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Dr. Shankle received his degrees in biology, medicine and statistics from Stanford, Brown and USC, with post-graduate studies in statistics at Harvard School of Public Health. He trained at Cook County and Los Angeles County Hospitals in internal medicine and neurology.
He has specialized in the diagnosis, treatment and management of patients with cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s Disease and related disorders (ADRD) since 1988. Applying his training in biomedical statistics, he has combined patient care with research on memory, function and behavior in order to optimize ADRD patient outcomes in terms of screening, early detection, early diagnosis, and treatment. In fact, he developed The MCI Screen, a 10-minute memory test that is 97% accurate in distinguishing age- vs. disease-related memory loss while people are still functioning normally.
Dr. Shankle and his stepfather, Dr. BH Landing, were the first to discover that the human cerebral cortex generates new neurons after birth, which overturned the dogma of “no new neuron formation”, established by Santiago Ramon y Cajal in 1907, and ushered in the era of stem cell research. Sandra Blakeslee, science editor for the NY Times, reported this discovery to be one of the most important scientific findings of the 1990s.
In 2010, Dr. Shankle received the Judith and Richard Voltmer endowed chair to establish the Hoag Memory and Cognitive Disorders Program to prevent, monitor, detect early, diagnose accurately and more effectively treat cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s Disease and related disorders. He’s served on the international scientific consortium to develop the Roadmap To Prevent AD by 2020, which helped lead to the congressionally mandated National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA). Dr. Shankle received funding from UniHealth in 2010 to apply these guidelines to create the nation’s first population health cognitive program (Orange County Vital Brain Aging Program), which is helping people prevent dementia due to AD and other causes.
Describe how your Nominee has exceeded his or her Job Description, becoming a hero to you or others. Provide an example or as much detail as possible of the things that they do that go above and beyond their job description.
Dr. Shankle's accomplishments alone would categorize him as a hero for anyone suffering from Alzheimer's dementia. But it would be the result of all that he has done and continues to do that qualifies him for hero status – he provides hope.