Medical Students Get Iced to Highlight ALS Research

Aug. 24, 2014

On Tuesday, August 26 at 6:15 p.m., medical students at the University of Rochester are taking the Ice Bucket Challenge. As they videotape the mass dousing, however, the students will remain in the background.  They’ve asked Robert G. Holloway, M.D., M.P.H., chair of Neurology, to appear front-and-center in the video, explaining the importance of research related to ALS being conducted in Rochester and elsewhere.  Funds raised by the students will be donated to the Upstate New York Chapter of the ALS Association, a partner in the University’s clinical trials.
“We hope to help people better understand what ALS is and why they should support research into relatively rare diseases like this one,” says Andrew Portuguese, a second-year medical student who is organizing the challenge.  “Not only should patients with uncommon diseases be entitled to the same quality of treatment as other patients, history has proven that research on rare diseases advances medical research in general.  Everyone benefits.”
In addition, major advances in gene testing, stem cell therapies, and other medical technologies and treatments are promising a better future for patients who suffer from ALS.  The basic and clinical research required to fulfill this promise, however, requires significant collaboration and resources.  The president of the national ALS Association released a statement last week applauding the Ice Bucket Challenge, noting “never before have we ever been in a better position to fuel our fight…”
DATE:  Tuesday, August 26
TIME:  Promptly at 6:15 p.m.
PLACE:  Saunders Research Building parking lot, corner of Crittenden Boulevard and Kendrick Road
Each of the School of Medicine and Dentistry students participating in Tuesday’s mass Ice Bucket Challenge has agreed to contribute at least $10.  Organizers have also “auctioned off” the right to dump buckets of ice water over the heads of several of the medical school’s advisory deans.