Thank you for being a part of our Open Medicine Foundation family. As we reflect on the achievements of the past year, I would like to honor the memory of Ronald Tompkins, MD, ScD, OMF’s beloved Chief Medical Officer and Director of the Harvard Collaborative, who helped make so many of these accomplishments possible over the years.
With heavy hearts, we announced the news of Ron Tompkins’s sudden and unexpected passing on January 17th, 2022. I join Ron’s family, friends, and all who knew Ron, in being deeply heartbroken by this tragedy.
Ron was not only a wonderful, caring friend and colleague with whom I shared endless hours brainstorming ideas, but he was a leader, a mentor, and a brilliant physician, scientist, and entrepreneur. He had a genuine passion and mission to help as many people as possible. I cannot begin to express how much he will be missed.
I met Ron Tompkins when Ron Davis asked him to join our OMF Scientific Advisory Board in 2014. He joined with his whole heart and we became instant friends.
We vow to continue Ron’s legacy at OMF in all we do and at the newly named Ronald G. Tompkins ME/CFS Research Collaboration. In his honor, we will continue to help as many people as possible and find treatments for millions suffering from these multisystem chronic complex diseases (msCCD), including ME/CFS, and now Long COVID.
Through this difficult time, I sincerely thank you for being part of our mission to improve the lives of millions living with these debilitating diseases; a cause so close to Ron’s heart. I also want to thank the patient-participants. Without you, there would be no research. And thank you to all the dedicated researchers, OMF staff, volunteers, and board members that help us get closer to our vision every day.
With hope for all,
Founder & CEO/President
A Champion of ME/CFS Research, and Friend to All
In Dr. Tompkins’ role as OMF’s Chief Medical Officer, he facilitated communication between the OMF funded Collaborative Research Centers and supervised OMF’s overall strategic plan. This includes patient care, access to treatment, and the development of innovative diagnostics. However, Dr. Tompkins innovative work spanned so much beyond this one title.
Dr. Tompkins was a kind individual, guided by his determination to help others. From his start on OMF’s Scientific Advisory Board in 2014, he brought a unique and compassionate perspective to the field of ME/CFS research. Today, we share with you just a few of the countless reasons why Dr. Tompkins was a pillar of hope in the ME/CFS community and a friend to all:
Dr. Tompkins was on a mission to transform the medical community’s understanding of ME/CFS and related diseases:
In 2018, OMF launched the Harvard ME/CFS Collaboration at the Harvard Affiliated Hospitals with Dr. Tompkins and Wenzhong Xiao, PhD, as Co-Directors. In addition to rigorous research, Dr. Tompkins set out on a tireless effort to educate other doctors within the Harvard community about ME/CFS and related diseases.
Word of Ron Tompkins’s transformative work spread within the worldwide ME/CFS community and beyond. Health blogger Cort Johnson aptly referred to Dr. Tompkins’s impact as the “Tompkins Effect,” publishing an article that highlighted Dr. Tompkins’ vision for the future of medicine:
“Tompkins and Xiao want to transform how people with ME / CFS within the Harvard hospital system are treated as well. They want patients to get the right tests and see the right specialists. They want the doctors they’re working with to be on the same page with regard to diagnostic protocols, standard testing protocols, referrals, etc.”
Dr. Tompkins brought his special clinical experience of injury and trauma to ME/CFS research:
Dr. Tompkins spent a large portion of his impressive medical career studying the genomics of injury. Specifically, he had experience working with patients who have survived life-threatening traumas and examined how the body responds to injury on a molecular level. This investigative process was facilitated through the NIH-funded “Glue Grant Program.”
This large-scale, in-depth data analysis provided Dr. Tompkins with a special understanding of inflammation and metabolic features of humans in response to severe stresses. He soon discovered that this knowledge was highly applicable to ME/CFS. Watch this illuminating interview with Ron, in which he explains the Glue Grant Program.
Dr. Tompkins always put the patient first:
As shared by a person with ME/CFS, “As an audience member who had heard Ron speak at a panel on ME/CFS, I decided to write to him with a question of a personal nature, not necessarily expecting a reply. Without knowing me from a hole in the wall, Ron wrote back to me warmly and with great compassion. Such a rarity. His passing is a great loss.”
