1926 – 2015
Submitted By: Edward Bertram, MD
It is with a great sense of sadness and loss that we learned of the passing of Jean Aicardi, who died the morning of August 3, 2015. Jean was born in 1926 in Rambouillet, France. He earned his MD from the Faculté de Médecine in Paris in 1955 and had his early professional training at the Hôpital des Enfants Malades, also in Paris. It is how he lived those many years that made him an extraordinary figure in epilepsy and child neurology. As he noted, his entry into this field was not planned, rather it came about through almost chance encounters in his early training in Paris with mentors and colleagues who were interested in neurology and children. There was no defined training program, but as with many highly successful people, he found a path forward through many obstacles, including the lack of formal support for physicians who wished to enter the field of child neurology.
Although his many successes were the result of his genius and hard work, he gave much credit to his friends, partners and colleagues in France, in Europe and on the other side of the Atlantic for what he learned and what he created. He was a Director of Research for INSERM until his mandatory retirement at age 65, but official retirement did not stop his life's mission to help children with neurological problems. He continued his work at Miami Children's Hospital and at the Institute of Child Health in London well into his 70's. He was an author on over 400 articles and was the founder of Epileptic Disorders, which has become the ILAE educational journal. He mentored many who are now national and international leaders in child neurology as well as in epilepsy. His legacy is as much in his successes as it is in the success of those whom he taught and inspired.