The Fund was created to honor the memory of Brenda Lucille Miller, a South African who lived with multiple sclerosis. Neurological illnesses tend to be underdiagnosed and undertreated in South Africa, and take a tremendous toll on individuals and families.
The purpose of the Fund is to build capacity in the areas of prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and management of neurological diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Such capacity will benefit not only South Africa but the entire continent, as South Africa can become a clinical leader in these diseases for the region. The Fund will contribute to the development of South Africa’s ability to discover, deliver, and disseminate novel strategies through helping its medical and scientific professionals to get exposure to research and treatment developments in the United States and to provide ongoing mentoring and support for these practitioners as they return to South Africa.
The Fund brings early career doctors or scientists—those having just completed their medical and/or doctoral studies and beginning their clinical, teaching, or scientific careers—to Los Angeles for periods of one month to one year to work with UCLA faculty to learn clinical diagnostic and treatment skills in surgical, hospital, and outpatient clinical settings, with the goal of applying their new knowledge and skills to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and management of neurological diseases in South Africa and improve the health and well-being of their fellow South Africans.
The Fund is merit-based and competitive, with awards granted based on applicants’ training, records of achievement, and potential to succeed. An impartial panel comprised of UCLA and South African scientists, physicians, and professionals select finalists who go through an interview process to determine the awardees.