The World of Epilepsy, a People’s Guide to Understanding Epilepsy
An Interview with Roy Sucholeiki, MD
Roy Sucholeiki, MD, received his medical degree at the University of South Florida College of Medicine in Tampa. He completed his neurology residency at Boston University Medical Center and a fellowship in epilepsy at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr. Sucholeiki launched and directed the epilepsy program at Loyola Medical Center for several years before joining the staff at Central DuPage Hospital to develop and direct the first comprehensive epilepsy program in the far western suburbs of Chicago. He has published many articles related to epilepsy and given numerous presentations to neurologists, primary care providers, and persons with epilepsy and their families. Dr. Sucholeiki is a member of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Epilepsy Society. He serves on the Professional Advisory Board of the Chicago affiliate of the Epilepsy Foundation.
Q: What compelled you to make a video about epilepsy?
Dr. Roy: During appointments with patients diagnosed with epilepsy, I noticed a significant level of misunderstanding and lack of knowledge about epilepsy. Seeing a need for patients to become better informed was the driving force behind the idea of making our video.
I thought that if I presented a general overview of epilepsy for patients, it would allow them to be better informed. My hope was that office visits would become more efficient and effective if I did not need to counsel patients specifically about the basic facts of epilepsy during the limited time at the appointment. This would then allow us time to talk about other particular issues that might be pertinent to individual patients. Also, when you give patients a DVD that they can watch at their leisure and as many times they needed, it helps them remember information more easily. Moreover, they could invite their family and friends to watch and learn as well.
Q: Had you intended the film for large-scale use?
Dr. Roy: Originally the video was going to be used simply within my practice. Then as time went on I met a young producer, Amy Duzinski, and together we felt we could develop something more professionally produced that might be widely distributed and utilized by anyone. In order to do so, we would need funding. Fortunately, we received educational grants from pharmaceutical companies that covered the developmental costs and the video is now available for educational use by not-for-profit organizations.
Q: How is the DVD designed?
Dr. Roy: It is designed to be a well-rounded overview that reviews seizures, when and how epilepsy is diagnosed, and proceeds to review the current accepted treatment options. Additionally, and what I believe makes the program special, is the number of people with epilepsy that relay their experiences. We also discuss how commonly held misperceptions of epilepsy came about and have led to stigma. Although the program is almost one hour in duration, it is broken into chapters that allow the viewer to pick particular topics of interest.
Q: What do you hope a patient will learn from this?
Dr. Roy: I would want patients to learn that there are physicians and centers whose main focus is on this disorder. I am particularly concerned about a patient, particularly one whose seizures are not fully controlled, who has been inadequately treated and not given an opportunity see an epilepsy specialist.
For family members or friends of a patient with epilepsy, the intent of this film is to help demystify and de-stigmatize epilepsy. Often, I am surprised by the degree of misunderstanding regarding epilepsy. I hope that the information offered in the film will help enable patients to confront epilepsy as they might any other medical problem.
Click here to view the informational DVD he is sharing with us.
Submitted: 04/25/07Edited by: Steven C. Schachter, MD
Return to Articles and Publications