Department of Neurology Celebrates Milestones

The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Department of Neurology’s leadership, faculty, and supporters recently celebrated 55 years of excellence during an anniversary celebration at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. Since its founding in 1962, the Department of Neurology has become a national and international powerhouse providing world-class care in the prevention and treatment of neurological disorders.

“On behalf of the University of Miami and the Miller School of Medicine, I congratulate the Department on your outstanding achievements,” said Donna E. Shalala, president emerita of the University of Miami, who welcomed the more than 200 guests on behalf President Julio Frenk, and the entire University community. “Your passion and dedication over the past 55 years has created a multidisciplinary neurology department that is second to none.”

During her 14-year tenure at UM, Shalala played a major role in recruiting the Department’s current chair, Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S., who is now celebrating 10 years in that post.

Sacco, an internationally renowned neurologist and expert in stroke prevention, leads a department that is comprised of 60 clinical and 15 research faculty; cutting-edge research that is ranked No. 17 in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding; the best and most innovative care; and the third largest residency program in the United States.

He was presented with an award in honor of his decade-long leadership and service.

“I would like to thank Donna Shalala for being here,” said Sacco, who is also The Olemberg Family Chair in Neurological Disorders; Chief of Service at Jackson Memorial Hospital; and the Executive Director of the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute. “It was her dedication and commitment that brought me to UM. But I didn’t do it alone. I also have a great team to work with, and I had a great history to build upon.”

Peritz Scheinberg, M.D., whose wife, Chantal d’Adesky Sheinberg, M.D., attended the celebration, founded the Department of Neurology and served as its first chair.

Walter Bradley, M.D, chair emeritus who led the Department from the early 1990s until 2006, was also at the event.

Sacco became the third chair in 2007 and spoke about many of the Department’s major accomplishments during his tenure, including the creation and expansion of programs in stroke care, ALS, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.

He introduced his senior leadership, and asked the faculty members, including many who have been with the department for more than 30 years, to stand and be recognized.

He also acknowledged the passing of friend and UM Professor Emeritus William Sheremeta, M.D., a giant in the field of multiple sclerosis with almost 40 years of service to the Department of Neurology. Sheremata was the principal investigator on a groundbreaking MS drug, OCREVUS, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just hours before he died.

In a surprise announcement in honor of the 55th anniversary celebration, Robert Cornfeld, D.M.D., and wife, Judy, and family members, Susanne and Steven Hurowitz, Jeff and Julie Cornfeld, and Leslee Cornfeld, announced a $2 million gift to establish the Robert and Judy Cornfeld Chair in Movement Disorders.
“We are tremendously appreciative of the Cornfeld’s vision and support,” said Sacco. “Endowed chairs provide the resources to recruit new talent, fund research, reward academic achievement, and enable scholars to pursue new ideas. I am most honored and grateful for your generosity as our Department moves forward into the next 55 years.”

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