Institute of Medicine invites UT Southwestern neurology professor to serve on epilepsy committee

By Julie Kirchem, Neurology Information Services

DALLAS - Dec. 29, 2010 - The prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in Washington, D.C. has invited Dr. Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, Professor of Neurology, to serve on a committee examining the public health dimensions of the epilepsies.

The IOM is an independent, nonprofit organization that provides unbiased and authoritative advice to government and the private sector about health issues.

Dr. Ramon Diaz-Arrastia
Dr. Ramon Diaz-Arrastia
Neurology Professor

“It's a great thrill, I'll have a seat at the table where decisions and recommendations will be made that will hopefully have an impact on national policy, on Congress and, certainly, on federal agencies,” Dr. Diaz-Arrastia said.

The IOM invited renowned physicians from around the nation to serve on the epilepsies' committee which will provide recommendations in the areas of health care and human services, health literacy, and education. Epilepsy affects at least one in 100 adults and one in 20 children.

“My day job as a clinician is taking care of patients with epilepsy. These folks have very hard lives because of their disease and also because of how little society understands the disease,” Dr. Diaz-Arrastia said.

The committee will help to answer questions such as “how can the education and training of professionals who work with people with epilepsy be improved?”.

“Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration--there’s a huge need for these agencies to understand more about epilepsy and to make adjustments in the way they do business and, frankly, there’s a real need in society to do this as well,” said Dr. Diaz-Arrastia.

The committee will meet January 10-11.