When Dr. Eric Spier first went into medicine, his goal was to work in a rural area as a family physician. He had already obtained a degree in photojournalism from the University of Texas, Austin, and held strong to the belief that the most meaningful art is shaped by human experience. He didn’t feel he could bring that to his work without the ability to bear witness to the depths of the human experience, so he decided to pursue a degree in medicine.
“When you go down the road of studying medicine, you have no idea what you’ll be when you finish. It’s a long, life-changing process. It steals your soul and then hopefully gives it back to you. Photography does the same,” says Dr. Spier.
Fast forward to today, and Dr. Spier is the medical director of Craig Hospital’s Brain Injury Program. Dr. Spier is a big believer in mindfulness and other holistic strategies – such as yoga – as part of the healing therapy for people who are recovering from a brain injury.
He also believes it’s important to help his patients and their families bear witness to their journey at Craig, and he has created photo essays of some of his patients who are interested in participating.
“Pulling out a camera and documenting the process creates a great opportunity for a patient to mindfully acknowledge where they are in their recovery. Often, in the beginning, people come to Craig and display photos in their rooms of their previous life. But capturing them from the beginning of their neurorehabilitation treatment throughout their time here can be really powerful, liberating and exciting,” says Dr. Spier.
One Craig graduate, Molei Wright, took Dr. Spier’s advice to capture her entire stay at Craig and is forever grateful for his suggestion. “I took more photos and am so glad that I did,” she says. “It helped me see my progress and embrace my life.”
Dr. Spier is also very passionate about the role a family plays in the success of a patient’s treatment. Rebuilding someone’s life after a brain injury takes humanity and teamwork.
Additionally, he is interested in neuropharmacology and how different treatments can help patients with brain injury through their recovery, as well as the education and protection of civil rights for people who have sustained a brain injury.
Eric T. Spier, MD, serves as the Brain Injury Program Medical Director and Outpatient Brain Injury Medical Director at Craig Hospital. He also serves as Neurorehabilitation Consultant at St. Anthony's Hospital in Denver, a Level I Trauma Center. Learn more about Dr. Spier here.