November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month {Interview with Actor Greg Grunberg}

According to new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are more people living with epilepsy in the U.S. than ever before, including approximately 470,000 children and teens and 3.4 million people overall.[iii]

Actor Greg Grunberg (who himself is the father of a son with epilepsy) has served for years as an avid advocate dedicated to raising awareness of the challenges people with epilepsy face every day – particularly children and their families. In partnership with the Epilepsy Foundation, Greg is helping launch the next phase of Talk About It!, an awareness campaign that urges people to have conversations about epilepsy. This November, the campaign is expanding to provide tools and resources to support families and children affected by epilepsy, to help them educate their communities on the condition and how it impacts their lives.

Greg and the Epilepsy Foundation believe that starting conversations about epilepsy can create greater understanding and actions that will help children with the condition feel supported and connected to others facing similar experiences. They want to make sure that children with epilepsy are recognized for what makes them truly special and unique beyond the condition, whether it’s participation in sports, academic achievement, the arts or another personal passion.

Epilepsy is a condition that affects the brain and causes a person to have recurrent seizures. Seizures occur due to a disruption of electrical communication between neurons. Because epilepsy and seizures manifest in many different ways, there is often a lack of understanding about epilepsy and seizures that can lead to misperceptions, insensitive comments, questions and even bullying. One study suggested that children with epilepsy were twice as likely to be bullied as their peers who do not have epilepsy.[iv]

Join me in a recent interview with Greg and Dr. Christi Heck, Chair of the Epilepsy Foundation Professional Advisory Board, as they discuss the Foundation’s Talk About It! campaign to advocate for children living with epilepsy. Greg and Dr. Heck want to enhance education and dialogue to encourage everyone to get to know children with epilepsy as unique individuals and to see beyond their epilepsy. Both guests will discuss the importance of this dialogue and the tools and resources on the campaign website for people to use to support kids with epilepsy and their families.

To view the entire interview, watch below:

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Greg Grunberg Bio

Actor, Writer, Producer Greg Grunberg will next be seen in an HBO Special Presentation directed by award winning director Barry Levinson. Al Pacino stars as ‘Joe Paterno’ and Grunberg will portray his son ‘Scott.’

Grunberg is best known for his roles as Matt Parkman in “Heroes,” The Pretzel King of St. Louis on “Masters of Sex,” Pilot Seth Norris on “Lost,” Agent Weiss on “Alias,” and Sean Blumberg on “Felicity.” On the feature side, Grunberg appeared as X-wing fighter Snap Wexley in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and as Commander Finnegan in “Star Trek Beyond.” Grunberg also produced and hosted alongside Kevin Smith in their pop culture talk show “Geeking Out” for AMC.

He also recurs on “The Flash” for the CW and “Life In Pieces” on CBS. On the feature side, he will co-star in “A Star Is Born” with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga set to premiere in September of 2018.

On the charity side, Grunberg started the celebrity rock band “Band From TV” ( with fellow actors Hugh Laurie, James Denton, Bob Guiney, Jesse Spencer, Adrian Pasdar and Scott Grimes. “Band From TV” has performed on “American Idol” and “The Tonight Show.” Grunberg’s portion of the band’s fundraising

Grunberg, along with long-time collaborator Brad Savage, currently runs Bandwagon Media (, a production company with its hands in all forms of media, ranging from digital production to reality television. Grunberg lives outside Los Angeles with his wife Elizabeth and their three sons. Greg is represented by SC Management.

Dr. Christi Heck Bio

Dr. Heck is Medical Director of the USC Comprehensive Epilepsy Program at the Keck Medical Center in Los Angeles, where she also serves as Chief of Neurology Services and Co-Director for the Neurorestoration Center. She earned her medical degree from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, where she went on to complete a residency in neurology and a fellowship in epilepsy. She is the Chair of the Professional Advisory Board for the Epilepsy Foundation and the Epilepsy Leadership Council. She has served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAECs). From 2011-12, she served on the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on the Public Health Dimensions of the Epilepsies. She has served as a member of the Association of California Neurologists Board of Directors, where she actively participated in opinions and discussions regarding patient care and access to care within the state of California. She volunteers regularly for Hollywood Health and Society of the USC Annenberg School of Communications Norman Lear Center whose goals are the promotion and evaluation of public health topics in film and television. Her research focuses on innovative approaches to treating epilepsy, including responsive neurostimulation and paradigms for optimizing neuromodulatory therapies, vagus nerve stimulation and Gamma Knife radiosurgery. Her expertise also includes services to minority populations as well as furthering understanding of status epilepticus, neuronal injury, memory dysfunction, and the psychosocial impact of epilepsy. She is keenly interested in quality and access to care for epilepsy patients and families across the nation.

*Interview is courtesy: Epilepsy Foundation and Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc.

[i] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “National and State Estimates of the Numbers of Adults and Children with Active Epilepsy — United States, 2015” Accessed August 2017.

[ii] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “More Americans have epilepsy than ever before.” Accessed August 2017. Available online:

[iii] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “More Americans have epilepsy than ever before.” Accessed August 2017. Available online:

[iv] Hamiwka, LD. Are children with epilepsy at greater risk for bullying than their peers? Epilepsy Behav. 2009 Aug; 15(4):500-5. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2009.06.015. Epub 2009 Jul 23. Accessed August 2017.

Cynthia Tait

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