CMSC News: John F. Kurtzke, MD, REMEMBERED
Thursday, December 3, 2015
Posted by: Rachelle Ramirez
It is with profound sadness that the Administration and the Board of Governors of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers report the passing of a giant in the world of multiple sclerosis, JOHN F. KURTZKE.
Dr. Kurtzke was a pioneering neuroepidemiologist and Professor of Neurology at Georgetown University who is best known for his creation of the Expanded Disability Status Scale and for his research on multiple sclerosis (MS). After graduating from Cornell University Medical College in 1952, Dr. Kurtzke started his career in the field of neurology as Chief of the Neurology Service at the Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Medical Centers in Coatesville, PA, from 1956 to 1963, and then in Washington, DC, from 1963 to 1995, where he became Professor of Neurology at Georgetown University, where he was Professor Emeritus.
Most of his work deals with multiple sclerosis (MS). In particular, Dr Kurtzke is widely known for his Expanded Disability Status Scale or EDSS, a method of quantifying disability in multiple sclerosis, and for his pioneering work in the field of neuroepidemiology, a branch of epidemiology he helped to establish in 1967 with Dr. Len Kurland and Dr. Milton Alter.
The author of more than 200 peer-reviewed articles, he has received several awards including the 1999 Charcot Award by the MSIF, the 1997 Dystel prize for MS research awarded by the American Academy of Neurology, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers in 2003.
In 2009, the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) and the American Academy of Neurology Foundation (AANF) created the John F. Kurtzke, MD, FAAN, Clinician-Scientist Development Three-Year Award, a jointly-sponsored fellowship in multiple sclerosis research, "to honor the contributions of Dr. Kurtzke and inspire new MS healthcare professionals to follow in his path.” CMSC has named the opening lecture at each annual meeting in his memory.
Dr. Kurtzke will be missed.