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Centers of Excellence Make Excellent Choices for Parkinson’s Disease Care

Image of Muhammad Ali Parkinson's Center

Muhammad Ali Parkinson's Center

Searching for a list of Centers of Excellence, such as that of which I happened upon when searching for my missing Movement Disorders doctor (he knew where he was, however I didn’t), I came upon a government listing for these centers which fascinated me.

The NINDS, otherwise known as the National Institute of Neurological Disorders of Stroke, is an organization that has a mission to minimize the burden of neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease (Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease included), Dystonia, Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, Alzheimer’s, etc.  These diseases, as stated by the NINDS, are diseases that are non-discriminatory and are ‘borne by every age group, by every segment of society, and by people all over the world’.

Part of the mission of the NINDS is to support research on Parkinson’s disease.  This program was started to honor former Arizona congressman, Morris K. Udall.

Mr. Udall was elected to the House of Representatives in 1961, replacing his brother who went on to become an integral part of President Kennedy’s staff as the Secretary of Interior. Although Morris Udall remained in the House of Representatives for almost thirty years, he had been diagnosed with PD for 12 years prior to retiring.  It was only seven years later that Udall passed away, in 1998, presumably from complications from a long battle with PD. A year prior to his death, President Clinton signed the Morris K. Udall Parkinson’s Disease Research Act of 1997 into law.

According to the National Parkinson’s Foundation, centers worldwide “deliver care to more than 50,000 Parkinson’s patients; create a community of health care professionals dedicated to Parkinson’s care; and work to advance a comprehensive approach to care that addresses the whole person and full range of symptoms.”In order to accomplish this, the movement disorders team must fulfill a list of criteria, which in turn leads to these specific centers being recognized by their medical peers as ‘leaders in PD care.’  This criteria includes:

  • See a sufficient volume of patients to have exposure to the diverse manifestations of Parkinson’s disease and wide array of treatment options;
  • Deliver care to patients in a team model that addresses the broad spectrum of symptoms and treatment options for PD;
  • Employ neurologists with training in movement disorders or a specialization in Parkinson’s disease who balance research, education, and care in their practices;
  • Provide support services to families and caregivers;
  • Provide access to the full spectrum of evidence-backed therapeutic options including a neurosurgery team experienced with surgical options for Parkinson’s patients;
  • Demonstrate commitment to clinical training;    Empower patients and caregivers by promoting and educating around self-directed activities such as managing exercise and nutrition;
  • Provide patients and families with access to current information about Parkinson’s disease;
  • Advance our understanding of Parkinson’s disease through collaborative and investigator-initiated clinical research;
  • Provide patients access to experimental therapies through participation in clinical trials.[1]

In addition, the National Parkinson’s Foundation says they have all centers come together at least once a year to bring them the latest information on ‘care activities, research initiatives, and it provides funding so that the medical director and nurse coordinator of each center can participate’. Each center is also required to be re-certified every three years, which includes looking at the achievements accomplished by the individual center.  This review is done by a peer-review committee, as well as NPF staff.When I finished reading about this, I was amazed and thought how well cared for the patients are that have the ability to see a Movement Disorder Specialist in one of these centers.  I think one of the main reasons is, there is accountability within these organizations, which leads to a greater degree of integrity.  What does that mean to you as a patient?  You are better cared for, are not having to go from one doctor to another to find a good one, and the care you receive should be, according to their mission, top quality.

I happened upon a Center of Excellence due to the fact that my doctor ended up at one.  I didn’t search for one.  I didn’t even know they existed until a year ago.  I do now and I can vouch for them, that they truly are – Centers of Excellence.  If you have not visited one or heard of them, I recommend that you see if you might be near one.  If you are not satisfied with the care you are receiving, feel your medical team may not be up to date with the latest care for their patients, or just want to see if a change in care is warranted, give them a call (see listings below) and see if it’s a fit for you.  It’s definitely worth the call.

Centers of Excellence (Listed alphabetically by state, then by International Centers of Excellence)

United States


Barrow Neurological Institute, Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center, Anthony Santiago, MD, (602) 406-420


University of Southern California, Parkinson’s Disease and Other Movement Disorders Center, Daniel Togasaki, MD, PhD, (323) 442-5982

University of California, San Francisco, Parkinson’s Disease Clinic and Research Center, Michael Aminoff, MD, DSC, (415) 476-9276

The Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center, Sunnyvale, Melanie Brandabur, MD, (408) 542-5646

District of Columbia

Georgetown University Hospital, Fernando Pagan, MD, (202) 444-2333


University of Florida, Parkinson’s Disease & Movement Disorders Center, Department of Neurology, Irene Malaty, MD, (352) 273-5550

