By Eric Althoff
MIAMI—The Parkinson’s Foundation has opened three new Centers of Excellence to help the organization continue fighting the debilitating disease.
The foundation says that each “Center of Excellence” offers specialized care from neurologists, movement disorder specialists, rehabilitation professionals, mental health professionals and others who assist in the specialized care of Parkinson’s disease management.
The three new Centers of Excellence will be named the University of Colorado Movement Disorders Center, Indiana University School of Medicine and Jefferson Health’s Comprehensive Parkinson’s Disease & Movement Disorder Center in Philadelphia.
“The newly designated Centers of Excellence join a network that is setting the highest standards of care for people with PD worldwide,” stated John L. Lehr, president and CEO of the Parkinson’s Foundation. “We are proud to further our commitment to improving the quality of life for people with Parkinson’s and making a difference in underserved communities across the country.
The Parkinson’s Foundation announced that medical centers focusing on the country’s underserved populations would be given priority in the application process for new Centers of Excellence locations. The sites also needed to be able to deliver the highest level of patient-centered care and be engaged in relevant clinical research, ongoing professional training and various levels of community outreach.
“We learned so much about our own program going through the rigorous process to receive the designation as a Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence,” said Maureen Leehey, professor of neurology and chief of Movement Section at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. “The team at the University of Colorado is thrilled to be part of a larger network of high-performing sites that allow us to share what we do well and create opportunities to raise the bar by incorporating successful programs from other sites.”
Parkinson’s affects approximately 1 million Americans and 10 million people worldwide, the foundation said, making it the second-most-common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s—and the 14th-leading cause of death in the United States. Some 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States, they said.
Furthermore, the foundation said that only a small portion of people diagnosed every year receive the care they need, which was why they stepped in with Center of Excellence programs.
The three new medical centers bring the foundation’s total number of national care centers to 48, including 34 in the U.S.