Eric Grigsby: Physician, Innovator, Community Servant
How one man brought hope to thousands of pain patients in the North Bay area—and across the nation
Eric Grigsby, nationally-renowned pain care specialist and founder of Napa Pain Institute, has left an impact in his community—and around the world—through his work in pain management.
Grigsby’s interest in health care and community service began even before medical school as an undergraduate student at Brown University. Grigsby volunteered with disabled children at the Boston Children’s Hospital department of orthopedic surgery.
There, he realized the extent of the pain and suffering that patients with chronic illness endured. Chronic pain just wasn’t understood yet and there were too few ways to treat it.
Grigsby committed himself to finding ways to address chronic pain and it turned into a lifelong mission to advocate for better pain care, as a physician, an industry innovator, and a global health philanthropist.
This commitment to advancing the care options available to millions of patients suffering from pain and chronic disease led Grigsby to seek out the best training possible.
First, he trained at world-renowned Mayo Clinic, where he completed his residency and later taught, before moving to the University of California at Davis.
There, he established their pain program and began to formalize what would later become the very first set of safe prescribing guidelines for the California Medical Board.
Along with his commitment to effective pain care, he had an equal and important commitment to the safety of his patients and it his community.
Today, Grigsby is still an active voice in the ongoing conversation around safe prescribing, serving on the Napa County Opioid Coalition, and working with major hospital groups to improve their prescribing practices, ensuring the best, safest care for all.
In the early 1990s, Grigsby established the Napa Pain Institute, which quickly grew into one of the busiest private practices in the nation, with a reputation for advancing interventional, non-opioid therapies, like implanted neuromodulation devices.
Though one of the best pain management clinics in the country — a project that could have kept him busy on its own for the last 25 years — it is but a part of Grigsby’s continuing contribution to the pain management community.
As he established his practice in the early years of the pain management field, Grigsby recognized the pressing need for more research into topics like the safe use of medications, non-operative treatment of spinal disorders, and the promising effects of electrical stimulation of the central nervous system.
To support this critical research, he created Neurovations, an organization committed to advancing the field of pain and neuroscience through clinical research and continuing medical education.
While he treated the patients of “today” at his practice, he drove forward new, better therapies for the patients of “tomorrow” through Neurovations.
While he worked hard to offer his community the best pain care possible, Grigsby also realized there were many communities still not receiving the pain care they needed, and many clinicians around the world without access to the tools and education he and his peers in the United States had.
So, he created HealthRoots, a not-for-profit committed to improving global health through on-the-ground service and innovation alike. HealthRoots, now partners with UC Berkeley, Stanford, and other leaders in science and innovation put on the annual Bay Area Global Health Innovation Challenges, supporting students around the world with innovative solutions to pressing global health needs.
Most recently, Grigsby has expanded his clinical footprint to include clinics on the small island of Kauai, where he opened the first, and only pain clinic on the island; and in the northern California city of Santa Rosa.
Clearly, Grigsby likes to keep his plate full. He attributes his success and continued growth in the field in part to his interdisciplinary background and his deep understanding of both business and clinical medicine.
Grigsby has always had a knack for business and realized early on that if he couldn’t build a sustainable business around his clinics, he couldn’t keep the doors open — and, more to the point, if he couldn’t keep the doors open, patients wouldn’t get the care they needed.
And in his continuing commitment to community service, Grigsby also realized he was offering his community something else valuable as his businesses grew: stable jobs for more than 75 people throughout his various businesses.
Late into his career, he formalized his “on the job” business training at the Duke Fuqua School of Business, where he worked alongside his wife Mary Rocca as they pursued their Executive MBAs together — a milestone they reached in 2012.
Profoundly caring, curious in spirit, and entrepreneurial by nature, Grigsby has worked his whole life to provide the best care for every patient every day. Through years of hard work, determination, and a knack for business, Grigsby has built a well-earned reputation as a leader in global health service, pain management, and community education — where he looks forward to continuing to work for many years to come.