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Nemours Childrens Hospital Chief of Neurology to Receive 2018 Sidney Carter Award in Child Neurology

Monday, Apr 23, 2018

Richard S. Finkel, M.D., honored for achievements treating children with neuromuscular disorders


Richard S. Finkel, Chief of Neurology

Richard S. Finkel, M.D., the chief of neurology at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Fla., was honored with the American Academy of Neurology’s 2018 Sidney Carter Award in Child Neurology, in recognition of his and the Nemours Children’s Hospital Division of Neurology’s achievements in treating children with muscular dystrophy (MD) and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

Dr. Finkel joined the Nemours Children’s Hospital Division of Pediatric Neurology in April 2012. Since then, he has led a division of pediatric professionals that includes neurologists, physical therapists and other experts who provide care for infants and children with conditions that affect the brain, spine and nervous system. Children and infants with neuromuscular disorders are treated at the Nemours Children’s Hospital Muscular Dystrophy Clinic, Central Florida’s only Muscular Dystrophy Association-certified clinic.

"I’m honored to be receiving this prestigious recognition," said Dr. Finkel. "It’s both rewarding and humbling to work so closely with my families. My inspiration comes from the patients I get to see develop and flourish through the years."

The Nemours Division of Pediatric Neurology participates in a wide range of clinical trials and other studies to improve care for children and families worldwide who are affected by muscular dystrophy and other neuromuscular disorders. At the end of 2017 and in early 2018, Dr. Finkel published studies in the New England Journal of Medicine on the new drug, nusinersen. This drug helps infants and children with SMA to live longer and gain motor function.

"Babies with this debilitating and deadly disease were destined to have a short lifespan and limited motor function," said Finkel. "This study shows nusinersen is life-altering for families touched by this genetic disorder."

Prior to the nusinersen trials, spearheaded by Dr. Finkel, there were no targeted drug treatments for SMA. In December 2016, after reviewing an analysis of interim data from the study, the FDA approved nusinersen. It is now available under the brand name Spinraza, for use in patients of all ages and with all types of SMA. The new therapy demonstrates the life-saving possibilities of "precision medicine" for patients with devastating chronic diseases.

Dr. Finkel will attend the 2018 American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting, which takes place in Los Angeles April 21-27, to receive his award.

About Nemours

Nemours is an internationally recognized children's health system that owns and operates the two free-standing children’s hospitals: the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del., and Nemours Children's Hospital in Orlando, Fla., along with outpatient facilities in five states, delivering pediatric primary, specialty and urgent care. Nemours also powers the world’s most-visited website for information on the health of children and teens, KidsHealth.org, and offers on-demand, online video patient visits through Nemours CareConnect. Nemours ReadingBrightstart.org is a program dedicated to preventing reading failure in young children, grounded in Nemours’ understanding that child health and learning are inextricably linked, and that reading level is a strong predictor of adult health.

Established as The Nemours Foundation through the legacy and philanthropy of Alfred I. duPont, Nemours provides pediatric clinical care, research, education, advocacy and prevention programs to families in the communities it serves.