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Albany Med Today

$1 Million Gift Funds Philly Dake Chair in Movement Disorders

A new endowed chair has been created at Albany Medical College, made possible by a
$1 million gift from the Philly and Charlie Dake Foundation. Neurologist Adolfo Ramirez-Zamora, MD, was named the first Philly Dake Chair in Movement Disorders.

Dake’s family founded the iconic local Stewart’s Shops in 1945 and Dake was well-known for her philanthropic support of many local institutions. She served as executive vice president of Stewart’s until her death at age 85.

Dake and her husband, Charlie, who died in 1978, both served on boards at Albany Medical Center. Philly served on Albany Medical Center’s Board of Directors from 1982 to 1990, and offered financial support to a variety of programs throughout the years. She was awarded the Partners in Leadership Award in 2004 as the Individual Philanthropist of the Year.

An endowed chair is an elite faculty position financially supported by the funds generated by the investment of a gift designated as an endowment. Plans for the new chair were initially made by Dake in 2009 to assist a friend who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Later, Dake herself was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, a condition her family says she lived with bravely and one which ultimately took her life in 2012.

Dr. Ramirez-Zamora specializes in the management of Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, tremors, gait disorders, dystonia and other movement disorders. His work is focused on the latest treatments with emphasis on clinical trials and the use of botulinum toxin for treatment of neurological diseases. He has a strong interest in examining brain neurophysiology to investigate how abnormal neuronal firing leads to symptoms in these conditions. Additionally, his research and practice include the use of deep brain stimulation to treat movement disorders.

“Dr. Ramirez-Zamora has demonstrated his clinical prowess in this field of neurology,” said Vincent Verdile, MD, ’84, dean and executive vice president for health affairs. “We are very grateful for this generous legacy Mrs. Dake left to Albany Medical College. This endowment will no doubt help fulfill her mission of furthering our understanding of devastating neurological conditions.”