Professor Birbeck completed her clinical training in neurology and epilepsy at Johns Hopkins Hospitals. She holds board certification with the American Board of Neurology and Psychiatry. She has additional expertise in Tropical Medicine, Epidemiology, Health Services Research and Clinical Trials. Due to her active international research program and associated travel, she provides outpatient clinical care through the URMC Epilepsy Fellows Firm.
Professor Birbeck was graduate Phi Beta Kappa and with honors from Indiana University in Chemistry and Psychology with a Neuroscience focus before she attended medical school at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. She received her MD from Pritzker, graduating Alpha Omega Alpha and with Honors while also receiving the University of Chicago Excellence Award in Neurology. After completing her Internal Medicine internship and Neurology residency training at the Johns Hopkins Hospitals, Professor Birbeck was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar in Health Services Research at UCLA during which time she obtained a Masters in Public Health (Epidemiology). Her additional post graduate training includes an Epilepsy/EEG Fellowship with Dr. Peter Kaplan at Johns Hopkins Bayview Hopsital. In 2006, she attended the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene obtaining her Diploma in Tropical Medicine (DTMH) with honors. From 2000-2013, she served on the faculty for Michigan State University where she founded the International Neurologic & Psychiatric Epidemiology Program. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, the American Neurologic Association and the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene. She has received several awards including Michigan State University's Humanism Award, The Kellogg Foundation's Outreach Scholars Award, the Women Leaders in Medicine Award from the American Medical Student's Association, and the C Peter Magrath Community Engagement Award. She is a US Paul Rogers Society Ambassador for Global Health Research and in 2013, the International League against Epilepsy recognized her as an Ambassador for Epilepsy. In 2013, she joined the Department of Neurology at the University of Rochester with adjunct appointments in the School of Public Health and the Center for Experimental Therapeutics. She also holds adjunct faculty positions with the University of Zambia and the co-director of the Pediatric Neurodiagnostics Laboratory at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi.
Dr. Birbeck's research focuses upon neurologic disorders in resource-limited tropical settings. Since 1994, she has provided clinical care and conducted research in sub-Saharan Africa, primarily Zambia, where she serves as the Director for Chikankata's Epilepsy Care Team in the Zambia's rural Southern Province. Her work has included epidemiologic, health services and clinical research aimed at elucidating risk factors for neurologic morbidity and mortality and developing interventions aimed at ameliorating this burden. She spends 5-6 months annually in Africa. Her active research programs include NIH and foundation-funded projects to
Assess interventions aimed at decreasing the medical and social morbidity of epilepsy and epilepsy-associated stigma in Zambia
A cohort study of HIV-associated seizures and epilepsy in Zambia
A clinical trial evaluating enteral levetiracetam for seizure control in pediatric cerebral malaria (Malawi)
She also collaborates in cerebral malaria research in Uganda and Neuro-HIV clinical trials in Uganda and mentors post-graduate fellows and junior faculty conducting research in Zambia, Malawi, Kenya and South Africa.
A complete listing of Dr. Birbeck's research publications is available at:
International League against Epilepsy, Ambassador for Epilepsy Award
American Medical Student's Association, Women Leaders in Medicine Award
MSU Women's Resource Center, "Award Worthy Woman"
C. Peter Magrath University/Community Engagement Award, National Finalist
W K. Kellogg Outreach Scholar for the North Central Region (US)
MSU Outreach Scholarship Community Partnership Award
MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine, Humanism Award
Elected as a Fellow to the American Neurologic Association
Elected as a Fellow to the American Academy of Neurology
US Paul Rogers Society, Global Health Research Ambassador
MSU Hudzik Emerging Leader in Advancing International Studies
MSU Institute of International Health, Faculty Achievement Award
MSU January "Researcher of the month"
MSU OVPRGS "Best written proposal" Grant Writing Competition
American Clinical Neurophysiology Society Travel Fellowship
National Epifellow Scholar
Maryland Neurologic Society, Best Presentation
AMA Education & Research Foundation, International Medical Student Scholar
University of Chicago, Alpha Omega Alpha Honors Society
University of Chicago, Excellence in Neurology Award
University of Chicago, Pritzker Medicine/Neurology Scholar
University of Chicago, Pritzker Summer Research Grant
Indiana University, Honors Division Research Grant
Indiana University, Phi Beta Kappa
1986 - 1990
Indiana University, Honors Scholar
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Macken M, Birbeck GL. "MELAS syndrome presenting with seizure and deafness in a Malawian boy." Tropical doctor.. 2017 Apr 0; 47(2):188-190. Epub 2016 Sep 23.
Gupta S, Seydel K, Miranda-Roman MA, Feintuch CM, Saidi A, Kim RS, Birbeck GL, Taylor T, Daily JP. "Extensive alterations of blood metabolites in pediatric cerebral malaria." PloS one. 2017 12(4):e0175686. Epub 2017 Apr 20.
Wychowski T, Hussain A, Tivarus ME, Birbeck GL, Berg MJ, Potchen M. "Qualitative analysis of double inversion recovery MRI in drug-resistant epilepsy." Epilepsy research.. 2016 Nov 0; 127:195-199. Epub 2016 Sep 03.
Books & Chapters
Book Title: Epilepsy: Global issues for the practicing neurologist
Author List: Eds. J Engel, GL Birbeck, AG Diop, S Jain & A Palimini.
Published By: Demos2005 in New York
Book Title: Where There is No Neurologist
Author List: GL Birbeck.
Published By: World Federation of Neurology2002
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