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Top Doctors in Nashville: Robert Fallis, MD

Dr. Robert Fallis is the head of the Comprehensive Multiple Sclerosis Care Center at St. Thomas Hospital.

Written By:  Melissa Carro

Photographers:  

As seen in Top Doctors in Nashville, July 2013

For some people, a piano lesson can be tedious. For Robert Fallis, MD, it’s both something he can share with his teenage daughter and an hour where someone else tells him what to do for a change. As head of the Comprehensive Multiple Sclerosis Care Center at St. Thomas Hospital, Dr. Fallis undoubtedly has limited free time. There are currently more than 800 MS patients from all over the south in the Center.

Dr. Fallis started the St. Thomas Center, which is affiliated with the National MS Society and his interest in multiple sclerosis stems from an interest in immunology that he developed during his residency. He did a fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the 1980s, the hospital’s multiple sclerosis program was one of the earliest ones in the country at the time. According to Dr. Fallis, the treatment of patients with MS still requires the “art” of medicine.

“With many diseases there is a definitive test, but there’s not for MS,” he explains. “For this reason, caring for MS patients still requires the detective work that goes with being a physician. We have to assess our patients, listen carefully to their symptoms and piece things together to solve the puzzle of their disease.”

Fallis says he is inspired by his patients who are so well-informed and pro-active about helping themselves. Still, he is concerned over the rising costs of MS drugs, and he sees the health care “donut hole” firsthand. “The cost of medicines and diagnostic procedures continue to go up. Many patients are unable to afford the MS medicines because they’re so expensive,” says Fallis. “There is a huge need for a solution so that patients can get the drugs they need to feel better.”

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