The Epilepsy Foundation announced recently that it has elected Brien J. Smith, MD, as chair of its board of directors. Smith is chief of neurology for the Spectrum Health Medical Group.
“Brien is well-respected in the medical community as a top neurologist, and his personal experience with epilepsy has fueled his passion to serve others,” said Rich Denness, president and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation. “Under his leadership, the Foundation will become a stronger voice for people living with epilepsy, many of whom face great obstacles.”
Since its founding in 1968, Smith is the first medical doctor with a history of seizures to serve as the Epilepsy Foundation’s board chair. His primary areas of interest include providing and promoting new therapies and options such as brain surgery and advanced technologies for optimal seizure control. Smith, who has a history of epilepsy related to a brain tumor, is an authority on epilepsy and co-author of the book “Epilepsy Surgery: Case Studies and Commentaries.”
Smith has had a strong advocacy presence on Capitol Hill and before the Administration. He has advocated for more funding to promote a wide range of epilepsy research toward better treatment options, a greater understanding of seizures and a cure for epilepsy.
Additionally, Smith has advocated on the need for greater access to all available treatment, focusing most recently on those who develop epilepsy as a result of traumatic brain injury while in military service. His testimony before Congress helped create the Veterans Administration Epilepsy Centers of Excellence to ensure early recognition and quality treatment and support for veterans with epilepsy.
“I am honored that my colleagues have asked me to serve as chair of the board,” said Smith. “I am excited about this opportunity to continue making the Epilepsy Foundation a prominent presence in communities around the country, where we will provide necessary programs and services to support people affected by epilepsy, increase public understanding of the condition and continue to raise funds toward research for a cure.”
Smith came to Spectrum Health in 2010 from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, where he was both senior staff neurologist and the medical director for the Comprehensive Epilepsy Program. Smith earned his bachelor’s degree at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich., and his medical degree at Wayne State University in Detroit. He completed his fellowship in electroencephalography (EEG)/epilepsy at Indiana University Hospital in Indianapolis.
The Epilepsy Foundation, a national nonprofit with affiliated organizations throughout the United States, has led the fight against epilepsy since 1968. The foundation’s mission is to stop seizures, find a cure and overcome the challenges created by epilepsy. For additional information, please visit www.epilepsyfoundation.org.
The Spectrum Health Medical Group currently employs more than 550 physicians and mid-level providers, including nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
Spectrum Health is a nonprofit health system in West Michigan offering a full continuum of care through the Spectrum Health Hospital Group, which includes nine hospitals and 180 service sites; the Spectrum Health Medical Group and West Michigan Heart, physician groups totaling more than 600 providers; and Priority Health, a health plan with 625,000 members. Spectrum Health is West Michigan’s largest employer with more than 17,700 employees. In 2010, Spectrum Health was named a Top 10 Health System by Thomson Reuters.