Bennet Omalu, M.D. & Scott Kelso, Ph.D.

Medical Science

Bennet Omalu, M.D., came to the United States in 1994 with a World Health Organization scholarship, obtaining all of his post-graduate and advanced medical education in the U.S. Today, he holds eight medical and non-medical degrees and certifications, including a Master’s in Business Administration from Carnegie Mellon University and a Master’s in Public Heath in Epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Omalu continues to work as a forensic pathologist, neuropathologist and epidemiologist. He is the President of Bennet Omalu Pathology, Inc., a private medico-legal consulting corporation which he founded and he works part-time as a forensic pathologist and neuropathologist at San Joaquin County in California. He also continues to work as a medical and legal consultant, advising varieties of governmental and nongovernmental agencies, hospitals, corporations, industries, families and private attorneys in complex medical and legal cases.

J.A. Scott Kelso, Ph.D., holds the Glenwood and Martha Creech Eminent Scholar Chair in Science at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton where he is also Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Biological Sciences and Biomedical Sciences. From 1985–2005 he served as the Founding Director of Florida Atlantic’s Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences where he also led the NIH’s National Training Program in this new interdisciplinary field. Using a combination of brain imaging, behavioral methods and computational modeling, Kelso’s research focuses on how the brain is coordinated on multiple levels, all the way from cells to cognition and social behavior.

Kelso was educated at Foyle College in Derry, N. Ireland and later at Universities in Belfast, Calgary and Madison, Wisconsin where he received both M.Sc. (1973) and Ph.D. degrees (1975). Before coming to FAU, Kelso was Senior Research Scientist at Yale University’s Haskins Laboratories and Professor of Psychology and Biobehavioral Sciences at the University of Connecticut.

His books include "Human Motor Behavior" (Erlbaum, 1982), “Dynamic Patterns: the Self-Organization of Brain and Behavior” (MIT Press, 1995), “Coordination Dynamics” (Springer, 2004) and “The Complementary Nature” (MIT Press, 2006). He is an elected Fellow of APA, APS, SEP and AAAS and has received a number of honors and awards for his work, including the MERIT, Senior Scientist and Director’s Innovations Awards from the U.S. National Institute of Health, the Distinguished Alumni Research Achievement Award from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and the Docteur Honoris Causa degree from the Republic of France and the University of Toulouse. In 2007 he was named Pierre de Fermat Laureate and in 2011 he was the recipient of the Bernstein Prize for his fundamental work revealing how the brain controls movement.

An Evening with Dr. Bennet Omalu

The First Doctor to Discover and Diagnose Chronic Brain Damage in NFL Athletes

Dr. Bennet Omalu’s story is one of great triumph in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Born in 1968 in Eastern Nigeria during the civil war, his family lived as refugees, his town under constant fire by the Nigerian Air Force. Despite suffering warrelated under-nutrition in the first two years of his life, Omalu would go on to attend medical school at age 15 and become a physician by age 21.

In 2002, Dr. Omalu made a career breakthrough when he became the first doctor to discover and identify chronic brain damage as a major factor in the deaths of some professional athletes. He called the disease Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), which he first discovered as the result of an autopsy he performed on Mike Webster — one of the best Centers in NFL history. “Iron Mike,” the legendary Pittsburgh Steeler and Hall of Famer, died at age 50, his brain revealing something doctors had never seen before. Within five years of reporting on Webster’s case, Dr. Omalu went on to identify CTE in eight more deceased NFL players. He was also the first to discover CTE in military veterans diagnosed with PTSD, as well as professional wrestlers. But his findings were summarily dismissed — and even ridiculed — by his professional peers, the NFL and the sports industry. The NFL even made a concerted effort to retract Dr. Omalu’s published papers, but he stood his ground in search of the truth.

Today, CTE has become generally accepted and Dr. Omalu’s findings have revolutionized neuroscience, sports medicine and safety, the study of all types of brain trauma and the entire sports industry. In 2015, Omalu’s life and work will be chronicled in a book and film, both titled “Concussion.” The book is set for release in November 2015 and Will Smith will portray Dr. Bennet Omalu in the film, which hits theaters Christmas Day, 2015.

A book-signing event will follow the lecture.
Register Early! There is a $5 charge for registering on the day of a one-time lecture or event.

Course # W1T4 — One Time Event
Place:Auditorium, Lifelong Learning Complex, Jupiter Campus
Dates:Tuesday, February 16 2016
Time:7 - 8:30 PM
Fee:$55 / member; $65 / non-member

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 Last Modified 2/12/15