Cornish Doctor is First Ever in the UK to Receive Epilepsy Award

A doctor from Cornwall is the first ever person from the UK to receive a prestigious epilepsy award.

Cornish Doctor is First Ever in the UK to Receive Epilepsy Award

This month, Dr. Rohit Shankar will be travelling to Vienna to the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) European Epilepsy Conference to be awarded the Epileptic Disorders Educational Prize for his paper on sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) and deliver a talk in the symposium of excellence. The ILAE are the governing body for world epilepsy.

In the UK SUDEP accounts for approximately 500 of the 1,200 epilepsy-related deaths that occur each year*. Dr. Shankar’s paper aims to improve the understanding of SUDEP for neurologists across the globe. The paper was the most downloaded and influential paper for practice globally for 2017, as per the ILAE Epilepsy Educational Journal.

“It is really humbling to be recognised for such a major international award in the field of epilepsy” commented Dr. Shankar.

“I find satisfaction in the knowledge that work done in Cornwall has helped shaped the paper. Given the said impact and recognition I hope the paper is influencing epilepsy risk management and keeping people safer globally.  If one life has been saved by the application of the paper’s findings it justifies the paper’s existence. 

“Much of the credit goes to my co-authors who mentored me to develop the paper, my patients from whom I ‘learnt’ to deliver the content of the paper, my senior colleagues such as Dr. Laugharne, Dr. Wilkinson and Dr. McLean to name a few from whom I learnt the art and science of writing papers, and finally to SUDEP Action, CFT and my family who gave me the motivation, opportunity, time and space to develop this piece.”

More recently, Dr. Shankar was awarded an MBE in recognition of his dedication in providing services for people with learning disabilities and epilepsy. He was also awarded the Royal College of Psychiatrists Fellowship (FRCPsych) as a mark of recognition for his work to Psychiatry in 2016, as well as many other awards and commendations.

Dr. Shankar’s work includes the Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) and Seizure Safety Checklist research project which has helped to significantly improve risk awareness, overall safety for people with epilepsy, including those living with epilepsy and a learning disability, and for their families to better understand the condition.

His work with SUDEP has also been turned into an app for smart phones and tablets, which has won a British Medical Journal award, otherwise known as “the Oscar of medical awards”. The app is used by patients and medical professionals across the country.