Washington, DC – Roger J. Packer, MD, Senior Vice President of the Center for Neurosciences and Behavioral Medicine at Children’s National Medical Center, was honored today by the Child Neurology Society (CNS) with the Bernard Sachs Award, the society’s highest honor. The award recognizes someone of international status who has conducted leading research in neuroscience with relevance to the care of children with neurological disorders. The award was announced at the 41st Annual Meeting of the Child Neurology Society, held in Huntington Beach, Calif.
In accepting the award, Dr. Packer gave the Bernard Sachs Lecture on his work in pediatric brain tumor care over the last two decades, summarizing the challenges that remain, and looking ahead to new advances in neurodevelopment, neuroscience and molecular targeted therapy that promise to dramatically change approaches to care in the near future. He also highlighted his work leading neuro-oncology investigations, illustrating why neurologists should carry a leadership role on these interdisciplinary teams.
“I applaud my colleague and friend for his remarkable work in brain tumor research and in all the neurosciences,” said Kurt D. Newman, MD, President and CEO at Children’s National. “Roger is a national and international treasure who has played an exceptional role in advancing neurological care for children as a clinician, researcher – and visionary. We are honored to have him on our team at Children’s National and applaud him along with his colleagues who appropriately are recognizing his contributions at their annual gathering.
In addition to his role as Senior Vice President of Neurosciences and Behavioral Medicine at Children’s National, Dr. Packer also directs The Brain Tumor Institute and The Gilbert Family Neurofibromatosis Institute. He leads multiple studies on a national and international level for a variety of childhood brain tumors including medulloblastoma, low grade astrocytoma, and brain stem gliomas. Those trials are conducted within the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium and the Children’s Oncology Group, two national organizations with which he plays a significant leadership role. Dr. Packer also researches the effects of treatment on the neurologic and cognitive outcomes of children being treated for cancer, including brain tumors.
“This is the greatest honor that a child neurologist can receive,” said Dr. Packer. “I am humbled by the award and accept it as recognition of the field of neuro-oncology. The work for which I am recognized would not have been possible without the help of collaborators from around the world and my wonderful colleagues at Children’s National over the past two decades.
Dr. Packer’s other major research interest is neurofibromatosis. He chairs the only national clinical trials consortium for children with neurofibromatosis and leads investigations of diverse disease manifestations, including neurofibromatosis related gliomas, plexiform neurofibromas, and cognitive deficits.
The Bernard Sachs award and lecture was created by the CNS in honor of Dr. Sachs, whose work as a researcher, clinician, and instructor earned him recognition as one of the country’s leading neurologists. He was the author of several reference, text, and popular books; was the publisher of the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease; and served as president of the American Neurological Association in the late 1890s and again in the 1930s. He was an instructor at New York Polyclinic Hospital, a consultant to Mount Sinai Hospital, and Manhattan State Hospital. The condition known as Tay-Sachs is named after him and a colleague who together first described the neurological disorder.
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