J. Kiffin Penry Pediatric Epilepsy Programs

About The Programs


Championing education, improving care

The mission of the J. Kiffin Penry Pediatric Epilepsy Programs, and the legacy of Dr. Penry, is to improve the care and quality of life of patients with epilepsy by providing physicians with high quality, comprehensive educational programs. These programs seek to maximize the clinical impact on patients by providing physicians with a total educational experience in a unique learning environment.

History of the Programs

Dr. J. Kiffin Penry was one of the most influential figures of his generation in the field of epilepsy, and was known both for his innovation and strong patient advocacy. In the late 1970s, Dr. Penry recognized a tremendous need for physician education in the field of epilepsy. He envisioned a comprehensive epilepsy education program to train neurologists in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of seizures in order to improve the treatment of patients with epilepsy. In 1986 his vision became a reality with the first Epilepsy MiniFellowship Program.

The program was an instant success, and in the years that followed the MiniFellowship came to be widely regarded in the epilepsy community for its unique and intensive educational model. Soon, other programs joined the MiniFellowship, including a program for neurology residents, a condensed weekend course, and a course focusing on epilepsy in the developmentally delayed. To date, more than 4000 physicians have attended one or more of the courses, approximately one in five of neurologists in the United States.

While pediatric epilepsy topics are addressed in the MiniFellowship courses, a growing demand was expressed for a series of programs devoted to those who specialize in treating epilepsy in children and adolescents. In 2006 the J. Kiffin Penry Pediatric Epilepsy Programs met this demand, made possible through the generous support of UCB. These new programs were developed from the ground up under the guidance of the Advisory Board, and incorporated lessons learned in the J. Kiffin Penry Epilepsy Education Programs’ twenty years of experience.

Each program is tailored to its target audience: child neurologists; child neurology residents; adult neurologist who treat the pediatric population in their practice; and pediatric nurse practitioners. In 2007 a program was offered for pediatric neurologists in the international community, with a faculty of internationally recognized epilepsy experts from the US and abroad.


J. Kiffin Penry's medical career spanned 45 years. He trained in internal medicine and neurology at Bowman Gray School of Medicine and the Boston City Hospital. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, he joined the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes (NINDS) of the National Institutes of Health as the head of the Section on Epilepsy and Chief of Special Projects. Dr. Penry gained an international reputation for his work on the diagnosis and classification of epileptic seizures and syndromes. He started the Antiepileptic Drug Development Program that has since yielded several new antiepileptic agents. He also pioneered the development of antiepileptic drug-level monitoring, the use of simultaneous, closed-circuit TV and EEG monitoring, and the establishment of comprehensive epilepsy care centers.

In 1979, Dr. Penry returned to his alma mater, Bowman Gray School of Medicine, as Professor of Neurology, head of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center and Associate Dean for Research Development, a position he held until his passing in 1996.

Championing education, improving care