ORLANDO, Fla. ― Mary Anne Meskis was presented with the 2023 Extraordinary Contributions to the Field of Epilepsy Award during the 2023 Annual Meeting of the American Epilepsy Society (AES). This award is designated for those who have made extraordinary contributions across multiple fronts, including science, education, leadership, and advocacy. The award is only presented in those years when the AES board of directors determines there is an individual whose accomplishments embody the spirit of recognition.
Meskis is a founding member of the Dravet Syndrome Foundation (DSF), which was founded in 2009. Prior to accepting the position of executive director of the DSF in 2012, she owned and managed several small businesses in the private sector for over 25 years with an emphasis on project management. She is a passionate advocate for the Dravet syndrome and rare epilepsy communities and has served on various epilepsy working groups and industry advisory panels since her son, Elliot, was diagnosed with the condition in 2004.
While under her direction, DSF has placed a focus on research, as well as patient community engagement and education. As of 2023, DSF has awarded over $7 million in research grant awards, making it the largest nongovernmental funder of Dravet syndrome-specific research worldwide. DSF has worked with multiple industry partners on several clinical trials since 2016, including some that are currently underway. These trials have resulted in three US Food and Drug Administration-approved medications for the treatment of Dravet syndrome since 2018.
Meskis currently resides in western North Carolina with her husband and Elliot, the youngest of her three children.