John D. Edwards, MD, is part of a thriving otolaryngology practice in Houston, and volunteers in leadership positions in his specialty. But for Dr. Edwards, just being an otolaryngologist isn’t enough.
Explore This IssueOctober 2021
Dr. Edwards has a fondness for craft cocktails, good wine, and craft beer. That love turned into a second business as co-owner of a San Antonio beer and growler bar from 2014-2019 first known as GS 1221 and later rebranded as The Roost. (A growler is a small airtight jug used to transport beer.)
The experience of owning a bar and running its social media accounts and promotions was an education. “I think it’s a lot of people’s dream to run a bar,” he said. “I had a great time with it, but looking back you really have to be hands-on to make it a success. I have a lot of respect for people in the service and food industry after the experience. It’s hard work and difficult to succeed.” The Roost eventually shuttered in 2019.
But Dr. Edwards doesn’t regret his time spent as a bar owner—except for the weight gain, he said jokingly, which he solved by scaling back on his beer consumption. In fact, he believes it gave him a better view of his community and introduced him to a large circle of new contacts.
It’s an interesting mix for an otolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon, but Dr. Edwards’ choice of his career as a physician isn’t a surprise. He grew up in San Antonio, where he lived with his parents, Joe and Judy, and his brother Jeff. The Edwards family has medical foundations: Joe is a dentist and Judy is a pharmacist.
Dr. Edwards said he became a clinical doctor because he was good at science and preferred interacting with patients rather than doing research in a laboratory. “All of my family members got into medicine to try to help people,” he said. “My parents were involved at their church and in their fields of dentistry and pharmacy when I was growing up,” he said. “I was always involved in organizations in high school and college.”
He chose to specialize in otolaryngology after growing up with pollen and grass allergies. Noting that he owned a Bernese mountain dog named Bella for 11 years, he said, “As it turns out, I’m allergic to dogs too.” he said. “I had a familiarity with otolaryngology as a patient, as I had sinus surgery while in college,” he said.
After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin in 1995 with a liberal arts background through the Plan II Honors program, Dr. Edwards attended medical school at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center of Dallas, graduating in 2000. After completing his residency in otolaryngology–head and neck surgery at George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., in 2005, he became an otolaryngology fellow at The George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences. He was working as an otolaryngologist in private practice as a partner at Alamo ENT Associates PA in San Antonio during his bar ownership days.
“I seem to have only worked at hospitals where presidents have been taken after being shot during an assassination attempt,” he noted. “I trained at Parkland, where John F. Kennedy was taken when he was assassinated, and then at George Washington, where Ronald Reagan was taken after he was shot. The amazing thing about that is that when you talk to the people who were there and involved in the teams that worked on the presidents, they all went on to be pretty big in their fields, to be department chairs.”
While in San Antonio, Dr. Edwards was encouraged to join the Texas Medical Association Leadership College and Leadership San Antonio. He enjoyed volunteering, both in the heathcare and local communities. “Both were fantastic experiences, learning about the community and getting to interact with so many amazing people.” Currently, Dr. Edwards is also the president of the Texas Association of Otolaryngology and sits on the Council for Socioeconomics within the Texas Medical Association.
Currently, Dr. Edwards sees pediatric and adult patients at Houston ENT and Allergy, a practice he joined in 2020 after moving from San Antonio. He focuses on patients with sinus problems, blocked ears, sleep apnea, and those who need surgery for thyroid, parathyroid, parotid, adenoids, or tonsils. He enjoys treating a range of patients—from babies who need ear tubes to young children and adults. “I appreciate that, thankfully, our patients aren’t usually really ill, although there are some with neck access issues,” he said.