CHICAGO — The American Medical Association (AMA) honored Catherine M. Rydell, chief executive officer of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), with the Medical Executive Lifetime Achievement Award for her more than 25 years of leadership in organized medicine. The award honors a medical association executive who has contributed substantially to the goals and ideals of the medical profession.

“Through her hard work and leadership over the last 20 years, Catherine Rydell has been instrumental in expanding the reach of the American Academy of Neurology—forging numerous international ties with neurology advocates across the globe and more than doubling the Academy’s neurologist members,” said AMA Board Chair Russ Kridel, M.D. “Catherine is being recognized for her tireless advocacy on behalf of the entire neurology community and I am pleased to present her with this award for a lifetime of service.”

During her tenure with the American Academy of Neurology, Rydell helped launch the AAN’s first annual Sport Concussion Conference, supported the creation of free Brain Health Fairs, and reaffirmed the organization’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion. In addition to her role with AAN, Rydell also currently serves on the American Brain Foundation’s Board of Directors, as a member of the Specialty Society CEO Coalition, and as ex-officio member of the Neurology Residency Review Committee and the United Council of Neurologic Subspecialties.

Prior to joining the AAN, Rydell also served as CEO of the North Dakota Medical Association.

The AMA presented the award to Rydell during the November 2020 Special Meeting of the AMA House of Delegates.

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