Your Neighbor — Meet Dr. Christopher Gilmore
By Mandy Haggerson
For the Clemmons Courier
Dr. Christopher Gilmore has always appreciated his close-knit family. “I was the youngest of eight children, so there was always someone around helping me,” recalls Gilmore. “I was much younger than most of them, so I actually spent more time playing with my nephews. You can imagine how much they loved it when I would tell them to call me their uncle,” jokes Gilmore.
“I enjoyed playing sports too — football, basketball and baseball,” remembers Gilmore. When it was time to decide on colleges, he chose to utilize a dual program to get his biomedical engineering degree at Morehouse College and the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Unfortunately, before Gilmore would head back to the dorms for his sophomore year, his father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. “Within three weeks after my dad’s diagnosis, he passed away,” reflects Gilmore. “I was in two classes with the department chair for my major at Morehouse, and he wouldn’t let me reschedule my tests to attend my father’s funeral. I realized I needed to reassess and take some time off. I didn’t want to be in that department any longer,” explains Gilmore. He took some time off to really think about what he wanted to do after experiencing the significant loss of his father. “I knew I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to rid the entire world of cancer,” mentions Gilmore. Thus, Gilmore redirected his studies to a medical route. Gilmore graduated magna cum laude from Morehouse College, and went onto medical school at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Memphis.
In addition to figuring out his professional pursuits, Chris began dating his future wife, Shon. Chris’ roommate had introduced the two. With Shon’s support, and Chris’ dedication he completed his residency in anesthesiology at the University of Tennessee Medical Center at Knoxville.
The newlyweds were about to embark on a new adventure moving to Winston-Salem. Gilmore had been offered a fellowship in Pain Medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “We didn’t have kids yet, and weren’t quite sure being in a smaller city would be for us,” says Gilmore. “But we ended up moving to the exact right place for where we needed to be, and we really realized that once we had children.”
Gilmore started at the Carolinas Pain Institute & Center for Clinical Research right after his fellowship at Wake Forest. Twelve years later, Gilmore has really carved out his niche and specialty with innovative pain-relieving therapies. “I like the physiology of anesthesia, but really enjoy the procedural side with working with my hands,” explains Gilmore. Gilmore has become an expert in peripheral nerve stimulation. He appreciates the minimally invasive approach to treat issues like chronic pain, headaches, post amputation pain and chronic shoulder pains with the use of a tiny wire, SPR Therapeutics’ SPRINT system. Offering treatment modalities that provide another option to opioids is appealing to Gilmore.
Because of his efforts, Gilmore is one of the first physicians to utilize a new spinal cord stimulator system, Nevro’s Omnia, to treat chronic pain. Gilmore is attracting patients from all over the country from west to east coast to benefit from this FDA approved system. “What makes this different is the wide range of frequencies you can offer a patient. You can now combine and pair all available frequencies, making them more versatile,” explains Gilmore. The system can last up to 10 years, be upgraded to future waveforms and frequencies, allowing Gilmore to further tailor to the needs of his patients.
While Gilmore is expanding his professional knowledge, he is also imparting it as well. He serves as a Clinical Adjunct Faculty at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. He actively participates in the training of anesthesia residents and fellows in medication management, interventional techniques, peripheral nerve and spinal cord stimulation, and intrathecal drug delivery.
Gilmore believes in inspiring the next generation, as he had been inspired. His children are also examples of that. “Being a parent is really the coolest thing. They remind me daily how I should speak and interact with others, carry myself, and really make me want to raise the bar,” appreciates Gilmore. “They are really amazing kids, and it’s a humbling and rewarding experience being their dad,” says Gilmore of sons Christopher, 9, and Donovan, 7.
Gilmore shows his children how community philanthropy is important. He serves on the board of the Arts Based School in Winston-Salem. He also is very active in charities that showcase healthy living through biking (which includes events in the area and donations to kids in local schools).
As Pablo Picasso once said, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away,” and that is just what our neighbor has done.