Susan S. Spencer, M.D. Clinical Research and Training Fellowship
The Clinical Research and Training Fellowship in Epilepsy was established in honor of Susan S. Spencer, MD, who was Professor of Neurology and Medical Director of the Epilepsy Program at the Yale University School of Medicine and Yale New Haven Hospital. Following her untimely death in the Spring of 2009, the fellowship was created with shared resources from the American Epilepsy Society (AES), the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), and the Epilepsy Foundation (EF).
Dr. Spencer was devoted to her patients and to advancing clinical research in the most difficult to manage forms of epilepsy. She wrote extensively almost all aspects of epilepsy, but in particular was one of the leading figures in the electrophysiology of intracranial EEG monitoring and correlative studies of EEG and epilepsy pathophysiology. She was perhaps the first to suggest a network hypothesis for the localization-related epilepsies. Her multicenter outcomes study of epilepsy surgery has defined the patient population who will most benefit from this approach and provides the data necessary for the next generation of researchers to better control seizures and understand the pathogenesis of human epilepsy.
She was not only an investigator and tireless writer but was a talented editor, remaining on the editorial staff of Neurology for many years and then co-founding Epilepsy Currents in 1999, which has become the official AES journal. She was president of the AES in 2000 and received the society’s Clinical Research Award in 2004. Most importantly, Dr. Spencer was a dedicated teacher. She helped to train over 50 young neurologists in clinical care and research, sharing authorship of innumerable innovative papers with every fellow in the Yale Program, and she organized the epilepsy clinical research training course for the AAN, which has continued to thrive. Dr. Spencer felt strongly that clinical research was the engine that drives our field’s advancement, and she advocated for more recognition, support, and formal training in clinical neuroscience. For this reason, the Susan S. Spencer Clinical Research Fellowship is unique in providing research money and protected time for formal education in biostatistics and study design. Contributions to the endowed fund will assure that dedicated physicians and scientists like Dr. Spencer will have the opportunity to advance prevention and cure of this destructive disorder.
2011 AANF/AES/Epilepsy Foundation of America Susan S. Spencer Clinical Research Training Fellowship
The first Susan S. Spencer, M.D. Clinical and Research Training Fellowship has been awarded to Piero Perucca, M.D. of the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec.
The aim of Dr. Perucca’s research project based on his paper. High-Frequency Oscillations During Seizures: Towards an Improved Identification of the Epileptogenic Zone is to investigate special forms of electrical activity in the brain of patients with epilepsy. This research could lead to better definition of brain areas generating epileptic seizures and, ultimately, improve the treatment of epilepsy
Dr. Perucca stated that “It is a great honor for me to be awarded the inaugural Susan S. Spencer Fellowship, and I am most grateful to the American Academy of Neurology Foundation, the American Epilepsy Society and the Epilepsy Foundation for supporting my research project and giving me the opportunity to pursue my goal of an academic career in clinical research.
I am also humbled to be the recipient of an award named after Dr. Susan Spencer, who I truly admired for her continuous efforts to provide patients with the best possible care, as well as her dedication to develop young physicians and researchers.
I will work my hardest to live up to the high standards set by her pioneering work in clinical research and her commitment to improve clinical care.”