Medicine runs in Gregory Carter’s, MD, MS, family. Inspired by his father’s medical career and the loss of a close friend to ALS, Dr. Carter began a decades-long commitment to helping patients and educating others about NM and EDX diseases. For Dr. Carter’s commitment to education, he is the 2020 winner of the Ernest Johnson Outstanding Educator Award. This award honors a PMR AANEM member for significant contributions related to NM and EDX education.
“This award was really deeply meaningful to me. I have had a very challenging past year with health issues and it is really nice to get this major recognition from my colleagues and friends in AANEM,” noted Dr. Carter.
“Teaching, like the practice of medicine and research endeavors, is a challenging intellectual task,” said Dr. Carter. “It is one of the most important things we can do in the course of our careers. Even in this age of nearly instantaneous information transfer, the most important aspects of clinical medicine cannot be learned off of a smart phone, website, or even a YouTube video. It is the hands-on, personal interactions with our trainees that passes on the knowledge that ensures the future of our field. I have always had students and residents beside me in the various aspects of my practice and that has been one of the highlights of my career.”
Dr. Carter's contributions to the AANEM Annual Meeting were a determining factor in his receiving the award. He has presented at over 20 sessions and was always a popular speaker. He also has educated other physicians through his extensive publications while he was the editor in chief of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America
and senior associate editor for Muscle & Nerve
. As the co-founder of the Muscular Dystrophy Association/ALS Center at the University of Washington and the MDA Regional Neuromuscular Disease Center at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, Washington, he trained many residents and allied health personnel.
"The beauty of neuromuscular medicine, including electrodiagnosis, is that we can help patients with really challenging diseases, diagnostically and therapeutically,” said Dr. Carter. “I hope young physicians consider this field. It was the best decision of my career to purse this area, and I think most of my colleagues and peers would agree with that sentiment.”
Dr. Carter is adamant about the value of being a member of AANEM.
“The AANEM is an outstanding organization and has the highest quality training and educational materials, including an excellent journal in Muscle and Nerve
. The meetings are always top notch, and bring in a mix of educational and research topics,” said Dr. Carter. “There are also some great social activities. We even had our own jazz band at one time. In fact, I’d like to see the jazz band resurrected. They had this really great guitar player, as I recall.”
AANEM’s Executive Director, Shirlyn Adkins, JD, laughed at this quote saying, “Greg did a great job as the guitar player. Dr. Peter Grant was on the drums and Dr. John Aseff played the saxophone. I don’t remember if there was another member of the band.”
Dr. Carter graduated from Loyola University of Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and the American Board of Electrodiagnostic Medicine. He completed a residency for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and a research fellowship for neuromuscular disease at the University of California, Davis. He also earned a Master’s degree in physiology there, before accepting a MayDay pain fellowship at the University of Washington. He holds faculty appointments at both University of Washington and Washington State University medical schools. He currently serves as chief medical officer for St Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute in Spokane, Washington. He is now in the process of starting a new PM&R residency program. Dr. Carter served on the AANEM Board from 2013-2016 and served on the Muscle & Nerve
Editorial Board as Senior Associate Editor. He also was a member of the following AANEM Committees: Research, Podcasting Editorial Board, and the NM Update Course Committee.
His advice for young physicians breaking into the field?
“Find something you love and stick with it. Moreover, I think it is very important for young physicians to be actively engaged with organizations that are relevant to their practice,” said Dr. Carter. “For neuromuscular providers, AANEM not only provides educational, quality improvement, and research opportunities, it also facilitates and supports on-going advocacy activities. That is critical, especially in today’s health care environment.”