EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE UNTIL 12 PM ET, February 21, 2012
NEW ORLEANS – The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and the American Academy of Neurology Foundation (AAN Foundation) have announced that Rich Clifford, former NASA astronaut, is the recipient of the 2012 Public Leadership in Neurology Award. He is being recognized for his strong leadership and commitment to raising awareness about Parkinson’s disease after being diagnosed with the disease himself. Clifford, a veteran of three space shuttle missions with 665 hours in orbit as a Mission Specialist, will be honored at the AAN and AAN Foundation Annual Meeting Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, April 25, 2012, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. The Public Leadership in Neurology Award honors an individual or group outside of the medical profession. Honorees are known for advancing public understanding and awareness of neurologic disease, being effective advocates for neuroscience research, and making significant contributions to improve patient care. During his missions with NASA, Clifford served as flight engineer and logged a six-hour spacewalk on a Space Shuttle Atlantis docking at the Russian MIR Space Station. Clifford was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1994 and considers raising public awareness an extension of his treatment. “I am honored to have been chosen by the Academy to receive the 2012 Public Leadership in Neurology Award,” said Clifford. “My message to people with Parkinson’s is simply ‘Living with Parkinson’s is living. Changes in lifestyle will progress, but you are the director of your life. Live it to the fullest.’” Clifford is the recipient of many distinguished awards for his achievements in space flight and engineering. He lives in Houston with his wife, Nancy. They have two sons. Clifford will be featured on the cover of the April/May issue of Neurology Now®. For more information about Parkinson’s disease, visit http://patients.aan.com/patients.
The American Academy of Neurology is the world's largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals, with 34,000 members. The AAN is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer's disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, concussion, Parkinson's disease and epilepsy.