David Labiner, MD, professor and head of the Department of Neurology and professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, received the 2021 Distinguished Service Award from the American Epilepsy Society (AES).
“It was an honor to be nominated by my peers for this recognition,” said Dr. Labiner, who also is a professor of pharmacy practice and science at the UArizona R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy.
Founded in 1936, the AES is a community of medical and scientific professionals engaged in the understanding, diagnosis, study, prevention, treatment and cure of epilepsy. The society is dedicated to supporting evidence-based clinical practice to improve outcomes for persons with epilepsy and their families. The AES Distinguished Service Award was established in 1993 and recognizes outstanding service by an individual in the field of epilepsy, including non-educational and non-scientific, with an emphasis on exemplary contributions to advancing the society’s mission and service to its members.
“I was privileged to chair several AES committees — particularly the Council on Education that oversaw all the educational activities of the society — and ultimately was asked to serve on the board of directors,” said Dr. Labiner. “To be recognized with this award was a great surprise and honor. It is an overt thank you from the Society for my years of service.”
Dr. Labiner’s research has been funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for over 15 years. His current research is a collaboration with colleagues from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston to help patients with epilepsy better self-manage their condition through the use of an app. “We developed the tool in English and Spanish to have the widest possible reach in our area. We have tested it here in Southern Arizona and in Southern Texas,” said Dr. Labiner.
Dr. Labiner joined the University of Arizona Health Sciences in 1991. “This has been a wonderful place to work with terrific collaborations with both clinical departments as well as basic science departments,” reflected Dr. Labiner. “My interactions with medical students, residents and fellows are really the thing that makes being a faculty member special.”
Dr. Labiner is a former president of the National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC), as well as a former member of the boards of directors of the Epilepsy Foundation of America, and the Epilepsy Foundation of Arizona. He also served on the board of directors of University Medical Center –Tucson and the board of the University of Arizona Health Network. While president of the NAEC, Dr. Labiner led the effort to develop an accreditation system for epilepsy centers in the United States.
“The overarching theme of my research and of my clinical practice has been to help improve the quality of life of individuals with epilepsy and by extension, their family’s quality of life,” said Dr. Labiner.