Ann Romney Launches Neurologic Disease Center in Boston

Ann Romney announced the launch of a neurologic center in collaboration with Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, set to open in 2016.

Ann Romney, wife of 2012 Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney, launched the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases in conjunction with Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) in Boston, Massachusetts on October 14.

The Center aims to accelerate treatment, prevention, and cures for the neurologic diseases of the world, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, and brain tumors. Other goals for the Center include bringing together researchers and scientists from around the world and to inspire and empower those confronting the disease — estimated to be about 50 million people worldwide.

“I know firsthand how terrifying and devastating these neurologic diseases can be, and I want to do everything in my power to help change outcomes for future generations,” Mrs. Ann Romney, the Center’s namesake and MS patient, said in a press release. “The team at Brigham and Women's Hospital gave me the gift of enduring hope and that is what this center is about — improving and saving the lives of the 50 million people facing a heart-breaking diagnosis. I hope everyone who shares this vision will join our effort.”

Romney told NBC’s Today Show that, while on the campaign trail with her husband, she ran out of fuel and she had to drop out. He didn’t find out about it until later, but it served as a wake-up call for Mrs. Romney.

“I never would have imagined myself being in a position to have an impact,” Romney told the Today show. “I don’t think of myself as anyone except just as a little girl that rides her horse. And then grew up and was a mommy. And now all of a sudden, I can have a voice.”

The Center will be lead by BWH’s Howard L. Weiner, MD, and Dennis J. Selkoe, MD, who are both experts in the field of neurologic disease. The doctors boast they have trained the next generation of neurologic doctors for the past 30 years, and expect the Center to act as a catalyst to encourage collaboration.

“We've proven that promising advances in neurologic diseases occur when research in one disease state is applied to other disease states,” said Weiner. “What makes this center different is the integration which allows us to discover connections between diseases that otherwise would not have been realized if the research remained in silos. My colleague Dennis Selkoe and I have been collaborating since 1985, and the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases gives us a platform to take it to the next level.”

The virtual Center plans to open in 2016, and is expected to be one of the most technologically sophisticated patient care and research centers in the United States. The president of BWH, Betsy Nabel, MD, believes the benefit of the Center lies in doctors and patients engaging with researchers in the same facility.

“I want to not even be talking about this [disease] in 20 years,” Ann Romney concluded. “I want this resolved.”