The Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America (MGFA) has awarded its Impact Award to Richard Nowak, MDfor his exceptional leadership, collaboration, innovation, and dedication to advancing the mission of the MGFA. Dr. Nowak was formally recognized at the 2023 MGFA National Patient Conference in New Orleans, La.
The MGFA serves both the patient and medical community in its goal of curing myasthenia gravis (MG), a chronic autoimmune disorder whose symptoms include extreme muscle weakness. The MGFA not only acts as a resource network and support community for those living with MG, but also as a research, education, and patient care hub for physicians.
Dr. Nowak’s award honors his leadership in strengthening these core tenets. He was appointed chief medical advisor to the MGFA in 2022 and is an elected member of the MGFA’s Board of Directors. He also serves as chair of the Research Committee and is charged with setting research priorities and initiatives, as well as having oversight of the grant awards program.
In addition to being honored at the conference, Dr. Nowak delivered this year’s keynote address, “For a World without Myasthenia Gravis and the Quest for the Holy Grail.” He spoke about current and emerging MG treatment paradigms and the concept of tolerance induction in autoimmunity. He also emphasized a need for partnership in pushing the needle forward to improve patient outcomes, bridge socioeconomic disparities, and deliver precision health.
Dr. Nowak is the founding director of both the Program for Clinical and Translational Neuromuscular Research (CTNR) and the Yale Myasthenia Gravis Clinic. Recognized nationally and internationally, the MG Clinic is among the largest in the United States and is widely known for clinical and research excellence. Over the last decade, Dr. Nowak has successfully built and established a translational neuromuscular immunology program, primarily focused on MG. He has led national and international interventional clinical trials for MG and was integral in establishing the NIH-funded Myasthenia Gravis Rare Disease Network (MGNet). Through understanding basic mechanisms of disease, his goal is to apply a biomarker discovery strategy in the development of future patient-tailored treatment approaches. Dr. Nowak remains committed to advancing MG science and patient care.