This Pirate wants to improve quality of life for people with spine-related disorders.
Jim Eubanks is
passionate about helping people who suffer from the No. 1 cause of disability
worldwide: spine-related disorders.The rising
third-year medical student entered the Brody School of Medicine at East
Carolina University in 2014 as a chiropractor. He came from OrthoCarolina in
Charlotte, one of the nation’s leading independent academic orthopedics
practices. He completed a fellowship there in the treatment of spine-related conditions
under the direction of spine section chief Dr. Craig D. Brigham. While there, he
also developed clinical guidelines for the care of musculoskeletal issues – or issues
involving the muscle-and-bone system that’s responsible for movement.“Spinal disability
affects our workforce and creates a burden on society,” Eubanks said. “It’s an
economic problem, but it’s also a quality of life problem.”The chance to
impact someone’s quality of life is what’s pushing Eubanks to become a physician
in the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R).He’s particularly
interested in how quality of life can be impacted by lifestyle behaviors. “Medicine
in general is more focused on bio-psycho-social issues now, and spine care is
especially driven by them,” he said.He’s also passionate
about team-based medical care and the role effective collaboration can play in
the quality of care a patient receives.Earlier this
year Eubanks’ accomplishments landed him a spot in the Spine 10x25 Coalition, a North American
Spine Foundation initiative to decrease spine-related disability in the U.S. by
10 percent by 2025. The only medical student and the youngest person on the
team, Eubanks is reaching out to legislators and National Institutes of Health
representatives to raise awareness, influence policy and garner more research
funding. He believes the
biggest challenge facing rehabilitation specialists is “difficulty nailing down
the most effective treatment options from among the 200 or so accepted
therapies out there. That reflects the fact that we don’t have a good
scientific basis for making these decisions,” he said. But he’s doing
his part to remedy that.As a participant
in Brody’s Research Distinction Track, Eubanks is collaborating with PM&R
faculty to study how the terminology a doctor uses to explain spine MRI findings
can affect a patient’s treatment decisions and outcomes. The study includes
research sites at Brody, Duke University School of Medicine and the
Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, an institution recognized globally for the
volume of rehabilitation research it conducts.
Eubanks is a
regular contributor to The Human Diagnosis Project (www.humandx.org),
a web-based tool – spearheaded by faculty from the Johns Hopkins University
School of Medicine – that allows practicing and future physicians around the
globe to develop and solve fictitious medical cases. In addition to enhancing the
education of doctors-in-training, the project aims to study the processes
physicians use to arrive at individual diagnoses and make clinical decisions.
on his expertise to build cases around musculoskeletal issues for the project. Because
participants are grouped according to medical school, his level of impact has consistently
earned East Carolina a top-10 ranking among thousands of participants.
What advice do you have for other students?
our generation is likely going to live longer and have to work
longer. Figure out what you are good at and what you enjoy, and go for it,
even if it takes you some extra time. Leave the naysayers in the dust.
What has been the most memorable experience at ECU so far?
One of the
best experiences I've had is working with several of my classmates to introduce
iPads into the Brody anatomy curriculum. We recognized an opportunity to
integrate new technology that would enhance learning, and the Brody
administration supported us every step of the way.
Photography by: Cliff Hollis
Written by: Amy Ellis
College: Brody School of Medicine
Classification/Year: Rising M3
Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina
Clubs & Organizations: At ECU: American
Medical Association - Medical Student Section, Brody Chapter; Student
Interest Group in Neurology, Co-leader. Professionally: United States
Bone and Joint Initiative; North American
Spine Foundation; North American
Spine Society; American
Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, student member; American
Academy of Pain Medicine, student member; North Carolina
Medical Society, student member; American Chiropractic
Hobbies & Interests: Working
out, enjoying the outdoors, golf with my dad, and traveling to new places
to meet really interesting people
Favorite place to eat: I have good
memories getting sushi at Wasabi 88 and Shogun. Anytime there is
an opportunity to go out as a medical student, it is a treat!
Favorite Movie: The Departed
Favorite website: HumanDX.org
Dream job: PM&R
physician in an academic medical institution involved in patient care and
Favorite place on campus: Laupus
Favorite hangout: Greenville
Favorite class: Pathology
Favorite band/musician: At the
moment, I really like Lindsey Sterling. Goes well with the long hours
Favorite TV show: Game of
Most Influential Professor: Richard Ray,
The one thing you cannot live without: My wife, Komal
Eubanks. She's a DNP Family Nurse Practitioner student in ECU's College
of Nursing and vital to my success.
Role Models: My mentor, the
late Craig D. Brigham, MD. My medical career is dedicated to him.
Your words to live by: "People
will become better when you show them what they are like." -Anton Chekhov
"Figure out what you are good at and enjoy, and go for it; even if it takes you some extra time."
– Jim Eubanks