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Heather Mosley | SBJ

2022 Health Care Champions Top Doctor: Dr. Curtis P. Schreiber

Citizens Memorial Hospital

Posted online

It’s a rare accomplishment to start an Alzheimer’s care center in one’s health care career.

Dr. Curtis P. Schreiber has done it twice.

In his 31 years of practicing, Schreiber identified the need for greater Alzheimer’s care at two health systems in southwest Missouri: his first employer out of medical school and residency, Mercy Hospital Springfield, and his current employer, Citizens Memorial Hospital.

“All the books and all the lectures in the world cannot prepare you to see the real impact that Alzheimer’s has on both the patient and their families. This huge gap in what we know and what we can do was striking,” Schreiber recalls of his early career experiences.

He had finished up eight years of training at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota – completing his medical school studies and a neurology residency – and began practicing in Springfield to offer help and hope to Alzheimer’s patients that at the time had no treatments available to them.

“There was still so much that we could offer,” Schreiber says. “This great unmet need was something that I saw that could be filled.”

After his stint at Mercy and starting The Alzheimer’s Disease Disorders Center in 1999, Schreiber worked as a neurologist for the Headache Care Center and a principal investigator for Clinvest clinical research firm. He joined CMH as a neurologist in 2009 and began working as medical director of the Missouri Memory Center at CMH in 2015.

The center studies all types of memory concerns and, Schreiber says, offers patients the latest memory diagnostic evaluations and a multidisciplinary team approach to diagnosis and memory care.

“Our research program has also brought tau (positron emission tomography) scanning and blood biomarker testing to our center for patients who participate in research studies,” he says. “We are proud to have the second highest enrolling center in Missouri for the national Medicare-sponsored IDEAs Study of amyloid PET imaging for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease.”

The Alzheimer’s Association-directed study, titled Imaging Dementia – Evidence for Amyloid Scanning, is one of several Schreiber and the center have participated in over the past five years as they research a solution for Alzheimer’s disease.

“We are one site amongst dozens around the country and around the world, and we are proud to be able to offer the opportunity for world-class research, for those who are interested, right here in southwest Missouri,” he says.

And to think Schreiber initially studied electrical engineering in undergraduate school at University of Illinois. After earning his bachelor’s degree, he even spent a year as a spacecraft systems engineer for NASA’s Project Galileo to Jupiter in the early 1980s in California. He says the Jet Propulsion Laboratory team made “all kinds of scientific discoveries” studying the spacecraft as it orbited Jupiter.

The young Schreiber who was fascinated by how electrical circuits work was now ready to transition from exploring outer space to exploring inner space, the brain – and he jokes it was a “no brainer” for him.

“Maybe it was just natural for an electrical engineer to fall in love with neurology,” he says. “Still, to this day, learning more about how things work and then applying that knowledge to see what we can do to make something that isn’t working right work better is my passion in life.

“Being involved in Alzheimer’s disease research studies gives me a window into the latest research ideas and gets me personally connected with some of the brightest minds in the field.”

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