The winner of the David R. Cox Prize for Compassion was announced this week. With support from Global Genes, the Student Advocates for Neglected Diseases (STAND) were able to honor a student whose essay represented the connection they’ve made with a rare or neglected patient community.

Author Jacob Capito’s entry titled “Small Victories” which focused on the disease Neurofibromatosis won the prestigious award. Capito is an MD Candidate for the class of 2015 at Indiana University School of Medicine. An excerpt of his entry reads,

“I learned the importance of asking the non-healthcare related questions. Take a second to find out what life is like outside the hospital. When I spoke with the patient’s grandfather I realized the surface doesn’t always reflect the levels below. I came to understand how the time spent in healthcare has impacted the family, their finances, and their relationships, which ultimately has an affect on the overall healthcare of the patient. “

The prize is dedicated to David R. Cox, MD, PhD who was an extraordinary physician scientist, becoming Professor of Genetics and Pediatrics at UCSF and later Stanford, as well as shepherding development of genomic medicine at Pfizer. In addition to his participation in the Human Genome Project and service on numerous national advisory boards, Dr. Cox showed uncommon compassion in his involvement with advocates for rare diseases. He was especially helpful to the A-T Children’s Project, an organization aiming to cure a rare and debilitating genetic disorder, ataxia telangiectasia (A-T).

Despite no personal ties to the A-T family community, over the course of 20 years, Dr. Cox gave generously of his time and expertise, leading an advisory board and orchestrating focused, innovative research that accelerated the search for finding life-improving therapies for A-T children. Even after his passing in 2013, Dr. Cox continues to inspire future clinicians to engage the patient communities most in need.

Selected submissions were considered for publication online or in print, and the winning author will additionally receive a certificate and cash prize of $1,000.

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About STAND

Student Advocates for Neglected Diseases (STAND) is a student organization inspiring future clinicians to care about disease communities often neglected by the healthcare system.  Engaging medical schools across the country, STAND connects students with neglected patient groups. STAND was started by Colton Margus, a medical student whose two brothers have a rare neurodegenerative disease.  For more information on STAND or to get involved, please visit studentadvocates.org or email info@studentadvocates.org.

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