In Memoriam: Blair Ford, MD

September 27, 2022

With great sadness and regret, we write to share news of the death of our esteemed colleague, Blair Ford, MD, Professor of Neurology at CUIMC, who passed away on August 25, 2022 at the age of 61 following a prolonged illness.

Dr. Blair Ford

Blair Ford, MD

After training in Canada and the U.S., Dr. Ford came to Columbia for a fellowship in movement disorders, and joined the faculty of the Department of Neurology in 1994. He quickly earned recognition as a superb clinician, and developed an early, cutting-edge passion for neuromodulation treatment using deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease, tremor, and dystonia. In 1998, Dr. Ford collaborated with the Department of Neurological Surgery to co-found the Center for Neuromodulation and Movement Disorder Surgery, a powerful, patient-focused partnership that remains to this day.

In addition to his prolific clinical and research activities, Dr. Ford was a dedicated and highly acclaimed medical educator, maintaining leadership roles in various training programs—the Neurology Clerkship, the Movement Disorders Fellowship, and the Neurology Residency Program—for the entirety of his career. In 2011, Dr. Ford received the American Academy of Neurology Program Directors Award from the Consortium of Neurology Program Directors, in recognition of the leadership, creativity, and innovation he contributed toward educating the future leaders of Neurology.

At departmental conferences Dr. Ford was ever present. His intelligence, curiosity, and insightfulness were immense: no clinical situation was too challenging for him; he was quick to delight by interjecting elegant, artistic references or famous passages from the literature into didactic discussions!

Those of us who had the great fortune of knowing Blair personally will remember his magnanimous and benevolent nature, his marvelous sense of humor, and his special talent for high-spirited mischief that made him so unique and adored. He will be deeply missed.

We extend heartfelt condolences to the Ford family.

In Sympathy,

Richard Mayeux, MD, MSc
Gertrude H. Sergievsky Professor of Neurology, Psychiatry, and Epidemiology
Chair, Department of Neurology
Director, Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center for Epidemiological Research
Co-Director, Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain

Serge Przedborski, MD, PhD
Page and William Black Professor of Neurology
Vice-Chair, Research
Chief, Movement Disorders Division
Director, Columbia Translational Neuroscience Initiative
Co-Director, Center for Motor Neuron Biology and Disease
Co-Director, Thompson Family Foundation Initiative