Atlanta, GA ― The Foundation of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Centers (FCMSC) announced Allison S. Drake, MS, as the 2009 recipient of the Whitaker Prize for MS Research, awarded in memory of the late Dr. John Whitaker.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 9, 2009 CONTACT: Linda Peckel
CMSC Whitaker Prize Supports Vital MS Clinical Research
Atlanta, GA ― The Foundation of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Centers (FCMSC) announced Allison S. Drake, MS, as the 2009 recipient of the Whitaker Prize for MS Research, awarded in memory of the late Dr. John Whitaker. Dr. Whitaker was Chair of the Neurology Department of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), and an exceptional clinical scientist who first developed the Research Track for the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers’ (CMSC) Annual Meeting in 2001. He passed away later that year and the program was renamed in his honor, with Dr. Michael K. Racke, Professor and Chairman of Neurology at the Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio as Program Chair.
Under the leadership of Dr. Racke, the program has grown stronger each year. Starting in 2004, the Whitaker Research Track expanded to include the work of emerging investigators working in the field of multiple sclerosis. Students, post-doctoral fellows, and young scientists representing a multidisciplinary team approach, are invited to submit abstracts of their work for presentation as part of the Whitaker Track to be judged by a panel headed by Dr. Racke.
Ms. Drake’s project, “Changes in Self-Reported MS Physical Measures Reflect Clinically Meaningful Changes in Ambulation,” was judged the best of a stellar group of submissions. The award was presented to Ms. Drake personally by Dr. Racke and special guest, Elaine Whitaker, PhD, the late Dr. John Whitaker’s wife, at the recent CMSC Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA, May 27-30, 2009. “I am so very honored to be with you all today,” Dr. Whitaker told the audience. “John was always involved in work I didn’t understand. It’s a wonderful experience for me to connect the work he did to the many people it touched and to hear how you are continuing in his name.” Dr. Whitaker is Professor of English and Chair of the Department of English and Rhetoric at Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, GA.
Ms. Drake is currently working at Jacobs Neurological Institute, Buffalo, NY. In addition to a beautiful trophy, she was awarded a $5,000 grant from the Foundation of the CMSC to continue with her research. “We are very excited to be able to encourage innovative MS research by emerging young scientists and clinicians through the Whitaker Prize,” said Dr. James Simsarian, President of the Foundation of the CMSC. “These are the healthcare professionals who will be building the future of MS care, and we are pleased to be able to help them remain engaged and committed to this important MS research.”
Dr. John Whitaker was Chair of the Neurology Department of the UAB from 1985 until his death on August 29, 2001. In the field of MS, Dr. Whitaker published a remarkable 200+ papers in the field of MS and was lead investigator in three of advanced trials of therapeutic agents for MS, including early interferon beta agents in relapsing remitting MS and glatiramer acetate in primary progressive MS. In addition to his considerable scientific and clinical accomplishments, Dr. Whitaker was also a skilled saxophone player who studied jazz in Boston.
For more information on multiple sclerosis, or to offer support for research, go to www.mscare.org . The Consortium of MS Centers is committed to being the preeminent professional organization for Multiple Sclerosis healthcare providers and researchers in North America, and a valued partner in the global MS community. Its core purpose is to maximize the ability of MS healthcare providers to impact care of people who are affected by MS, thus improving their quality of life.
To contribute to “Building the Future of MS Care,” through support of the Foundation of the CMSC, visit their website at: http://www.cmscfoundation.org/. The Foundation of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (FCMSC) is a recognized 501 (c)(3) charitable organization.