Professor Howard received his B.S. from San Francisco State University in 1981 (Biochemistry) and his M.D. from the University of Oklahoma in 1985 with highest honors. He did his surgical residency training at University of California at Los Angeles, where he worked for two years during his training in the laboratory with Edward Passaro, Jr., M.D. investigating pancreatic endocrine tumors, and graduated in 1992. He joined the faculty at Indiana University in the School of Medicine in 1992 and was named Professor of Surgery in 2006. He is director of the Pancreas Research Group and co-director of the IU Simon Cancer Center Pancreas Clinical Team.
He is a member of surgical societies including; Fellowship in the American College of Surgeons, Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract, American Gastroenterological Association, Society for Surgical Oncology, American Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association, and the American Pancreatic Association. His contributions to teaching within the School of Medicine has been recognized by receiving the Faculty Teaching Award (1996), his election to the Faculty Colloquium on Excellence in Teaching (FACET) (1998), and the Trustee Teaching Award (2005). His research interests have focused on the surgical management of both benign and malignant pancreatic and biliary diseases where he has published over 70 peer review journal articles and 21 book chapters. He currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery.