Member of the Month: Emily Briggs, MD, MPH

TAFP president encourages coming together as one family medicine voice

By Samantha White
May 02, 2023

TAFP President Emily Briggs, MD, MPH, is the founder of Briggs Family Medicine in New Braunfels, where she practices full-spectrum family medicine and obstetrics. She’s active in the community, working closely with her local School Health Advisory Council and serving as the medical director for two New Braunfels school districts. She’s been active in TAFP since medical school, and previously served as the new physician board member for both TAFP and AAFP.

Tell us about your career path.

I completed medical school through UT Houston HSC, which is now McGovern. Then I transitioned to residency with Christus Santa Rosa when it was downtown, which it no longer is. Everything I’ve gone to has changed! Then because I wanted to be close to my favorite sports team yet in a smaller town, I moved to New Braunfels and hung my shingle, starting a practice as a solo, full-scope family doc. I currently have one physician partner and one APRN.

Since it came up, what is your favorite sports team?

The Spurs! It’s all about the Spurs.

Who or what inspired you to become a family physician?

When I talk to people about why I chose specifically family medicine, I tell them about my journey through medical school, my clerkship rotations. I started out with pediatrics and loved taking care of the kids. Then I went to OB and I loved delivering babies. Then I did surgery and I just knew I was going to be a surgeon. So every rotation I did I loved it, and I knew that was what I wanted to do, until I went to the next one. My last rotation was family medicine and I realized at that point that I could do everything all together and have a happy life.

What unique challenges are represented in your patient community?

Certainly access to care can be an issue. We have insurance and lack thereof, especially with the public health emergency ending on May 11, many of my patients will transition off Medicaid or other access points and be shifted to access points that are not as comprehensive. So that’s a big thing we’re working with right now.

We have no public transportation so there are some non-medical drivers of health in New Braunfels that if you don’t live here, you don’t know about. People think of our community as being on the I-35 corridor in a well off, happy area, and for many parts it is, but we have a very large low-income population, and those low-income patients are not served well by not having insurance. They work minimum wage or lower and they don’t have the resources to be able to physically make it to their medical care, even if they have an access point through insurance. And many of them don’t/won’t have that.

What are your practice passions?

I love babies, I love mamas, and I love families! I love the full-scope nature of each room being a completely different clinical scenario, which tickles a different part of my brain. That’s on the academic side.

On the heart side, my passion in family medicine is that I have gotten to know so many of my patients and their families and they love me just as much as I love them. I think that’s what sings to me every day. Even with the negativity that is brought into a medical office, with dealing with insurance and being underpaid and overworked, with all of that, every day I have at least one if not many experiences with my patients where they are appreciative of the care they are being provided.

I have high school students who come and rotate with me every morning. I try to impress upon them just how connected that care is and needs to be. I try to teach them that people come here at their worst knowing we will help them get to their best, and that is a unique opportunity and something I don’t take lightly.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a topic which keeps coming up in conversations with TAFP members. Are there any specific mental health resources you would recommend to family medicine colleagues?

CPAN and PeriPAN – the more people we can get to know about those the better. What I’ve experienced in working with CPAN and now PeriPAN is great access. Easily being able to talk to the psychiatrist when it comes to pediatric cases, usually within 30 seconds they’re connecting me with a pediatric psychiatrist. Mostly I’ve reached out to them about ADD and ADHD cases, but I’ve also reached out to them with severe depression cases.

I had a kiddo with psychotic features, and we have very limited ability in my area to get kiddos hooked up with an actual psychiatrist. For that case specifically, it was about what to get him started on until we can have his actual visit with a psychiatrist months from now. And in the meantime, what psychologists can we get him set up with? Within 24 hours I had an email with I think 12 resources for psychology for that kiddo, taking into consideration his insurance, which was Medicaid, the area he lived in, and the school he went to. So they very much tailored options to his unique situation, which was fantastic.

Why do you choose to be a TAFP member?

Yesterday I heard from a colleague of mine who is not at all active in organized medicine. She has decided to not only be active but is going to go through some form of a leadership college because she wants to change how medicine is working in her world. She is a family doctor who has gotten frustrated with how one of the hospitals is allowing their nurse practitioner to work at an ED. This person has prescribed antibiotics over and over when it was not medically appropriate. She has gone to the higher ups many times, and this person continues to practice.

I applauded her because that’s exactly what she should do. When you feel like you’re not able to make a difference, because you’re making a difference in one person’s world at a time. When you feel like that’s not enough or when you need help, that’s why we have TAFP. We have TAFP to give us a bigger voice so that we as a family doc can do so much more in the local area, in the regional area, in the state area, or even in the national area. Because we can’t make those big changes without all coming together as one voice and that’s what she’s getting ready to do.

What do you enjoy doing outside of medicine?

Spending time with my family. I love music and my perfect scenario is making music with my family and just having fun.

TAFP’s Member of the Month program highlights Texas family physicians in TAFP News Now and on the TAFP website. We feature a biography and a Q&A with a different TAFP member each month and his or her unique approach to family medicine. If you know an outstanding family physician colleague who you think should be featured as a Member of the Month or if you’d like to tell your own story, nominate yourself or your colleague by contacting TAFP by email at or by phone at (512) 329-8666.