Introduction to the Center

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The Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center has been part of the Ken and Ruth Davee Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurological Sciences at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine since 2000. In the setting of a leading academic medical center the mission of the Center is to provide innovative, multidisciplinary care for patients and families affected by PD and other movement disorders; to educate and support patients, caregivers, family members, health care providers and community at large; and to conduct research to extend the knowledge and treatment of movement disorders.

The Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center is recognized by the National Parkinson Foundation as one of its Centers of Excellence. Patients and families who come to our Center receive multidisciplinary comprehensive care, including assessment by a movement disorders neurologist, comprehensive pharmacological therapy, neurosurgical evaluation for deep brain stimulation, physical, occupational, and speech therapy through direct collaboration with the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, neuropsychological evaluation, and social work services including consultation, counseling, support groups, and access to community services and resources.

The Center is involved in numerous clinical, translational, and collaborative basic science research projects. The Feinberg School of Medicine is a National Institutes of Health Morris K. Udall Center for Parkinson's research, one of only 12 centers nation-wide. The central goal of the Northwestern Udall Center, headed by Dr. D. James Surmeier, is to determine how neural activity in basal ganglia circuits is altered in Parkinson's disease. Our Center is collaborating with the Udall Center on conducting translational research projects with the goal of developing new therapies for Parkinson's disease. The Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center is a member of the Parkinson Study Group and Dystonia Study Group.

Outreach activities of the Center are directed toward identifying communities with limited clinical and educational services, sponsoring patient/caregiver symposia, offering support groups and educating allied health professionals.

The National Parkinson Foundation, Inc. (NPF), founded in 1957 and located in Miami, Florida, is a premier, international organization that funds research and provides support services, education, outreach, and advocacy for persons with Parkinson disease and their loved ones. Centers of Excellence (COEs) are a core component of the NPF research and care-delivery system. NPF expects COEs to be the regional “hub” and “gold standard” for Parkinson's disease care and research. The NPF Board of Directors, along with the COE Review Board, grants the designation "Center of Excellence" when a Center has demonstrated the following:

  1. The highest quality in patient care
  2. Implementation of "best practices"
  3. Leadership in developing targeted research to extend the knowledge of PD
  4. Innovative models of education, services, and outreach.

Institutions awarded the COE designation must apply annually for re-approval of their designation. All NPF Centers of Excellence collaborate, network, share ideas, and learn from one another. This type of exciting professional interchange builds partnerships, practice models, professional growth, and ultimately, enhanced patient care.