Bedlack receives AANEM Public Recognition Award

By AANEM news

The American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM) has given its 2022 Public Recognition Award to Richard Bedlack, MD, PhD. This award honors public figures, celebrities, or entities that have made extraordinary contributions toward increasing public awareness of muscle and nerve disorders.
Bedlack is a professor of neurology at Duke and director of the Duke ALS Clinic. He has won awards for teaching and patient care, including Best Neurology Teacher at Duke, Health Care Hero, the Strength Hope and Caring Award, America’s Best Doctor, the AAN Patient Advocate of the Year, and the Rasmussen ALS Patient Advocate of the Year. He has also received numerous ALS research grants, participated in ALS clinical trials, and published more than 100 articles on ALS.
Bedlack says he was born to be a neurologist. “One of my first memories is rolling my little brother down a hill in our back yard and marveling at the dizziness he experienced. I remember experiencing it for myself and wondering why. Out in malls or mini-golf courses, I was drawn to people with dysarthria, tremors, and shuffling gaits.”
“Back then, we had no Internet of course, so I would ask my mom to explain these things. She had me write them down and every Saturday she would drop me at the library so I could try to figure them out. All through school, I gravitated toward classes that would help me understand the connections between the way people looked or acted and their nervous systems.”
By the end of college, Bedlack was certain he wanted a career in neuroscience. He earned his medical degree and doctor of philosophy in neuroscience from the University of Connecticut; and completed a neurology residency, NM fellowship, and master’s degree in clinical research science at Duke University.
Bedlack encountered ALS for the first time during residency and thought it was the most amazing and terrible condition he’d ever come across. “I was especially sad when my attending came in and said, ‘This is what we call it. We don’t know why it happens and we can’t do anything for it.’ I decided that day to focus on this disease and I haven’t regretted it for a minute.” Bedlack has devoted his career to building unique programs that give people with ALS more options and more hope.
He has grown the Duke ALS Clinic into one of the largest, most comprehensive, and most unique of its kind in the world. “I am so proud of the large multi-disciplinary team and the patient-centric research program I built for people with ALS at Duke. Patients who come to us can now get many options for living their lives with ALS, and they can get hope,” he said. “I get up every day excited about what I am working on, how I am doing it, and who I am doing it with.”

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