First Lady Honors Center for BrainHealth Leader
Advisory Board Chair Debbie Francis Recognized for Vision and Generosity
Sept. 23, 2008
First lady Laura Bush presented the UT Dallas Center for BrainHealth’s Legacy Award to Debbie Francis, recognizing the advisory board chair’s vision and generosity in her support for brain health research.
The center's second Legacy Award dinner was Sept. 18 at the Rosewood Crescent Hotel.
Francis, who is a longtime friend of the first lady, has served as chair of the Center for BrainHealth’s advisory board since 2005. During her tenure, the center has moved into a new state-of-the-art building, tripled the size of its staff, increased fundraising seven-fold and added 23 new research projects.
“Debbie Francis has played a leading role in the center’s exponential growth. She is always available to help, and her ability to articulate the center’s vision throughout the Dallas community is unparalleled,” said Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman, chief director of the center.
Francis’ commitment to the center is born of personal experience with brain injuries and disease in her family. “Our youngest son was in a near-drowning accident 28 years ago and has extreme brain damage, and my husband’s stepmother had Alzheimer’s disease,” Francis said.
“So we are keenly aware of how the health of one's brain affects every moment of your life, whether normally developing or those with brain injury and disease,” Francis said. “Never have we seen a team of scientists work harder or with more passion than those at the Center for BrainHealth.”
In addition to her role on the board of the Center for BrainHealth, Francis is a member of the local and national boards for United Cerebral Palsy and a board member of the Texas Tech University Laura Bush Institute for Women’s Health. She is also a founding board member for Camp John Marc, a camp for children with a chronic illnesses and physical disabilities.
The host committee for the event included Ruth and Ken Altshuler, Sarah and Ross Perot Jr., Gene and Jerry Jones, Deedie and Rusty Rose, Terry and Bob Rowling, Madeleine and T. Boone Pickens, and Jill Smith as dinner chair.
Dianne Cash was the Center for BrainHealth’s first Legacy Award recipient in 2006.