At its annual Morris K. Udall Awards Dinner, the Parkinson’s Action Network (PAN) honored Colonel Karl E. Friedl, Ph.D. with the 2012 Morris K. Udall Award for Public Service.
Colonel Friedl is the Director of the U.S. Army’s Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC), where he oversees the Neurotoxin Exposure Treatment Parkinson’s Research (NETPR) program. NETPR is the only Parkinson’s-specific federal granting program, investing more than $340 million in Parkinson’s research since its inception in 1997.
“Not only does Colonel Friedl oversee a critically important research function at the Department of Defense, he also has been a champion of the Parkinson’s community and PAN for years,” said PAN CEO Amy Comstock Rick. “He has spoken at many PAN events including our annual Forum, sharing information on the latest discoveries with our advocates and inspiring researchers just starting out in their field. He regularly educates policymakers and elected officials about his center’s work, and is a stalwart advocate for research programs. Colonel Friedl embodies everything the Morris K. Udall Award is about, and we are deeply honored to work with him.”
The NETPR program Colonel Friedl oversees examines how best to protect military personnel from toxic substances, head injury, and other possible contributors to Parkinson’s disease. Research breakthroughs in prevention, detection, and treatment help protect our nation’s soldiers, and they also are immediately applied to the broader Parkinson’s disease community.
“Colonel Friedl’s leadership and work in the Parkinson’s community means a tremendous amount to those of us living with or caring for someone living with Parkinson’s disease,” said Gerry Haines, PAN’s Pennsylvania State Director. “Government-funded work is a catalyst for private-sector investment, making our advocacy work around the NETPR program that much more important. I admire and respect Colonel Friedl’s work, as well as his honesty and candor with me and my fellow advocates. When he says he’s going to do something, he follows through. I am grateful for his leadership and service to our country and the Parkinson’s community.”
“I feel particularly close to the Parkinson’s community, and not solely as a result of my research on the disease,” said Colonel Friedl. “Through my work with PAN, I have had the pleasure of meeting hundreds of Parkinson’s advocates. Their determination to find a cure and their advocacy for effective programs like NETPR inspire my colleagues and me in our work. I am truly honored by this recognition, and I share the award with everyone in our community fighting for a cure for Parkinson’s every day.”
Colonel Friedl earned his B.A. (Zoology), M.A. (Zoology), and Ph.D. (Physiology) from the University of California at Santa Barbara, completing his research training in the University’s Institute of Environmental Stress. He is an ROTC Distinguished Military Graduate and entered the Army in 1983 as a Captain in the Medical Service Corps.
Prior to being named TATRC Director, Friedl directed major initiatives including the Defense Women’s Health Research Program, Department of Defense Gulf War Illnesses, and Bone Health and Military Medical Readiness. He was also Director for the Military Operational Medicine (MOM) research program where he established a coordinated plan of biomedical research on protection and enhancement of the Soldier. Between 1996 and 2003, he chaired the Tri-Service Joint Technical Coordinating Group (JTCG-5) for MOM, expanding inter-Service cooperation and collaborative projects with other agencies such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, National Institutes of Health, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and Department of Agriculture. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed research papers, and he has completed studies on human metabolic limits at Madigan Army Medical Center and the US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine.
In addition to tonight’s Morris K. Udall Award, he has previously been honored with the Society of Armed Forces Medical Laboratory Scientists (SAFMLS) Outstanding R&D Scientist Award, Legion of Merit with oakleaf cluster, Order of Military Medical Merit, the 2012 Ronald and Nancy Reagan Research Award, and the Surgeon General’s “A” professional designator.
About the Morris K. Udall Award for Public Service
Morris K. Udall served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 30 years and was a candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 1976. During “Mo’s” distinguished career, he infused American politics with his singular style of humor, grace, and dignity. Many of today’s leaders — both Democrats and Republicans — have cited Mo as an inspiration and role model. As a partisan Democrat, he was a much-feared debate opponent, but he was fair and always decent. It is in this spirit that the Morris K. Udall Awards for Public Service are presented to individuals who have made important contributions to public policy with humor, grace, and dignity.
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