John Quinlan, MD, Winner of MDA’s Personal Achievement Award

Doctor gives talk to room of people

John Quinlan, MD, Professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and Director of the UC Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Adult Clinic, has been named the recipient of  the MDA’s 2010 Robert Ross National Personal Achievement Award.

The award, initiated in 1992 and named in honor of the MDA’s longtime chief executive who died in 2006, recognizes the accomplishments and community service of people with disabilities caused by any of the diseases in the MDA’s program. Dr. Quinlan has facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, a genetic muscle disorder which causes prominent weakness of arms, legs and face.

Dr. Quinlan, of Lakeside Park, Ky., was chosen from dozens of recipients of statewide awards based on his personal success, his professional achievements and his dedication to helping others with muscular dystrophy and related diseases. This marks the first time the award has gone to an individual with a neuromuscular disease who also is a neurologist who treats people with neuromuscular diseases.

Dr. Quinlan will receive the award on the 2009 Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, which will air for 21 ½ consecutive hours beginning at 9 p.m. EDT Sept. 6 over 180 stations nationwide (WSTR-TV in Cincinnati).

“This is really an honor, and I thank the MDA for bestowing it upon me,” says Dr. Quinlan. “I think there are a lot of people who could have been given the award—there are really hundreds in this country who are doing great things in the fight against muscular dystrophy.”

Dr. Quinlan grew up in Mundelein, Ill., and graduated from the University of Notre Dame and the University of Illinois College of Medicine. He joined the UC faculty in 1987 after clinical and research training that included residencies and fellowships at the Mayo Clinic.

Dr. Quinlan has won numerous teaching honors at UC, including a Golden Apple and two Silver Apples. He has been chosen as the keynote speaker for the white coat ceremony for incoming medical students and Humanism in Medicine speaker for the Student Clinician’s Ceremony. In 2007, he was a Business Courier of Cincinnati Health Care Heroes finalist in the provider category.

“I have had the privilege of knowing and working with Dr. Quinlan since we were both residents at the Mayo Clinic in 1982,” says Joseph Broderick, MD, Chairman of UC’s Department of Neurology. “John is not only a terrific specialist in neuromuscular disease, his first-hand experience in living with muscular dystrophy makes him extraordinarily sensitive to the needs of his patients who see in him not just as a great physician but someone who walks the road with them.

“The best compliment that I can give John is that people soon after meeting him quickly forget that he has physical limitations. I can’t think of a better role model for what it means to be a physician and a human being.”

Dr. Quinlan became co-director of the UC MDA Adult Clinic in 1987, attending to people with neuromuscular diseases, and director in 2000. He is an active member of the MDA Clinical Services Advisory Committee and an MDA national vice president.

“We are all different, and we all face different problems,” he says. “But life has an amazing number of possibilities. Even when a disease eliminates 50 percent of the choices, there are still wonderful opportunities out there.”

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