Gretchen Birbeck, MD, MPH, DTMH

University of Rochester

Gretchen L. Birbeck is a Rykenboer Professor of Neurology at the University of Rochester in New York. She has served as a physician, medical educator and researcher in sub-Saharan Africa since 1994. Her overarching professional goal is to elucidate the mechanisms of common neurology disorders in the region to identify modifiable risk factors for these conditions and their secondary comorbidities so that feasible, affordable, evidence-based interventions aimed at preventing or ameliorating neurologic illness/injury can be evaluated and, if warranted, broadly implemented. Her research priorities are directly informed by her experience as a clinician and educator in Zambia and Malawi. Having completed medical School at the University of Chicago, she trained as an adult neurologist at Johns Hopkins. Her subsequent postdoctoral studies in health services research with Dr. Barbara Vickrey as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar allowed her to further pursue her overarching professional goals. She has received continuous funding from the US National Institute of Health (NIH) since 2002 and her trainees have received NIH career awards and research funding from Fulbright, the American Academy of Neurology, the Fogarty International Center, the American Neurological Association, the American Medical Association, the Doris Duke Fund, and the Wellcome Trust. She serves on the Advisory Board for the US NIH’s Fogarty International Center and on the Board of Directors for the American Neurological Association. She is a recipient of the Johns Hopkins Alumni Award for Global Achievement, the American Medical Student Association’s Women Leaders in Medicine Award and the McGrath Community Engagement Award. She was named an Ambassador for Epilepsy by the International League against Epilepsy and the US Paul Rogers Society selected her as a Global Health Research Ambassador.