CDC Epilepsy Program Awards $17.5M in Federal Funds to the Epilepsy Foundation to Create and Sustain a Strong Public Health Infrastructure for Epilepsy

Epilepsy Foundation to Collaborate with Partners as Part of New Cooperative Agreement
Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Bowie, Md., August 11, 2021 — Epilepsy Foundation today announced it has been selected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Epilepsy Program as a funding recipient under a new cooperative agreement: Improving Epilepsy Education, Systems of Care, and Health Outcomes through National and Community Partnerships. The $17.5 million in federal funds over the next five years will support the work of the Epilepsy Foundation and its partners in creating and sustaining a strong public health infrastructure for epilepsy, advancing health equity, improving quality of life and achieving the best outcomes for all people living with the epilepsies.

“We are excited to continue our 20-year collaboration with the CDC to improve the systems of care and support for people with epilepsy,” said Laura Thrall, president and chief executive officer, Epilepsy Foundation. “This award exemplifies the critical importance of transforming the systems of health care and community services, and the way people recognize and respond to someone having a seizure. We are committed to collaborating with all our partners to continue the important work of promoting seizure safety, eliminating health disparities, and leading systemic change to benefit everyone affected by the epilepsies.”

With this funding, the Epilepsy Foundation and its partners will aim to address four key areas:

  • Improve the social environment for people with epilepsy
  • Strengthen the health system to improve epilepsy care
  • Foster connections between clinical services and community programs
  • Address social determinants of health to improve quality of life for people with epilepsy

The Epilepsy Foundation will expand its nationwide regional and affiliate network with additional partner organizations. For the first time in the history of the CDC Epilepsy Program’s cooperative agreement series, multiple awards have been made that will provide a total of $4.7 million in the first year of funding to achieve the goals of a strong public health infrastructure for epilepsy. The Foundation welcomes the opportunity to work alongside the other organizations that received awards for activities in specific geographic or topical areas: the American Epilepsy Society, Epilepsy Association of Western & Central PA, Epilepsy Foundation New England and National Association of School Nurses.

“CDC is proud to work with these organizations in our shared mission to achieve the best outcomes for all people living with epilepsy,” said Karen Hacker, MD, MPH, Director of CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. “The scope of organizations represented, and innovative activities proposed, demonstrate the real potential impact enhanced public health action can have.”

For more information about the Epilepsy Foundation and its partners, visit

About Epilepsy

According to the World Health Organization, epilepsy is the most common serious brain disorder worldwide. The epilepsies are a group of seizure disorders that can affect people of any age, racial or ethnic group, social class, national or geographic location. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) estimates that 3.4 million people in the United States are affected by epilepsy. Epilepsy is characterized by spontaneous seizures, which are sudden abnormal bursts of electrical energy in the brain that disrupt key functions. One in ten people will have a single seizure in their lifetime, and 1 in 26 will be diagnosed with epilepsy.

About the Epilepsy Foundation

With a network of partners throughout the United States, the Epilepsy Foundation is leading the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy. The Foundation connects people to treatment, support and resources; leads advocacy efforts; funds innovative research and the training of specialists; and educates the public about epilepsy and seizure first aid. For more than five decades, the Epilepsy Foundation has shone a light on epilepsy to promote awareness and understanding, and to advocate for laws that matter to people with epilepsy, while also funding epilepsy research and supporting epilepsy investigators and specialists in their early careers. In partnership with the CDC, the Epilepsy Foundation has helped to improve access to care for people with epilepsy, expanded its digital reach and online resources in homes across the country, and trained more than 600,000 people in seizure recognition and first aid. The Epilepsy Foundation has also assisted more than 140,000 people through its 24/7 Helpline, and continues to focus on innovation, new therapies, community services, advocacy and education as key priorities. To learn more visit or call 1.800.332.1000. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Contact Name: 
Jackie Aker
Contact Phone: 
(310) 846-9272
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Our Mission

The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives.

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