James F. Howard, Jr., MD, is the recipient of the AANEM’s 2015 Distinguished Physician Award, which recognizes a member for their superior achievements as a clinician, educator, and association volunteer.
“I am deeply honored and humbled to receive this award from AANEM, an organization of my peers,” says Dr. Howard “There is no greater honor than to be recognized by one’s patients and by one’s peers for the job they have done.”
Dr. Howard says his career path was shaped by his mentors during his training. At the University of Virginia, he was mentored by Dr. TR Johns, whose primary interest was in Myasthenia Gravis. He had ample exposure to Don Sanders in the Neuromuscular Clinics, the EMG Laboratory and the Myasthenia Gravis Research Laboratory, becoming Don’s first Fellow, and as they say….”the rest is history!”
Dr. Howard has distinguished himself as a leader in the field of neuromuscular diseases, and active AANEM member. “AANEM is like a super-family. It has served as a continuing resource for my practice habits, my teaching skills, and my knowledge base,” says Dr. Howard. “AANEM has been the one organization that I have learned the most from, have had the most fun with, and love the most.”
Dr. Howard also has a long and broad history of volunteerism in the field of neuromuscular diseases beyond the AANEM. His service includes the Center for Disease Control MD STARnet Program, the MDA Grant Review Committee, the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America Board of Directors, and Chair of the Medical Scientific Advisory Board. He currently serves on the World Health Organization (WHO) Advisory Group of the Revision of the ICD-10 Diseases of the Nervous System, Neuromuscular Junction, and Muscle Diseases in Adults. He is also a member of the Muscle Study Group Executive Committee. He became the first recipient of the endowed James F. Howard Distinguished Professorship of Neuromuscular Disease. He notes that since he began his career, EDX/NM has transformed itself, “…from a gestalt of rapidly flowing signals across oscilloscope screens smaller than a mini-iPad, to a true evolving science with the attempt to establish scientific rigor.”
Dr. Howard sees EDX/NM medicine integrating itself further into a comprehensive discipline of Neuromuscular and Musculoskeletal Medicine, taking advantage of emerging techniques, the rapid advances of molecular genetics and biomechanical engineering with the development of advanced diagnostic techniques, biomarker methodologies, and perhaps therapeutic strategies.