Meet This Year’s Burke Award Honorees

Published May 5, 2017

The Burke Award is the highest honor bestowed by Burke’s Board of Trustees and recognizes those who have made significant contributions to the field of rehabilitation, either through personal achievements, the development of research or the establishment of programs and facilities to assist individuals with disabilities.

This year there will be three Burke Award honorees, who will be recognized at the Burke Award dinner on June 8 at the Brae Burn Country Club in Purchase—the largest hospital fundraiser of the year.

Here’s more about this year’s honorees:

Barbara Kessler
School Librarian, Stroke Survivor and National Aphasia Advocate: Barbara, who has been a professional librarian for over 30 years, experienced a severe ischemic stroke that left her unable to walk or talk and completely paralyzed on her right side. After spending months at Burke, Barbara was able to regain function and was diagnosed with aphasia. Today, Barbara—who holds two master’s degrees—is active as a national advocate for brain trauma and stroke patients with aphasia and other challenges, their care providers and families. She is committed to assisting others in reclaiming and improving the quality of their lives and often speaks publicly about aphasia. She is on the board of the National Aphasia Association and helps bring about awareness of the condition.

Steven Kessler
International Financial and Securities Lawyer and Senior Compliance Officer, Caregiver and National Patient Advocate:
Steve, Barbara’s husband, works together with her as national advocates for brain trauma, stroke and aphasia patients, their care providers and families. He has been an international finance and securities lawyer and senior compliance officer for over 30 years. Steve has been actively involved in securities and financial national regulatory affairs, participating in numerous regulatory initiatives with the U.S. Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the New York Stock Exchange. Along with being Barbara’s caregiver, Steve is committed to significantly improving the medical care provided to returning U.S. war veterans.

Michael James Reding, M.D.
Neurorehabilitation Consultant, Former Director of the Stroke Rehabilitation Program at Burke and Associate Professor of Neurology at Weill Medical College:
Dr. Reding is board certified in both internal medicine and neurology. He was the Medical Director of the Stroke Rehabilitation Program at Burke from 1980 until 2013, when he assumed Emeritus Status. Since 1994, he has served on the Board of Directors and held various other leadership roles within the American Society of Neurorehabilitation. He has published over 150 articles, book chapters, and abstracts focused on stroke. Currently, Dr. Reding is a full-time clinical research volunteer at Burke and the Burke Medical Research Institute. 

Along with purchasing a ticket, there are sponsorship opportunities available. To learn more about sponsorship or to purchase your ticket, contact the Development Department at (914) 597-2847.

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