Welcoming New MS Specialist: Dr. Justine Brink

July 26, 2021 Kelby Johnson

Welcoming New MS Specialist: Justine Brink, M.D.

Interview by Kyle Smoot, M.D.

Where did you complete your training?

Undergraduate- Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA.  Medical School- Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.  Residency- University of Connecticut.  Fellowship and MPH- Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA.

Why did you choose to move to Portland?

Music, skiing, coffee, Powell’s Books and the opportunity to join one of the most vibrant MS Centers in the western United States.

How did you become interested in multiple sclerosis?

I became interested in MS through my outpatient clinic in residency. I had several patients with MS with whom I really connected. I knew I wanted a career in a specialty where I would have long term relationships with my patients. At the time, the market was (and still is) exploding with new MS treatment options, in large part thanks to centers like the Providence Multiple Sclerosis Center, which participate in clinical trials.

What is one piece of advice you would like to give to patients with MS?

Maintain as much independence as possible, but never feel ashamed to accept help when it is offered with love and selflessness.

What is one piece of advice you would like to give to care partners?

It is okay to step away and take time for yourself. In fact, you need to do that sometimes, because burnout is real.  You cannot pour from an empty cup

What do you think will be the next major advance in MS treatment?

Remyelination therapies.

What do you like to do outside of work?

Running, skiing, music, poetry and literature.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party (alive or dead)?

George Carlin and Carl Sagan.

What has been the highlight of your career?

I started a Neurology clerkship for the University of Nevada Reno, School of Medicine. The highlight for me was when my first medical students matched into Neurology residencies.

What life experience has taught or changed you the most?

Other than the process of becoming a physician, the two years I spent as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Swaziland (2005-2007) as an HIV/AIDS education volunteer.


Photo credit: Oregon Department of Transportation

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