Leadership Biographies

Terrence L. Cascino, MD, FAAN

President, American Academy of Neurology


Terrence L. Cascino, MD, FAAN, has been a staff consultant in neurology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, since 1982 and is a professor of neurology and neuro-oncology. Cascino has served as vice chair of the Department of Neurology and has been a leader in clinical practice at the Mayo Clinic serving as the chair of the Clinical Practice Committee. He has served as the Juanita Kious Waugh Executive Dean for Education, Mayo Clinic, completing his tenure in October 2012. Cascino has chaired several committees in the American Academy of Neurology including the Graduate Medical Education Committee and the Education Committee. He currently serves on the AAN Board of Directors and Executive Committee as President as well as serving on the Meeting Management Committee.

Catherine M. Rydell, CAE

Executive Director and CEO, American Academy of Neurology


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 30,000 members.

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 has also led the rebranding of the AAN’s foundation to what is now the American Brain Foundation, which supports neurological research in prevention, treatment, and cures.

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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