University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center, Carlos Singer, MD, (305) 243-673

University of South Florida, Parkinson’s Disease & Movement Disorders Center, Robert Hauser, MD, MBA, (813) 844-4547


Health Sciences University, Department of Neurology, John Morgan, MD, PhD, (706) 721-2798


Northwestern University, Parkinson’s Disease & Movement Disorders Center, Chicago, Tanya Simuni, MD, (312) 503-4397


University of Kansas Medical Center, Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder Center, Kelly Lyons, PhD & Rajesh Pahwa, MD, (913) 588-7179


University of Louisville,Movement Disorder Program, Irene Litvan, MD,    (502) 852-3655


Johns Hopkins Medical Institute, Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center, Zoltan Mari, MD, (410) 955-8795


Massachusetts General Hospital, Wang Ambulatory Care Center (WACC), Albert Hung, MD, (617) 724-9234

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Parkinson’s Disease & Movement Disorders Center, Daniel Tarsy, MD, (617) 667-2699


Struthers Parkinson’s Center, MN, Martha Nance, MD, (952)993-5214

New York

SUNY Downstate Medical Center/Kings County Hospital, Parkinson’s Disease and Related Disorders Clinic, Ivan Bodis-Wollner, MD, DSc, (718) 270-7371

Beth Israel Medical Center, The Movement Disorders Center, Phillips Ambulatory Care Center, Susan Bressman, MD, (212) 844-6134

Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Bendheim Parkinson and Movement Disorder, Steven J. Frucht, MD, (212) 241-2477

NYU Langone Medical Center, Parkinson’s Disease & Movement Disorders Center, Alessandro Di Rocco, MD & Ruth Hagestuen, RN, (646) 505-5744

University of Rochester Medical Center, Movement and Inherited Neurological Disorders Unit, Kevin Biglan, MD, (585) 276-3987

North Carolina

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Medicine, Department of Neurology, Nina Browner, MD & Alexander Tröster, PhD, (919) 966-5549

Duke University Medical Center, Department of Neurology, Mark Stacy, MD, (919) 684-5128


Oregon Health & Science University,Parkinson Center of Oregon, John Nutt, MD & Julie Carter, MS, ANP, (503) 494-5620


University of Pennsylvania, Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center, Andrew Siderowf, MD, (215) 829-7273


Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Vanderbilt Parkinson’s Disease Center, Thomas Davis, MD, (615) 936-5517


Baylor College of Medicine, Parkinson’s Disease Center & Movement Disorders Clinic, Joseph Jankovic, MD (713) 798-3951


Booth Gardner Parkinson’s Care Center, Monique Giroux MD, (425) 899-3123


Victorian Comprehensive Parkinson’s Program, Geriatric Research Unit, Robert Iansek, MD, 61 3 9265 1482


University of Calgary/Calgary Health Region, Movement Disorders Program, Oksana Suchowersky, MD, (403) 944-4392

University of Alberta, Movement Disorders Clinic, Wayne Martin, MD, (780) 735-8805

University of British Columbia, Pacific Parkinson’s Research Centre, Jon Stoessl, MD, FRCPC, (604) 822-7660

University of Western Ontario, London Health Sciences Center, Mandar Jog, MD, (519) 685-8500, ext. 35311

Markham Stouffville Hospital, Centre for Movement Disorders, Mark Guttman, MD, FRCPC, 905-472-7082, ext. 234

Toronto Western Hospital, Movement Disorders Center, Anthony Lang, MD, (416) 603-5875, ext. 1

McGill Movement Disorders Clinic, Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, Edward Fon, MD, (514) 934-8026


Philipps University, Department of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine, Wolfgang Oertel, MD, 49 6421 28 66278


Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Nir Giladi, MD, 9 723 697-4912

The Netherlands

Radboud University, Nijmegen Medical Center, Nijmegen Parkinson Center, Professor Bastiaan Bloem, 011-31-24-3615202


National Neuroscience Institute, Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Centre, Louis Tan, MD, 65-6357-7171


National Taiwan University Hospital, Centre for Parkinson Disease & Movement Disorders, Department of Neurology, Ruey-Meei Wu, MD, 886-2-2356-2143 ext 62144

United Kingdom

Derby Hospitals, NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Nottingham, Departments of Clinical Neurology and Neurodegenerative Disorders, Nin Bajaj, MD, 01332 347141 ext 2749

King’s College Hospital, NHS Foundation Trust, London, Ray Chaudhuri, MD, Co-director, 020 3299 9000 ext 1235

[1]National Parkinson’s Foundation, Centers of Excellence


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