W. Curt LaFrance Jr., MD, MPH
W. Curt LaFrance Jr., MD, MPH, director of neuropsychiatry and
behavioral neurology at Rhode Island Hospital, has received the American
Academy of Neurology’s (AAN) Dreifuss-Penry Epilepsy Award. Established
in 2001, the award recognizes physicians in the early stages of their
careers who have made outstanding, independent contributions to epilepsy
“Dr. LaFrance has done seminal work on non-epileptic seizures. His work
has not only identified the risk factors and markers for such events,
but also he has pioneered innovative treatments that are improving the
patients’ symptoms and quality of life,” said Shlomo Shinnar, MD, PhD,
the ANN chair of the epilepsy subcommittee.
The award was presented to LaFrance at the 2013 AAN annual meeting in
San Diego for his work largely done through the collaboration between
Rhode Island Hospital’s division of neuropsychiatry and behavioral
neurology and the hospital’s comprehensive epilepsy program. He
presented his research on neuropsychiatric aspects of epilepsy and
nonepileptic seizures (NES), describing the research on the diagnosis
and treatment of NES.
“My interest in seizure disorders was sparked while attending the J.
Kiffin Penry Epilepsy Minifellowship Program during my combined
neurology psychiatry residency at Brown Medical School,” LaFrance said.
“I am indebted to Dr. Penry’s legacy for the experience and exposure
that launched my research and am honored to receive this award in his
Board-certified in both in neurology and psychiatry, LaFrance examines
the overlap between brain and behavior in his clinic and in research.
One of LaFrance’s areas of expertise is in the neuropsychiatric aspects
of epilepsy with a research focus on treatment and diagnosis of patients
“Many treatments exist for epilepsy, but few exist for NES. Given the
great need for NES treatments, my aim is to provide hope for this
challenging population with NES and equip clinicians with effective
treatment for this disabling and difficult to manage disorder, so often
seen in our patients and epilepsy programs across the world,” said
The neuropsychiatry/behavioral neurology division at Rhode Island Hospital was established in 2003 to
evaluate and treat individuals with brain-behavior disorders. Working in
conjunction with several of Rhode Island Hospital’s programs, the
division collaborates with the Comprehensive Epilepsy Program, the
division of neuropsychology and the Mood Disorders Program. The division
of neuropsychiatry/behavioral neurology is affiliated with Brown
University's departments of psychiatry and neurology, and conducts
studies sponsored by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders
and Stroke (NINDS), the American Epilepsy Society, the Epilepsy
Foundation, other private foundations, and the departments of psychiatry
and neurology at Rhode Island Hospital.