardiac CT: results of a membership survey of the Society for Pediatric Radiology-2006. Pediatr Radiol. 2007 Apr; 37(4):409-12. View abstract
  41. Ultrasound diagnosis of mouse pregnancy and gestational staging. Comp Med. 2006 Aug; 56(4):262-71. View abstract
  42. Financial disclosures of scientific papers presented at the 2003 RSNA Annual Meeting: association with reporting of non-Food and Drug Administration-approved uses of industry products. Radiology. 2006 Jun; 239(3):849-55. View abstract
  43. Do differences in the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists positions on the ethics of maternal-fetal interventions reflect subtly divergent professional sensitivities to pregnant women and fetuses? Pediatrics. 2006 Apr; 117(4):1382-7. View abstract
  44. Pediatric return electrodes for radiofrequency ablation in children. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2005 Jul; 185(1):84-5. View abstract
  45. CT-guided radiofrequency ablation of pediatric Wilms tumor in a solitary kidney. Pediatr Radiol. 2005 Sep; 35(9):923-8. View abstract
  46. Analysis of 51 tibial triplane fractures using CT with multiplanar reconstruction. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2004 Nov; 183(5):1489-95. View abstract
  47. Percutaneous imaging-guided abdominal and pelvic abscess drainage in children. Radiographics. 2004 May-Jun; 24(3):737-54. View abstract
  48. Outcomes of primary image-guided drainage of parapneumonic effusions in children. Pediatrics. 2002 Sep; 110(3):e37. View abstract
  49. Ultrasound-guided fetal tracheal occlusion. J Pediatr Surg. 2002 Mar; 37(3):300-2. View abstract
  50. Interventional Radiology of the Liver, Biliary System, and Gallbladder. Lippincott-Raven, 1999. View abstract