Cara O’Neill, MD, is the Chief Science Officer at Cure Sanfilippo Foundation, a pediatrician, and mother to a daughter with the rare disease Sanfilippo syndrome (MPS III). Dr. O’Neill completed her medical education at West Virginia University School of Medicine and subsequently her Pediatric Residency training at the University of South Carolina.

She has worked both in private practice and academic settings. During her tenure as an Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the University of South Carolina, she helped train medical students and residents, and practiced in a clinic specific to children with special healthcare needs. Dr. O’Neill’s uniquely-paired career and life experiences allow her to bridge gaps between scientists, clinicians, industry, and families, helping foster patient-centered research and future translational paths for rare disease treatments.

Dr. ONeill and her husband founded Cure Sanfilippo Foundation after receiving her daughter’s diagnosis in 2013, guided by the mission to support the creation of treatments and an eventual cure for the disease. Since then, they have spread awareness around the globe about Sanfilippo syndrome via talk shows, news media, online platforms, and international newspapers.

Sanfilippo is a rare genetic condition that causes fatal brain damage. It is a type of childhood dementia and most patients never reach adulthood. But there is hope. Hear the story of Dr. O’Neill’s daughter, Eliza, and learn more about this devastating disease at curesanfilippofoundation.org.

Dr. O’Neill leads patient-focused research efforts within the foundation and has presented at international conferences and authored peer-reviewed journal articles. In addition, she collaborates with other non-profit groups on mutual advocacy and research interests, as well as oversees the foundation’s funding of external scientific programs.

Dr. O’Neill lives in Columbia, South Carolina, with her husband Glenn, son Beckham, and daughter Eliza. Dr. O’Neill is the daughter of Dr. Larry E. Parsons of Evans, West Virginia.

At 7:30 a.m., on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, Dr. O’neill will be presented with the WORLDSymposium 2020 Patient Advocate Leader Award.