A Research-Driven Approach to MS Care
When Greg Moore walked into his government class on the campus of The University of Texas in 1969, he had no idea how the course would shape his future. But he wasn’t destined for a career as a politician or historian. He was about to meet his soulmate and future wife of 50 years, Kathleen. Kathy, a native New Yorker and the oldest of six children, had an independent spirit that immediately drew Greg to her.
After their fateful meeting, the two Longhorns would go on to build successful careers and a family together, eventually landing in Irvine, California, in 1986. Kathy worked for the Irvine Unified School District managing a grant program that connected developmentally disabled students to job opportunities, while Greg worked for the accounting firm Arthur Young (now Ernst & Young) and then later as an executive for PepsiCo and Yum!. He credits his accounting degree from UT’s McCombs School of Business as a major factor in his success. “When I applied for accounting jobs in New York City, people just gravitated toward me,” he says. In addition to their thriving careers, Greg and Kathy raised two children together and would go on to become grandparents to five grandchildren. “Kathy and I were always huge fans of The University of Texas,” says Greg. “We realized that our life and our children happened because of the university.”
In 1983, when she was just 33 years old, Kathy began noticing symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS). MS is a neurodegenerative disease of the brain and spinal cord that can result in debilitating pain, disability, and even death — and there’s currently no cure. Despite this diagnosis, Kathy lived an extraordinarily full life. She traveled, worked, and raised her family for the following 20 years, until the disease reached the secondary progressive stage. In 2019, Kathy died from complications due to MS.
During Kathy’s lifetime, Greg and Kathy established the Kathleen C. Moore Foundation, a family foundation dedicated to funding research and resources to fight, cure, and eliminate MS. In addition to supporting clinical research, the foundation also provides scholarships to people with MS or those with a parent battling MS. “If you don’t have financial resources when you have a disease like this, it’s tough,” says Greg, referencing the prohibitive cost of MS medications and the in-home care that Kathy required as her disease progressed.
In 2019, Greg moved back to Austin. Once here, he quickly became reconnected with his alma mater and learned about the work of Dr. Léorah Freeman at Dell Medical School. Freeman is a Dell Med physician-scientist on the forefront of improving care for people and families affected by MS. She is an assistant professor and the director of the Multiple Sclerosis Imaging and Outcomes Research Laboratory at UT Health Austin, where her clinical insights guide her research, and her research brings the latest discoveries directly to her patients.
Dr. Freeman combines research with a compassionate, relationship-based approach to caring for people with MS. She is currently building a novel multidisciplinary clinic to care for older MS patients that is fully integrated with a research program. She is also in the process of recruiting research subjects from vulnerable populations affected by MS. This interplay between clinical care and research is a hallmark of Dell Med. “To improve outcomes and bring hope to people with MS, I have to be both a clinician and a researcher,” says Freeman. “I have to work to identify gaps in the research I could help fill.”
In September 2022, Greg made a $1 million gift to Dell Med to establish the Kathleen C. Moore Research Fund for Hope in honor of Kathy. The fund will provide support for research and programming related to MS under Dr. Freeman’s direction. “We’re tremendously grateful for Greg’s commitment to MS research and clinical care,” says David Paydarfar, M.D., chair of Dell Med’s Department of Neurology. “The Kathleen C. Moore Research Fund for hope will transform the lives of patients and families impacted by MS, and it is an incredible, enduring tribute to Kathy.”
“I think [Freeman’s work] fits perfectly into the foundation’s mission,” says Greg. His vision for his gift is to help people with MS lead more independent, fulfilled lives. And he’s excited to bring world-class MS care to patients in Austin. “We’re going to help people in the surrounding community who don’t have a neurologist with expertise in MS like Dr. Freeman.” His gift is also an enduring tribute to Kathy. “I think she would be absolutely ecstatic with the work we’re doing here,” says Greg.
Published January 2023