Ada Lovelace Day 2016: Celebrating women in science
Today we celebrate Ada Lovelace Day, which recognises the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths.
Young Epilepsy is an equal opportunities organisation and we seek to celebrate the achievements of our staff and friends at every opportunity. Today we would like to honour the achievements of our Trustee and friend, Professor Helen Cross OBE.
Professor Helen Cross OBE
Awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2015 for her services to childhood epilepsy, Helen has changed the lives of millions of people with epilepsy through her research and thousands through her direct clinical work.
She is the Prince of Wales’s Chair of Childhood Epilepsy, Europe’s first Chair in Childhood Epilepsy, at University College London - Institute of Child Health, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, and Young Epilepsy. She works tirelessly to improve support, treatment, outcomes and knowledge of one of the world's most complex and disabling conditions.
With over 270 research publications, including a definitive childhood epilepsy textbook and a ketogenic diet cookery book, Helen’s particular research interests lie in early onset complex epilepsy, particularly improving outcomes and the role of intervention, with emphasis on surgery and the ketogenic diet.
She is currently involved in over 25 clinical trials, both national and international, the latest of which is a very large collaborative study between Young Epilepsy and Great Ormond Street looking at the causes of epilepsy in infants under 3 months of age.
This particular study encompasses nearly every paediatric unit in the South East of England and will serve to gain a better understanding of the causes of epilepsy in infancy in order to improve both the clinical care and the outcomes for these children and their families.
Chair of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE)
Outside of her research and clinic, Helen has been Chair of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) Commission for Paediatrics 2005-2009, Co-Chair of the Task Force of the Global Campaign and a member of the ILAE Commission for European Affairs, in which she chaired the sub commission for education 2009-2013.
She was Chair of the ILAE Task Force for Paediatric Epilepsy Surgery 2001-2013 and was Clinical Advisor to the 2012 review of the NICE guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of the Epilepsies in adults and children, as well as Chair of the Trustees of Epilepsy Research UK 2005-2010.
She is currently elected Secretary General of the ILAE 2013-2017, Clinical Advisor to the national Children’s Epilepsy Surgery Service and Chair of the British Paediatric Neurology Association (BPNA) Research Committee. She was president of the BPNA 2008-10.
Mentoring and training
Helen has mentored countless bright stars in the future of epilepsy research, being extensively involved in teaching both nationally and internationally.
She was integral to the development of the standardised Paediatric Epilepsy Training (PET) Courses by the British Paediatric Neurology Association, and was Chair of the PET Steering Committee until recently. She also teaches on MSc courses (epilepsy, neuropsychology, genetics, advanced imaging, child mental health) at University College London and King’s College London.
She has been on faculty and organising committees of several internationally run courses including San Servolo Summer Schools, the Eilat Educational Pharmacology Course and EPODES (epilepsy surgery). She is forever taking part in international congresses and teaching courses to share her expertise and networks.
With a ravenous dedication and passion, Helen not only tackles a relentless schedule of conferences, summits, research, patients and charity, she is also a mother to three wonderful and successful young women and always takes the time to nurture the curiosity of anyone wishing to improve the lives of young people with epilepsy.
She illustrates, in true wonder-woman style, that you can indeed have it all.