Cerebral Palsy Group Selects Chandler Doctor For Annual Award - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Cerebral Palsy Group Selects Chandler Doctor For Annual Award

October 22nd, 2018 SanTan Sun News
Cerebral Palsy Group Selects Chandler Doctor For Annual Award

A Chandler neurogeneticist has been selected for a big honor by the United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arizona.

UCP said Dr. Michael Kruer, a member of its board, will be the recipient of the 2019 Laura Dozer Award “for his extraordinary work and what it represents to the many individuals with movement disorders and their families.”

Kruer focuses on pediatric movement disorders and rare diseases and combines his patient work with translational laboratory research.

Kruer is an associate professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. He is also the chair of the International Cerebral Palsy Genomics Consortium and director of the Cerebral Palsy and Pediatric Movement Disorders Program at Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

The Laura Dozer Award, presented at the annual UCP’s Celebration of Champions gala, commends a corporation or individual who goes above and beyond their normal daily responsibilities to support, nurture and promote a life without limits for those served by UCP of Central Arizona

“Dr. Kruer’s dedication to the care and healing of children with cerebral palsy is enormous, and his international research collaborations are improving the quality of life for an untold number of children. In providing hope to families with children with CP and other disabilities, Dr. Kruer epitomizes that life should be without limits,” said UCP CEO Brenda Hanserd.

Kruer said he was honored by the award.

“I am committed to this line of work because as a physician-scientist, I have dedicated my career to helping children with movement disorders such as cerebral palsy,” he said. “I not only want to provide the very best treatments of today but want to be on the front lines searching for answers and better treatments for the kids I see in my office and in the hospital all the time.”

“My interest began with a single amazing family that I cared for,” he added. “They had four children with cerebral palsy. This didn’t fit what I had been taught during my training about the disease and led me to start thinking about it in a different way.”

Kruer, who is studying genomics in cerebral palsy, is passionate about helping children and has long held a desire to make an impact within the community, which is the main reason he wanted to get into medicine.

“I saw limitations in what we can offer to patients, and I wanted to develop better treatment options,” Kruer said.

Nearly 13 years ago, Kruer was finishing his clinical rotations at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. He was just beginning his career as a neurogeneticist. Little did he know that he’d be back shortly after as an associate professor in the college’s Department of Child Health.

“It’s like a full circle,” he said in 2015 when he joined U of A. “The college gives me fantastic resources, and I have great colleagues to do research with who are passionate about their work.”

Since a young age, Kruer has been fascinated with neuroscience, and he knew he wanted to do something in medicine and pediatrics. As a scientist and medical doctor, he “seeks to understand the basic mechanisms that lead to neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental diseases in children, like cerebral palsy,” according to college spokeswoman Theresa Joseph.

His medical career started with an undergraduate degree in microbiology and psychology from Arizona State University. He graduated from the UA College of Medicine – Tucson in 2005.

His journey after graduation led him to residency at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and Maricopa Medical Center. Kruer was also granted a postdoctoral fellowship at the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix in 2005, and he completed postdoctoral training in pediatric neurology and molecular neurogenetics at Oregon Health Science University in 2011.

When Kruer originally attended the College of Medicine – Phoenix, it only consisted of three buildings, and Downtown Phoenix had yet to develop. Since his return as a professor, he has witnessed the growth of the college, as well as the downtown landscape.

“The college has exploded,” Kruer said. “None of this was here when I finished medical school. However, cutting-edge science and high-caliber faculty have remained a constant at UA, and it is a true pleasure to be back now as a faculty member.”

Kruer is even colleagues with some of his old professors.

“It’s really fun because I now get to call some of the same faculty who taught me as a student by their first names,” Kruer said.

Kruer’s work has earned numerous honors, including the 2015 Most Recommend Physician by Sanford Children’s Specialty Clinic, the 2014 Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Clinical Scientist Development Award and the 2011 Shields Award by the Child Neurology Society.

Through his work and research with the college, he hopes to get a better understanding of what goes wrong with brain cells in children with movement disorders.

“In 10 years, I hope to be going strong in Phoenix with a thriving lab and challenging clinical practice,” Kruer said. “My role as a faculty member at the college will allow me to be at the center of biomedical innovation in Phoenix for years to come.”

The award he is receiving from UCP honors the memory of Laura Grace Dozer.

“Born three months premature and facing many challenges during her short nine years on earth, Laura left an incredible mark on everyone blessed to know her,” UCP said in a release. This year’s gala will be held on April 13 at the JW Marriott Camelback Inn Scottsdale.

Founded in 1952, UCP of Central Arizona is a nationally recognized agency serving as a private, nonprofit health and human service organization for adults and children with disabilities and their families. It serves almost 3,000 families each year with programs designed to help people with disabilities to reach their full potential and improve their quality of life and that of their family members.