patients. “I want my patients and their families to know that epilepsy and other illnesses, psychiatric and medical, are conditions to be treated—not to be used as a label. Patients are people first, who incidentally have an illness.” A lover of words and literature, Dr. Kaufman likes to talk with his patients about the books they are reading. “It gives me a good idea of what makes them tick—what gets them excited,” he says. “My patients are people who have helped mold me into who I am today. Each physician must always remember that every patient teaches us, not only about an illness process but about being a person.” Dr. Kaufman mindfully credits his supporters and mentors. Foremost among them was his mother, an education professor and guidance counselor, who passed away in 2001. In her honor, he established the Rebecca Goldberg Kaufman Ethical Neuropsychiatry Award. The American Epilepsy Society gives the award to the author of the highest-ranking abstract in the psychiatric topic category, and the paper is presented at a session at the society’s annual meeting. The award reads, in part: “She held knowledge and compassion as keystone virtues. As a mother of a child with epilepsy, she understood the significant psychiatric and social ramifications of epilepsy and became a staunch advocate for increased education of the psychological aspects of epilepsy.” “There have been so many bright spots in my life, and my one ongoing regret is that Mom is not here to share them with me,” he says. “Yet I can close my eyes, and she is there before me.” D A Turning Point r. Kaufman’s accomplishments attest to his intellect and grit. Despite uncontrolled seizures, he persevered in his hope of becoming a research chemist—an ambition rooted in his childhood, when he spent days joining his father at the research chemistry bench. At Columbia University, he majored in chemistry, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, graduated summa cum laude, and received the Harvard Fellowship for doctoral studies in organic chemistry. In his first year at Harvard, Dr. Kaufman audited “Sociology of Medicine,” a graduate course taught by Visiting Lecturer Renée C. Fox, PhD, now Annenberg Professor Emerita of the Social Sciences, University of Pennsylvania. “The course showed me medicine, a long-held fascination, from a different perspective,” says Dr. Kaufman. “It introduced me to a different thought process, making me look with a more objective eye and think differently than I had before.” A research project in Dr. Fox’s course took Dr. Kaufman to a neurology clinic, where he overheard a Harvard profesRobert Wood Johnson I MEDICINE 31