He will be joined by Henry McLeish, who becomes minister for enterprise and lifelong learning, including responsibility for higher education.
At Westminster, Mr Galbraith was Opposition spokesman on Scottish affairs and health from 1988-92 and employment from 1992-93. Previously, he worked as a consultant neurosurgeon for the Greater Glasgow Health Board.
Henry McLeish, 50, is the home affairs minister in the Scottish Office who had responsibility for devolution. The MSP for Fife Central lectured in social sciences at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh from 1973-87.
He has led Fife Regional Council and been a member of Kirkcaldy District Council.
Meanwhile, in Wales, Rosemary Butler, 56, the member for Newport West and a former Newport councillor, has been appointed children and young people's minister, with responsibility for education until 16.
She is a former mayor of Newport and has a long-standing role as the Welsh commissioner on the Museums and Galleries Commission.
The commission sets standards for museums and galleries and provides policy advice to Alan Howarth, minister for the arts at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. The commission's 2,500 registered organisations include 90 university museums.
Tom Middlehurst, 54, the member for Alwyn and Deeside, becomes Welsh minister for post-16 education and training.
The Merseyside-born former leader of Flintshire County Council is one of the few Assembly members who doesn't speak Welsh - although his brief includes the Welsh language.