A natural curiosity and a passion for continued education set the foundation for all aspects of Dr. Tom Starbard’s career. Whether empowering patients to pursue activities and behaviors to treat ailments, or learning a new practice himself, the flexibility, enthusiasm and strong multidisciplinary support system of The Portland Clinic make his work in musculoskeletal medicine interesting and fun.
Dr. Starbard started his career in healthcare as a chiropractor. With an ambition to broaden his practice scope, he made the decision to pursue a degree in medicine. After graduating from medical school, Dr. Starbard completed a residency in internal medicine while contemplating a career as a Gastroenterologist. However, musculoskeletal medicine seemed like a more exciting concentration.
Dr. Starbard’s tenure at The Portland Clinic started after his residency, when a colleague and friend who worked at the clinic took maternity leave. Dr. Starbard treated her patients and quickly realized it was a wonderful place to practice. He was brought on full time and is still happy in his position 18 years later.
“As a patient of the clinic myself, I find the staff and providers are excellent throughout all of our practices,” says Dr. Starbard. “As a physician working at TPC, I like working in a multidisciplinary clinic, and having the ability to recommend patients to another specialist. Whether it’s neurology or orthopedics, I know The Portland Clinic has a provider that patients will appreciate seeing, especially at the same clinic. Of course, coordinating care is very easy too.”
Keeping patients informed is one of the most important aspects of healthcare, according to Dr. Starbard. “My practice is focused on patient education, working tirelessly to pursue multiple options that can help ease their pain. During a first visit with a patient presenting a new condition, I almost always recommend exercises and select self-treatment strategies. It’s always rewarding to hear a patient say they feel immediate reduction in pain after a treatment, and to completely resolve a painful condition for someone.”
When Dr. Starbard is not tending to patients, he takes time to appreciate the lush greenery and easy-to-access hiking trails around Portland. He also has a knack for woodworking and DIY projects around the house. If he’s not getting his hiking boots or hands dirty, Dr. Starbard cooks, studies history and enjoys all eras of cinema, from early 20th-century silent films, through early “talkies,” up to current releases.