Q & A with Dr. Cassandra ListBeyond Magazine
Aug 20, 2019
Cassandra List, MD recently joined the Brooks Medical Group. She is board-certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and will be working with patients both in the rehabilitation hospital and outpatient clinic. We’re excited to have her on the team and asked her a few questions to get to know her better.
What made you decide to pursue a career in medicine?
Ever since I was young, I knew I wanted to help people in some way, but I think that there are a million ways that you can do that without specifically being in healthcare. What I found myself realizing is that we all have one body, and we all share that regardless of where we come from or how we grew up. To me, it’s very true that a person’s quality of life is greatly impacted by his or her health. So I felt that by pursing medicine I could work to help people across all spectrums of life from all different cultures on an aspect that is the most vital component of our lives, our health.
And then how did you decide on rehab medicine?
Almost immediately on my first rehab rotation as a medical student, I decided this is what I’m going to do. In rehab, by nature, you have to take a holistic approach to patient care. You have to look at the whole patient to really optimize their recovery and their healing. Meaning you have to consider not only medical issues, but also family life, what they do for work, what they do for fun, even cultural and spiritual beliefs all impact their rehab and ultimately their recovery. Most of the patients I work with have had their lives changed from one day to the next. I want to be alongside these patients and families, working on what is most important to them, as they recover and adapt to their new life.
What made you specialize in neurorehabilitation and spasticity?
The day that I figured out I wanted to do rehab was the same day I figured out I wanted to focus on neurorehabilitation. It was just a very intriguing sub-specialty of rehab for many reasons. We’ve learned so much about the brain, and its recovery, but we still have so far to go. It’s a growing field where we are learning every day how we can best help improve a person’s recovery.
I decided to pursue the Neurorehabilitation and Spasticity Fellowship because it’s one of the only fellowships in the country that focuses on this area. I stayed on for an extra year of specialized training focusing on the rehabilitation of patients who experienced stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy and other neurologic conditions. I learned how we can use botulinum toxins, like Botox, Dysport, Xeomin, and Intrathecal Baclofen pumps, to complement the physical rehab so we can get the best outcomes for recovery and function for our patients.
What brought you to Jacksonville and to Brooks Rehabilitation?
I was actually born in Jacksonville, but I only lived here two months before we moved to Costa Rica. I eventually returned to Florida for elementary, middle school and high school before completing my medical degree at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago. After my residency and fellowship at the Medical College of Wisconsin, I was looking to come back to the southeast. I started asking colleagues for recommendations and so many of them said wonderful things about Brooks. After some research, I discovered all the resources Brooks has for their patients and how patient-centered their model is. I realized it was really an incredible opportunity and it just so happened to be in my home state.
What will you be focusing on at Brooks?
I am looking forward to working with patients in both the inpatient rehabilitation hospital and outpatient clinic. I’ll be caring primarily for stroke and traumatic brain injury patients, with a focus on neurorehabilitation and spasticity management in the outpatient clinic. I hope to help build on the excellent neurorehabilitation program that drew me to Brooks and expand our reach into the community to improve care for the traumatic and acquired brain injury patient population.
I’m just happy to be on this journey within the field to see how far we can take patients in their recovery.