Jun 22, 2022

AES Announces First Recipients of the Sergievsky Award for Epilepsy Health Equity and Diversity

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Press Release


CHICAGO, IL (June 22, 2022) - The American Epilepsy Society (AES) announced today that Senyene E. Hunter, MD, PhD of University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Alain Zingraff Lekoubou Looti, MD of Pennsylvania State University have been named the 2022 AES Sergievsky Scholars.

Hunter and Lekoubou Looti each are receiving the Sergievesky Award for Epilepsy Health Equity and Diversity, a two-year award of $75,000 per year, which is funded by the AES Sergievsky Research Fund for Epilepsy Health Equity and Diversity. The award, launched in 2021 and presented for the first time in 2022, provides support for early career physicians and scientists who identify as members of groups historically underrepresented in medicine and science and/or who are researching issues that affect medically underserved individuals with epilepsy or seizures or related aspects of health equity.

“On behalf of the AES Board, it is my distinct pleasure to congratulate Dr. Hunter and Dr. Lekoubou Looti,” said R. Edward Hogan, MD, FAES, President of the AES Board of Directors. “AES has long been committed to growing the epilepsy talent pathway. Through the Sergievsky Award, we can help provide the research funding and connection to mentoring networks that are so critical to attracting top clinicians and scholars—like Dr. Hunter and Dr. Lekoubou Looti—from groups historically underrepresented in our field to careers in epilepsy, which is a priority for AES.”

senyene e hunter md phd


Senyene E. Hunter, MD, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Child Neurology and Epilepsy in the Department of Neurology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. She is the Co-founder and Research Core Leader of the UNC Epilepsy Neurogenetics Initiative. She specializes in the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of children with seizure disorders, and her research interests focus on epilepsy neurogenetics and neonatal seizures. Her Sergievesky Award will be used to support her research on Long-Read Sequencing in a Diverse Cohort with Epileptic Encephalopathy.
alain zingraff lekoubou looti md

Alain Zingraff Lekoubou Looti, MD is an Assistant Professor of Neurology and Public Health Sciences in the Department of Neurology, Division of Epilepsy at The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine. His primary clinical interests are epilepsy and general neurology. He medically and surgically manages epilepsy, including the most complex cases. His research goal is to improve the understanding of factors influencing the incidence and outcome of stroke and epilepsy and the link between both conditions, hence lessening the burden of post-stroke epilepsy, which affects one in 10 stroke survivors. As an AES Sergievsky Scholar, his award will support his research on Brain Health and Post-Stroke Seizures Prediction in a Diverse US Population.

The AES Sergievesky Award for Epilepsy Health Equity and Diversity is made possible by a generous gift from the Sergievsky family trust, in memory of Ms. Kira Sergievsky, a person with epilepsy who was a longtime employee in the Department of Neurology medical library at Columbia University--also home of the Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center, which was established in the name of Kira’s mother.

Upon receiving this transformational gift in early 2020, the AES Board of Directors convened an inclusive workgroup to shape an optimal way to use the fund that reflects the Society’s mission and values.  “We recognized the opportunity to steward this wonderful gift in a way that translates a core principle of the Society into action and maximizes its impact,” noted AES First Vice President Manisha N. Patel, PhD.




Davis Renzelmann
Public Communications Inc.

About the American Epilepsy Society

Founded in 1936, the American Epilepsy Society (AES) is a medical and scientific society whose members are dedicated to advancing research and education for preventing, treating and curing epilepsy. AES is an inclusive global forum where professionals from academia, private practice, not-for-profit, government and industry can learn, share and grow to eradicate epilepsy and its consequences.