Michael S. Okun, MD, Adelaide Lackner Professor and Chair of Neurology, and Co-director of the Fixel Center for Neurological Diseases at the University of Florida Health College of Medicine, was honored with the 2018 Presidential Award at the ASENT 20th Annual Meeting, in Rockville, MD, on Saturday, March 10, 2018.
Hailed as ASENT’s highest honor to an individual, the 2018 ASENT Presidential Award recognizes extraordinary accomplishments in the field of clinical translational research. According to ASENT President Martha Morrell, MD, Chief Medical Officer of NeuroPace, Inc. and Clinical Professor of Neurology at Stanford University,
“There is no individual more deserving of this award than Dr. Okun.” Michael S. Okun received his M.D. with honors from the University of Florida. He was fellowship trained by Mahlon DeLong, Jerrold Vitek and Ray Watts at Emory University in Atlanta GA before moving to found the movement disorders program at the University of Florida. He is currently Chair of Neurology, Professor and Co-director of the Movement Disorders Program at the Norman Fixel Center for Neurological Diseases at UF Health College of Medicine. The UF center he co-founded with Kelly D. Foote, M.D. is unique in that it is comprised of over 50 interdisciplinary faculty members from diverse areas of campus, all of whom are dedicated to care, outreach, education and research. Dr. Okun was instrumental in the construction of a one-stop patient-centered clinical-research experience for national and international patients seeking care at the University of Florida. This change in care and research delivery has since been named the service and science hub model of care. The UF based center draws national and international visitors interested in deploying this innovative clinical-research model. Dr. Okun has served as the National Medical Director for the Parkinson’s Foundation since 2006 and as the Medical Advisor for Tyler’s Hope for a Dystonia Cure. He has been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Smallwood Foundation, the Tourette Association of America, the Parkinson Alliance, the Bachmann-Strauss Foundation, the Parkinson’s Foundation, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Dr. Okun has an active research career exploring non-motor basal ganglia brain features and currently holds two NIH R01 grants and several foundation grants exploring various aspects of deep brain stimulation and neuromodulation.
Dr. Okun has been an integral part of some of the pioneering studies exploring the cognitive, behavioral, and mood effects of brain stimulation and since 2005 his laboratory has been working to uncover the electrical brain signals associated with human tic. He has also partnered with Dr. Ayse Gunduz and Kelly Foote to develop a first generation of closed loop adaptive deep brain stimulation approaches. Dr. Okun was the founding PI for the International Database and Public Registry for Tourette Deep Brain Stimulation. He and his group have contributed data to support the FDA approval of several device related approaches now used to treat human disease. Dr. Okun holds the Adelaide Lackner Professorship in Neurology and has published over 400 peer-reviewed articles. He is a poet (Lessons From the Bedside, 1995) and his book, Parkinson’s Treatment: 10 Secrets to a Happier Life, was translated into over 20 languages. Dr. Okun was recognized in a 2015 White House ceremony by the Obama administration as a Champion of Change for Parkinson’s Disease.
A formal presentation of the award took place at the ASENT 20th Annual Meeting just prior to Dr. Okun’s symposium on Saturday, March 10, 2018, at the Hilton Washington DC/Rockville Hotel and Executive Center in Rockville,