Leadership Biographies

Timothy A. Pedley, MD, FAAN

President, American Academy of Neurology TIMOTHY A. PEDLEY, MD, FAAN

Timothy A. Pedley, MD, FAAN, is the 33rd President of the American Academy of Neurology. He is also the Henry and Lucy Moses Professor of Neurology at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons and an attending neurologist at the Neurological Institute of New York, part of New York Presbyterian Hospital at the Columbia University Medical Center. He previously served as Chair of Columbia's Department of Neurology and as Neurologist-in-Chief at the Medical Center from 1998-2011.

Pedley received his BA degree from Pomona College and his MD degree cum laude from Yale University where he was elected to AOA. He trained in neuro­logy at Stanford University and obtained additional experience in child neurology at the University of Colorado, after which he was a postdoctoral fellow in cellular neurophysiology with Professor David A. Prince and in clinical EEG, and epilepsy with Dr. Barry R. Tharp, both at Stanford. After completing his training, he was a member of the faculty of the School of Medicine at Stanford University from 1975-1979. During 1978-79, Pedley was a Research Fellow in Experimental Neurology with Professor Brian S. Meldrum at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, and in 1979 he joined the Faculty of Medicine at Columbia Univer­sity.

Throughout his professional career, Pedley's major clinical and research interest has been epilepsy, and he has made both basic laboratory and clinical contributions to the field. Most recently, he collaborated with Drs. Ruth Ottman and W. Allen Hauser in family studies of epilepsy and identification of genes associated with human epilepsy syndromes. In 1989, Pedley established the Neurological Institute's Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, one of the first such centers in New York State to be accredited by the Department of Health. He has edited several standard textbooks on epilepsy, EEG and neurology. He was Editor-in-Chief of Epilepsia , the international professional journal of epilepsy, from 1994 to 2001. In 1995, Pedley was named Ambassador for Epilepsy by the International League Against Epilepsy and the International Bureau for Epilepsy for his international contributions to the field. In 2006, he received the William G. Lennox Award of the American Epilepsy Society for lifetime achievements.

Pedley is a major leader in American neurology. He formerly served as President of the American Neurological Association (2007-2009), the American Clinical Neurophysiology Society (1989-1990), the American Epilepsy Society (1991-1992), and the Epilepsy Foundation of America (1991-1993), where he was later Chairman of the Board (1993-1995). He also served as Chairman of the American Board of Clinical Neurophysiology (1989-1990). He was a member of the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council of the NINDS/NIH from 2007-2011. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and he was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2007.

Catherine M. Rydell, CAE

Executive Director and CEO, American Academy of Neurology, American Brain Foundation


Catherine M. Rydell has been the American Academy of Neurology's Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer since February 1999. Currently based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with offices in Washington, DC, and Rochester, New York, the AAN is a worldwide professional association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. Under Rydell's leadership, membership at the AAN has grown from 16,000 to 28,000 members.

In 2006, Rydell's duties expanded to include Executive Director of the AAN Foundation (rebranded the American Brain Foundation in April 2012), which supports neurological research in prevention, treatment, and cures.

Since joining the AAN, Rydell has focused on strengthening advocacy and coalition-building efforts, increasing staff development, improving communication with members and implementing the strategic plan. Under her leadership, the Academy increased educational offerings, expanded the scientific program for the AAN Annual Meeting, and established a for-profit subsidiary to help support new member services.

Rydell has also helped the AAN shape the future of the specialty through the creation of the United Council of Neurologic Subspecialties (UCNS). The AAN, along with four other parent organizations, incorporated the UCNS in 2003 to provide program accreditation and physician certification in subspecialty fields of neurology.

In 2007, the AAN formed a companion organization—the AAN Professional Association—that would go on to establish a political action committee, BrainPAC. BrainPAC extends the Academy's ability to generate effective positive change for neurologic patients and the profession through partnership with federal legislators.

Rydell is a Certified Association Executive (CAE), the highest professional credential in the association industry. Less than five percent of all association professionals have earned a CAE designation.

Rydell serves on the Board of Directors of the Child Neurology Foundation, and the University of North Dakota Foundation and Alumni Association. She also serves as an ex-officio member of the Neurology Residency Review Committee (RRC) and the United Council of Neurological Subspecialties (UCNS). Prior to joining the AAN, Rydell served as Executive Director of the North Dakota Medical Association. From 1984 through 1996, Rydell served as a state representative in the North Dakota State Legislature where she chaired the House Human Services Committee and the House Education Committee. She also sponsored key health legislation, including the North Dakota Clean Indoor Air Act.


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