The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) recently announced that Wendy Chung, M.D., Ph.D., will receive a 2019 Rare Impact Award during NORD’s Living Rare, Living Stronger Forum June 22, in Houston.

Dr. Chung is the Kennedy Family Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and leader of the Chung Lab at Columbia University. As a clinical and molecular geneticist, she has been working with patients with rare genetic diseases and their families for the last 20 years. One of her areas of interest is the study of rare genetic conditions associated with pulmonary hypertension and other conditions such as autism and birth defects.

“I often feel like the Sherpa for many individuals and families with rare genetic diseases. I guide them along a journey they never thought they would take,” says Dr. Chung. “We learn together as we travel and each of my patients has impacted me and has had a profound effect on my professional and personal lives.”

Dr. Chung’s career has led her to working with families across many different conditions, giving her a unique perspective on the similarities that unite individuals across rare diseases. Her research team has been responsible for the discovery of therapeutics in rare diseases including Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). In addition, she is leading programs that are designed to address the unmet needs of patients and to provide answers to scientific questions needed to develop better treatments in the future.