We invite you to read and contribute more touching memories, messages, and ways in which Ron Tompkins’ work inspired hope on our KudosBoard. We will share this board with Ron’s family so they can read how much Ron meant to so many.
In lieu of flowers, Ron Tompkins’ family asks that donations in Ron’s memory be made to Open Medicine Foundation. Your donation will continue Ron’s legacy by supporting research at the Ronald G. Tompkins ME/CFS Collaboration at the Harvard Affiliated Hospitals.
A Year of Powerful Research Progress 🔬
OMF Funded ME/CFS Collaborative Research Center Updates of 2021
Thanks to our supporters, we helped advance groundbreaking research in 2021 at the six OMF funded Collaborative Research Centers across the globe.
We Established a Sixth Research Center!
As part of our mission to fund and facilitate urgent, open, and collaborative research, in 2021 OMF added a sixth center to our international OMF Collaborative Research Network to accelerate computational analysis.
Under the direction of Wenzhong Xiao, PhD, the newly established Computational Research Center for Complex Diseases analyzes and provides critical information and insights into projects being conducted at the other five OMF funded research centers at Stanford, Harvard, Uppsala, Montreal, and Melbourne.
Hosted a Virtual Open House for the Community
In May 2021, OMF hosted a virtual event to update our OMF funded Collaborative Research Centers. Our “Virtual Open House” was a success, with thousands tuning in to hear the latest updates from the six Directors.
Watch it now on YouTube.
Funded Groundbreaking New Studies
Over 25 OMF funded research projects are currently underway! In 2021 alone, we funded thirteen new projects, including:
- Neuroinflammation Study into “Brain Fog”
- Viral Risk Factors in ME/CFS
- Identification of switches/traps in ME/CFS nitrogen metabolism
- Sleep Disturbances in ME/CFS
- Computational Analysis for CRC Studies
- pRecision mEdicine for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Drug dIscovery and clinicAl triaLs (REMEDIAL)
- Continued Development of the Personalized Automated Symptom Summary Computerized Adaptive Test (PASS-CAT)
- Analysis of Proteomics, Metabolomics, and Nitrogen Assays of Cerebrospinal Fluid and Whole Blood samples, in ME/CFS Patients
- Development of a New Microfluidic Diagnostic Device for ME/CFS
- Study of COVID- 19 survivors’ Profiles for detection of M.E.
- Deep proteome and Metabolome profiling to decode M.E.
- Identifying Objective Behavioral Markers of Deficit in Patients with ME/CFS via Ocular Motor Study
- Identifying Disease Development Pathways and Exacerbating Factors
To learn more about some of these major research initiatives taking place across the six OMF funded Research Centers, please visit The End ME/CFS Project Webpage.
Awards, News Features, & Community in Action
Open Medicine Foundation is proud to have received the following accolades:
- 2021 “Top-Rated Nonprofit” recognition by Great Nonprofits
- Platinum level recognition from Guidestar for our commitment to transparency.
- Two scores of “100 Encompass Rating” from Charity Navigator in Finance & Accountability and Leadership & Adaptability.
- OMF was featured on South African News Channel, Carte Blanche! This report highlights OMF’s research efforts to investigate the connection between ME/CFS and Long COVID. Watch the full segment.
- A publication by Dr. Alain Moreau, PhD of the OMF Montreal Collaborative was named one of the top 100 Scientific Reports papers in 2020. It is entitled “Profile of circulating microRNAs in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and their relation to symptom severity, and disease pathophysiology.”
- OMF Ambassador Jennie Jacques bravely shared her journey living with ME/CFS in The Times
New Tool to Educate your Personal Community
In September of 2021, OMF unveiled our Social Shareables web portal, a new tool to help you educate your personal communities about ME/CFS and related multisystem chronic, complex diseases (msCCD).
The Social Shareables page can be used to download educational graphics and sample text posts about ME/CFS, Fibromyalgia, Long COVID, and Chronic Lyme Disease. You can share these posts directly on social media to raise awareness.
Thank you for being a part of the OMF family! If you are able, please consider contributing to our groundbreaking research efforts in 2022 so that we can finally find answers for millions suffering from ME/CFS and related chronic, complex diseases.