On Tuesday, October 4, 2022, David G. Standaert, M.D., Ph.D., was presented with the Parkinson Association of Alabama (PAA) Lifetime Achievement Award for his persistent and committed efforts to Parkinson's Research throughout his career. He was honored at a surprise reception held at the Woodward House in Birmingham, AL as family, friends, colleagues, and others gathered to celebrate his long history of accolades and accomplishments.
David G. Standaert, M.D., Ph.D. completed his undergraduate and graduate education at Harvard Medical Center and Washington University in St. Louis, respectively, and spent the immediate seven years in postdoctoral training as a resident and fellow at University of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts General Hospital. Returning to Harvard Medical School, Standaert served as an assistant and associate professor before finally arriving at UAB in 2006 as the John T. and Juanelle D. Strain Endowed Chair by the Board of Trustees. Standaert swiftly climbed the ladder at UAB, and by 2012 he was appointed John N. Whitaker Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology, with various other appointments and secondary appointments in between. Standaert's focus narrowed to movement disorders and more specifically Parkinson's and Dystonia as his career progressed even further.
UAB President Ray L. Watts, M.D., welcomed guests at Tuesday's event and recalled his recruitment efforts that ultimately brought Dr. Standaert to UAB nearly sixteen years ago. Standaert was known as a highly decorated clinician and researcher early in his career, however, Watts, also a neuroscientist, noted that his insights were set specifically on Standaert for his work in Parkinson's. He knew that Standaert had what it took to create a vast and robust program at UAB and he knew that he had the leadership skills to effectively execute what he set out to achieve.
Since arriving at UAB and becoming chair, Standaert has grown and fostered a department of over 90 faculty members and 500 staff members. He has created a full-bodied research force that consistently pushes the field forward in discovery and clinical implementation. He has increased UAB's national ranking in Neurology from 31 to 21, and oversees the Department of Neurology, currently ranked third at the institutional level. Standaert has seen neurology NIH funding totals reach $100,792,308, the total gifts and pledges to Neurology designations climb to $49,524,299, and total gifts and pledges from Parkinson Association of Alabama to Neurology peak at $2,288,272. Standaert was also a catalyst in UAB being named one of eight Udall Centers of Excellence in Parkinson's disease in the nation, and this barely scratches the surface.
The PAA"s emeritus director, Ken Cater spoke on Standaert. "Tonight, we are surrounded by greatness, and spectacular things are happening in Parkinson's research at UAB, thanks to my friend David who is not only a great scientist himself but has assembled a team of great scientists dedicated to eradicating Parkinson's disease. Tonight, we honor a man that makes a difference in those of us living with Parkinson's. He give us hope. He shares his compassion. He is the hardest working, most intelligent man I've ever met -- and that is matched with integrity."
The Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Parkinson's disease research was presented to Dr. Standaert for his contributions to neuroscience and Parkinson's disease, but also for his character and ability to blaze a trail wherever he goes. Thank you, Dr. Standaert for all you have done and will do to continue the efforts to eradicate Parkinson's disease and provide our patients with improved quality of life through your clinical achievements and leadership.
ABOUT UAB DIVISION OF MOVEMENT DISORDERS
The University of Alabama at Birmingham's Movement Disorders Division consists of nine movement disorder neurologists who specialize in the full range of neurological disorders that affect movement. The clinic averages seeing more than 3,500 patients annually at the Comprehensive Parkinson Disease and Movement Disorder Clinic located at The Kirklin Clinic at UAB. The team offers comprehensive diagnostic services and utilizes a full range of treatment approaches, including medications, physical, occupational, and speech therapy, deep brain stimulation surgery, neuropsychological evaluations and treatment, and clinical trials testing new medical and surgical therapies. Learn more at https://www.uab.edu/medicine/neurology/patient-care/clinical-programs/movement.
ABOUT PARKINSON ASSOCIATION OF ALABAMA
Since its founding in 1978, the Parkinson Association of Alabama (PAA) has been dedicated to one mission: improving the quality of life for patients, care partners, and families affected by Parkinson's disease in the state of Alabama. We believe in access to quality care for all Alabamians, providing awareness to make the best-informed decisions with the latest advancements for patient advocacy. We believe comprehensive wellness is the key to living well with Parkinson's disease. We believe community connectedness through support and camaraderie equips those impacted by Parkinson's and their families with a network of resources and encouragement to ensure no one travels this journey alone. We believe in supporting Alabama's quality research to find a cure for Parkinson's disease. The PAA partners with UAB through grants and research for a cure. Join us at www.parkinsonalabama.com.