The VT CFIDS Association, Inc.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Burlington, VT, September 16, 2008
Rik Carlson (left) President of the Vermont CFIDS Association (Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome) received a check for the establishment of a medical student scholarship at the University of Vermont Medical School. The check was presented by Dr. Kenneth J. Friedman (right) of Pawlet, VT on behalf of P.A.N.D.O.R.A. (Patient Alliance for Neuroendocrineimmune Disorders and Organization for Research and Advocacy). Dr. Friedman serves on the Executive Board of Directors as Secretary and is also Chairman of the Public Policy Committee of P.A.N.D.O.R.A.
The award to the Vermont CFIDS Association was made in recognition of Dr. Friedman’s leadership and efforts to enhance Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) education in the State of Vermont. This award was made also to honor his contribution, commitment, and accomplishments on behalf of the national community. The scholarship is modeled after the program he created currently running in all three of New Jersey’s medical schools. Since most medical schools do not include CFS in their medical school curriculum, the scholarship program supplements medical student education so that physicians in training can obtain knowledge about this illness.
The CFS medical student scholarship program will be operational in the Spring of 2009 and will encourage medical students to research Chronic Fatigue Syndrome during the summer between their first and second years of medical school. The student who writes the best essay, as determined by an evaluation committee, wins the scholarship.
Dr. Friedman: “The medical student scholarship program is designed to supplement rather than compete with the medical school curriculum. By encouraging students to learn about CFS in the one summer that they are not involved in classes, we encourage a productive use of their time. P.A.N.D.O.R.A. will expand its award program to other states soon.”
The Vermont CFIDS Association is one of only three organizations selected nationally and was hand picked by P.A.N.D.O.R.A. for its outstanding efforts in educating the public, passing legislation to allocate monies for a physicians’ diagnosis and treatment manual for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and helping direct those afflicted to the best resources for coping with and treating the symptoms of their illness.
CFS or CFIDS is estimated to debilitate between 1 and 4 million Americans, and creates an estimated $9 billion annual loss to the American economy. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It strikes men, women and children of all races and social backgrounds. It is life long and a cure remains elusive due to its complexity. Among its main symptoms are "bone crushing" fatigue not alleviated by rest, cognitive impairment, "flu-like" symptoms with or without debilitating muscle pain, long-term respiratory infections, gastrointestinal disorders, and other progressive neurological impairments leading to disability and the destruction of family life.
The 5 year grant will be disbursed as follows: $1,050 for the first year of the award, $1,050 for the second year, $750 for the third year, $500 for the fourth year and $250 for the fifth year of the award. The intent of the gradually diminishing awards in subsequent years is to encourage the Vermont CFIDS Association to identify donors and benefactors who will sponsor the program in future years to ensure the program will remain successful.
The Vermont CFIDS Association is proud to be the first organization to be selected for this national scholarship award program.