Bruce Ovbiagele, MD, MAS, FAAN, UC San Francisco professor of Neurology and associate dean of the San Francisco VA Healthcare System, has been chosen by the American Brain Foundation (ABF) to receive its annual Scientific Breakthrough Award. Ovbiagele is being honored for his transformative work in health equity and inclusion, improving stroke outcomes for underserved and vulnerable populations.

The Scientific Breakthrough Award is given to an individual or group whose research has led to meaningful advances for the care of patients living with neurological disease. In bestowing the award, the foundation noted that, “Dr. Ovbiagele’s impact on the field has been tremendous; his research and his role as a mentor have made the field and the atmosphere for discovery immensely better. He has also helped to train, mentor, and inspire individuals from underrepresented groups in medicine to conduct high-quality neurological research.”

Ovbiagele will receive the award at the American Brain Foundation’s annual Commitment to Cures gala on April 13 in Denver, celebrating researchers and advocates working toward life without brain disease. The event is held in conjunction with the American Academy of Neurology’s (AAN) 2024 annual meeting.

“I thank the American Brain Foundation for this wonderful honor, which I accept with gratitude and on behalf of the many other colleagues across national borders with whom I have collaborated,” said Ovbiagele.

Director of stroke courses

Ovbiagele’s research focuses on stroke outcomes in disparate populations and is chronicled in more than 630 peer-reviewed articles with over 130,000 citations. Using innovative trial designs, genomic technologies and community engaged methodologies, he has implemented evidence-based stroke prevention programs to reduce death and disability for high-risk populations in low-resource settings. Ovbiagele has also enhanced the careers of under-represented individuals in global biomedical research, medicine and science in the United States and beyond – boosting their academic prominence and helping them launch independently funded research careers.

In addition to the Scientific Breakthrough Award, Ovbiagele has received numerous awards and honors for his work, including the W. Lester Henry Award from the American College of Physicians, Audrey Penn Award from the American Neurological Association, Mridha Humanitarian Award from ABF, William Feinberg Award and Stroke Council Award from the American Stroke Association, Ron Haddock International Impact Award and Distinguished Scientist Award from the American Heart Association, Meritorious Achievement Award from the National Medical Association, Services to Stroke Award from the World Stroke Organization, and Michael Pessin Stroke Leadership Award, Health Equity Research Award and Robert Wartenberg Lecture Award from the AAN.

He currently serves on the Board of Directors of AAN (2023-2025) and has been a member of the AAN since 1998. He has served on several AAN committees and subcommittees including the Clinical Research Training Fellowship Award Committee, Clinical Research Subcommittee, Minority Scholars Subcommittee and Education Committee. He was a “Neurology on the Hill” participant in 2008, Palatucci Advocacy Leadership Forum graduate in 2009, and Minority Scholars Visiting Professor to Morehouse School of Medicine in 2011. He has served as director of stroke courses at both the Annual Meeting and Fall Conference, faculty chair/guest editor for a Continuum® issue, and abstracts reviewer for the AAN Annual Meeting. He presently directs the Health Equity for Neurologists course at the Annual Meeting. Ovbiagele is a member of the AAN’s Media Expert Panel.

Ovbiagele chaired the International Stroke Conference (2016–2018), served as an associate editor of Stroke (2020–2022), and is the current editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Heart Association. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and Association of American Physicians; as well as an elected fellow of the World Academy of Sciences, International Science Council, World Stroke Organization, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Royal College of Physicians (London) and Royal Society of Public Health. He also serves on ABF’s Research Advisory Committee.

He received his medical degree from the University of Lagos. He received fellowship training in vascular neurology at UCLA, his residency was in general neurology at UC Irvine and he interned in internal medicine and psychiatry at Charles Drew University in Los Angeles.

He also has a law degree from Washington University in St. Louis, a Master of Science from UCLA, a Master of Advanced Studies from UC San Diego and a MBA from University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

About ABF: The American Brain Foundation was founded to bring researchers and donors together to cure brain diseases and disorders. For more than 30 years, the organization has funded research across a broad spectrum of brain and nervous system diseases and disorders in the pursuit of improved treatments, prevention, and cures.

About UCSF Health: UCSF Health is recognized worldwide for its innovative patient care, reflecting the latest medical knowledge, advanced technologies and pioneering research. It includes the flagship UCSF Medical Center, which is a top-ranked specialty hospital, as well as UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals, with campuses in San Francisco and Oakland, Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital and Clinics, UCSF Benioff Children’s Physicians and the UCSF Faculty Practice. These hospitals serve as the academic medical center of the University of California, San Francisco, which is world-renowned for its graduate-level health sciences education and biomedical research. UCSF Health has affiliations with hospitals and health organizations throughout the Bay Area. Visit Follow UCSF Health on Facebook or on Twitter.