Support Research in Alzheimer's and Dementia with Endowment Fund

August 5, 2009

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Larry Eisner, MD, FAAN,
and his wife Gail

The AAN Foundation has established a new endowment fund, the Baumel-Eisner Endowed Alzheimer's/Dementia Research Fund, with a $50,000 donation by Barry Baumel, MD, and Gail Eisner in memory of Larry Eisner, MD, FAAN, who passed away in March 2008. The fund was created in celebration of their longtime friendship and partnership. Interest income from the endowment will support Alzheimer's disease/Dementia Clinical Research Training Fellowships.

Barry Baumel and Larry Eisner met when they were residents at the University of Miami Jackson Memorial Hospital and went into practice together after residency.

Barry Baumel, MD,
and his wife Carolyn

The two founded the Baumel-Eisner Neuromedical Institute in Miami Beach, FL, which grew to become the largest dementia clinical research site in the country before they sold the business in 1999.

After Eisner passed away, his wife, Gail, and Baumel and his wife, Carolyn, sought a way to honor his memory and celebrate their longtime friendship and partnership.

"This is one way to say thank you to the Academy and to the field of Alzheimer's research and to in some way help and give back for everything good that had happened to us in our careers," said Baumel, now chair of the Board of Trustees of the Mind Research Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness and brain injury. "This is a wonderful opportunity that the Academy has given people to fund a named endowment and participate in a way you're proud of and that benefits the whole medical community."

Baumel and Eisner first established a general neurology practice. "We were so busy, we were working all hours and it was driving us crazy," Baumel said. Inspired by a chance comment from a cardiologist, the two decided to start a headache center. They soon shifted their focus to Alzheimer's disease as they learned about new opportunities with clinical trials in that area.

Eisner treated Luba Potamkin, and both doctors helped her husband, Victor Potamkin, understand new research that was coming out on dementia, get access to the latest treatments, and meet the top neurologists in the field. After Luba died of Pick's disease, Victor Potamkin asked her doctors what he could do to support further research.

"We told him, ‘Why not develop a prize and model it on the Nobel Prize?' It would be designed to drive research in dementia, and to recognize work over a lifetime. That was an idea he liked. Dr. Robert Daroff was in Miami at the time, and he knew the Potamkin family from Philadelphia, so he helped us bring the idea to the leaders of the Academy. The first prize was given in 1988, and we have remained close with the family. Every year we attend the presentation of the prize at the Academy meeting and help the family understand the importance and implications of the research."

Former AAN president Roger N. Rosenberg, MD, FAAN, was chair of the Scientific Issues Committee when Baumel and Eisner introduced him to the Potamkin family. "Dr. Baumel and Mrs. Eisner have my gratitude and esteem for making this contribution in honor of our friend Larry Eisner," he said. "Dr. Eisner and Dr. Baumel are skilled, highly regarded physicians who have been active Academy members and were instrumental in making possible the establishment and funding of the Potamkin Prize. We have also valued their continued support in maintaining the prize. This new endowment will make possible the training of future generations of neurologists, continuing the Academy's mission of supporting and developing neurologic research."

Choose "Alzheimer's / Dementia Research" on the Foundation's donation page and contribute to this important research.

For information about creating a named endowed fund, contact Susan Dunlop, AAN Foundation Director of Development, at sdunlop@aan.com or (866) 770-7570.