New Multiple Sclerosis Fellowship Created in the Name of Pioneer Neuroepidemiologist, John F. Kurtzke, MD, FAAN
Hackensack, NJ – The Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) and the American Academy of Neurology Foundation (AANF) have announced the creation of the John F. Kurtzke, MD, FAAN, Clinician-Scientist Development Three-Year Award, a jointly-sponsored fellowship in multiple sclerosis (MS) research.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 24, 2009 CONTACT: Linda Peckel
New Multiple Sclerosis Fellowship Created in the Name of Pioneer Neuroepidemiologist, John F. Kurtzke, MD, FAAN.
Hackensack, NJ – The Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) and the American Academy of Neurology Foundation (AANF) have announced the creation of the John F. Kurtzke, MD, FAAN, Clinician-Scientist Development Three-Year Award, a jointly-sponsored fellowship in multiple sclerosis (MS) research. The award was conceived by CMSC leadership to honor the contributions of Dr. Kurtzke and inspire new MS healthcare professionals to follow in his path. “Dr. Kurtzke has shown a lifelong dedication to MS research,” said June Halper, Executive Director of the CMSC, “which was virtually nonexistent until he developed his scoring model, the Kurtzke Scale in Multiple Sclerosis.” He later elaborated this scale into Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), one of the most commonly-used clinical tools for measuring MS progression.
The fellowship is supported in part by grants from Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, EMD Serono, Inc., and Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc., to the Foundation of the CMSC, whose sole mission is to support the mission of the CMSC. The proposed recipients will be emerging clinician-scientists working on a project that meets the high standards of the CMSC and the AANF. A committee representing the CMSC and the AANF will be judging the applications and selecting the annual awardee, the winner which will be announced in spring, 2010 and publicized at both the American Academy of Neurology and CMSC Annual Meetings.
Dr. Kurtzke has had a long and distinguished career in the field of neurology and neuroepidemiology, as Chief of the Neurology Service at the Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Medical Centers in Coatesville, PA, from 1956 to 1963, and Washington, DC, from 1963 to 1995 where he still serves as a consultant. A Navy veteran of World War II, he attained the rank of Rear Admiral in the Medical Corps of the U.S. Naval Reserve. Additionally, he became Professor of Neurology at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where he had been a faculty member since 1963 and is currently Professor Emeritus. Since 1992, he has also served as Distinguished Professor of Neurology at the F. Edward Herbert School of Medicine of the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD.
Dr. Kurtzke became involved in MS research very early in his career. “I wrote my first paper on this disease, entitled “Acute Respiratory Failure in MS,” while still a medical student at Cornell,” Dr. Kurtzke explains. He graduated from Cornell University Medical College in 1952 and received Board certification in Neurology in 1958 after residency training at the VA Hospital in the Bronx, New York. “Early on, there really wasn’t much known about MS epidemiology. It wasn’t a very popular field. I wanted to find out what this disease was all about, and epidemiology seemed to me to be an important and wide open area to explore,” Dr. Kurtzke said.
There are now far more than 300 prevalence studies of the geographic distribution of MS, indicating a worldwide pattern that shows areas of high, medium and low frequency, according to Dr. Kurtzke. “One thing is also becoming quite clear, and that is that MS is a spreading disease. It is becoming geographically more widespread within countries and throughout the world, and why that is happening seems to me to be a major question to answer,” he commented.
“We are so proud to encourage the next generation to continue the important work Dr. Kurtzke established over his lifetime,” said Ms. Halper. “This award paves the way for continued studies that will ultimately help us discover possible causes and cures for MS.”
The John F. Kurtzke , MD, FAAN, Clinician-Scientist Development Three-Year Award is open to clinicians and scientists working on research into the field of MS. Applications are being accepted by the American Academy of Neurology Foundation until October 1, 2009, for the 2010 award via their website at: http://www.aan.com/go/foundation/research/development.
For more information on the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) go to www.mscare.org . The Consortium of MS Centers is 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: www.CMSCFoundation.org. The Foundation of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (FCMSC) is a recognized 501 (c)(3) charitable organization.