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University of Miami Miller School of Medicine designated Center of Excellence by National Parkinson Foundation

10/19/2007

In recognition of its exceptional work related to Parkinson’s disease, the National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) has named the Department of Neurology’s Center for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine one of the foundation’s 38 international Centers of Excellence. The designation gives the department entrée into a distinguished group of top medical programs in the field including those at Harvard, Johns Hopkins, University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University and King’s College London.

Conceptualized by NPF as the regional “hubs” for Parkinson’s disease research, patient care and community outreach, Centers of Excellence are the place to which patients, physicians and family members can turn for the most up-to-date research, specialized services, support, information and referral services. As such, Centers define the “gold standard” for Parkinson’s-related work.

“This great honor marks a new chapter in the Miller School’s longstanding, extremely productive relationship with the National Parkinson Foundation,” said Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., senior vice president for medical affairs and dean of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. “I applaud our first-class medical staff for their tireless ongoing efforts, which have earned us the distinction of Center of Excellence, and I thank NPF for recognizing our efforts in Parkinson’s disease research, clinical care and community outreach.”

The University of Miami’s affiliation with the National Parkinson Foundation began in 1979 and evolved over time, resulting in the establishment of the UM-NPF Division of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders in 1999. The relationship is now formalized with the Center of Excellence designation for the newly named Center for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders. Physicians from the Miller School’s Department of Neurology, who staff the Center, are at the forefront of diagnosing the disease, setting up treatment and developing appropriate therapies.

“The National Parkinson Foundation is proud to announce that it has designated the University of Miami’s Center for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders, a Center of Excellence,” said Nathan Slewett, chairman emeritus of the National Parkinson Foundation. “The University of Miami and NPF have a long history and this new designation bodes well for the continued growth of the relationship.”

Carlos Singer, M.D., Professor of Neurology and Director of the Center for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders, and Angela Russell, ARNP, Ph.D., Program Administrator and Clinic Coordinator for the Center, look forward to the new networking opportunities the  designation will provide. “We are very honored and excited by this important recognition,” said Dr. Singer. “It allows us to work with an elite group of centers to share ideas and to collaborate on research and community outreach projects in new ways. We are also very grateful to Dr. Bernard Fogel, Dean Emeritus of the Miller School of Medicine, for his wonderful support throughout this process.”  Dr. Fogel, who was instrumental in forging the relationship between the university and NPF, continues to provide support and guidance to Dr. Singer and his team.

Parkinson’s disease, a motor system disorder that occurs when dopamine-producing neurons or nerve cells in the brain die or become impaired, affects approximately 1.5 million Americans. Parkinson’s generally targets older adults, with 1 in every 100 people over the age of 60 affected. Young-onset Parkinson disease (onset at age 40 or younger) is estimated to occur in 5 to 10 percent of patients with Parkinson’s.