• Paul Fisher, MD and Judi Rees celebrate the creation of a new endowed fellowship in pediatric epilepsy.
  • Left-to-right: Paul Fisher, MD; fellow Juliet Knowles, MD, PhD; Brenda Porter, MD, PhD; and fellow Fiona Baumer, MD.


A grandmother’s love advances pediatric epilepsy research and training

Megan Alpers
Monday, March 7, 2016

Describing Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford as “her heart,” longtime donor Judi Rees has continued her tradition of generosity and commitment to children’s health by creating an endowed fellowship in pediatric epilepsy which will allow our hospital and School of Medicine to train the next generation of pediatric specialists to improve care for children with epilepsy. 

“Epilepsy is not one diagnosis, but many,” explained Brenda Porter, MD, PhD, associate professor of neurology and a leading national expert in pediatric epilepsy. “There are lots of therapeutic options, but the challenge is to diagnose the disorder correctly and then to identify the best therapy.”

In addition to providing fellows with specialized clinical expertise and the opportunity to pursue research under Porter’s guidance, this fellowship is especially important because it helps draw top neurologists into the field and creates a pipeline of future clinical and research leaders.

The fellowship builds upon a strong foundation within our child neurology program—the largest on the West Coast—and will provide up to two years of guaranteed funding for trainees pursuing a fellowship in pediatric epilepsy. Fellows who expand their work to other research centers will continue to work collaboratively with Stanford researchers to have a nationwide impact.

“We have a wonderful slate of promising research in our future, thanks to Judi’s philanthropic commitment,” said Paul Fisher, MD, Beirne Family Professor of Pediatric Neuro-oncology and chief of the division of child neurology. “There are very few programs like this in the United States. The work of our fellows will provide new insights into epilepsy and lead to new therapies for this often misunderstood disease. This support is instrumental in the development of talented pediatric epileptologists seeking to improve the lives of children with epilepsy. We are so grateful.” 

Making a difference for children’s health is Judi’s passion and mission. Over the years, Judi has also generously supported numerous areas of our hospital including orthopedics, behavioral and developmental pediatrics, pulmonology, child safety, and our hospital-to-school transition program, HEAL. 

“The impact of Judi’s generosity is felt throughout our hospital,” said Hugh O’Brodovich, MD, Adalyn Jay Physician-in-Chief at Packard Children’s, whose position was also made possible through Judi’s support. “She has a deep connection to our patients and wants to see brighter futures for all of them.”

“This hospital and Stanford University School of Medicine are very dear to me,” said Judi. “Their physicians and researchers make a profound difference in the lives of children, here in our community and around the world.”

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