Innovator to Lead Dell Medical School Neurology Department

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Dr. David Paydarfar, a leading innovator with a unique background in physics and neurology, will be the inaugural Chair of Neurology at the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin.

Paydarfar currently serves as Professor and Executive Vice Chair of Neurology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and as an Associate Faculty Member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. He will transition to the Dell Medical School during the coming months and will start full time at UT Austin in September.

As the sixth department Chair for the new medical school, Paydarfar said he is committed to solving critical challenges facing neurology today: improving access to neurological care — especially for patients with disabilities, the elderly, and those needing emergency services — and developing new ways for doctors to anticipate and manage disease. The key, he said, will be to develop an ambitious program to design, build and test innovative and transformative technologies.

“We need to bring care to people in their own communities and find new ways to help doctors diagnose problems and help patients make the best care decisions,” Paydarfar said. “Earlier interventions help people stay healthy and improve the way the health system works. The Dell Medical School offers the promise of a truly ground-breaking system for patient care, research and teaching, and it’s in a unique position to take on these challenges.”

Dr. Clay Johnston, the medical school’s inaugural Dean who himself is a neurologist, said Paydarfar will seek out creative solutions to systemic health challenges.

“Besides being a master clinical neurologist, David is like so many of the fantastic leaders who’ve been drawn to the Dell Medical School and our unique opportunity to transform health care,” Johnston said. “He is one of those people who finds creative solutions to systemic health challenges, and his work will be great not just for this community, but also for other communities across the country.”

Neurology is a field of growing importance, especially in Texas. Last month, UT System Chancellor William McRaven unveiled a five-year plan for system institutions that called for, as one of his priorities, “an unprecedented investment” in brain health.

Leaders from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society praised the appointment, saying Paydarfar will be a strong partner in attracting and training investigators and doctors who can help create a world free of neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

“We are excited to welcome Dr. David Paydarfar and look forward to working with him to develop the next generation of MS fellows and specialists. The Society wants to change the world for everyone affected by multiple sclerosis, and we need talented experts from the medical community to do that,” said Mark Neagli, Regional Executive Vice President of the National MS Society, South Central. “His arrival is one more reason to be excited about the Dell Medical School and the hope it brings to the MS community.”

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