Beth Lewin Dean ’90 didn’t know it when she attended Cornell College, but her path would lead her to work that would impact millions of lives.
She recently accepted the job as the chief executive officer of Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE)–which she says is the No. 1 non-governmental research agency for epilepsy.
“It’s a very rewarding job, knowing how prevalent epilepsy is, knowing how underfunded epilepsy research is, and knowing the impact our work can have on someone’s life,” Lewin Dean said. “The ability to help drive change makes you want to get up and come to work every day.”
The nonprofit organization is at the forefront of epilepsy research. It has already raised more than $60 million to fund research grants and other programs. According to CURE’s website, mortality rates among people with epilepsy are three times the rate of the general population, and sudden death rates are more than 20 times higher. Lewin Dean says her Chicago-based team hopes to get more people talking about the disease, which impacts more people than many realize.
“There is a huge stigma around epilepsy,” Lewin Dean said. “Three-point-four million people in the U.S. have epilepsy but people don’t talk about it. There’s shame or embarrassment or they are worried it will affect their job, friendships, or relationships.”