CTRI Director of Community Engagement Dr. Howard Taras was recently honored as a “Health Hero” by Combined Health Agencies of San Diego. Every year, each agency in this organization selects an outstanding person or organization that has given time, talent, and/or resources to improve the health and well-being of the local community. Dr. Taras was selected by the Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego County for his advocacy to improve children’s access to life-saving seizure medication at schools.
Dr. Taras, Professor of Pediatrics at UC San Diego, has a long-term collaborative relationship with the Epilepsy Foundation, serving on their Professional Advisory Board and assisting them as they educate families about epilepsy. Through his position as a medical director and consultant to several school districts in San Diego County and elsewhere in California, he has developed protocols and professional training that protect the safety of children with epilepsy in the school setting. Recognizing the need for increased access to emergency medication for prolonged seizures when school nurses were not on site, Dr. Taras advocated for this cause at the California State Legislature. As a result of Dr. Taras’ testimony and advocacy, combined with the efforts of many others working on this issue, the Legislature passed SB 161 in 2011 to protect the rights of children with epilepsy. As Dr. Taras noted, “Sometimes progress takes the time and effort of many different members of society.”
Dr. Taras and the CTRI look forward to a sustained partnership with the Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego County. Currently, the Community Engagement Division is working closely with the Epilepsy Foundation and three other community organizations to learn how to better communicate with their clientele about research.
About UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute:
UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute (ACTRI) is part of a national Clinical and Translational Science Award consortium, led by the National Institutes of Health National Center for Advancing Translational Science. Established in 2010, ACTRI provides infrastructure and support for basic, translational and clinical research throughout the San Diego region to bring discoveries from the laboratory to the bedside, and facilitates training and education of the next generation of researchers. ACTRI carries out its activities in collaboration with institutional and corporate partners and currently has more than 1,500 members.