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MJFF Parkinson’s Program Teaches Health Care Trainees

MDS-PAS Movement Disorders School for Neurology Residents

The Michael J. Fox Foundation, in partnership with the Edmond J. Safra Foundation, supported the sixth annual MDS-PAS Movement Disorder School for Neurology Residents program on November 6, 2021.

Depending on where they train, some doctors and other clinicians may, unfortunately, get little exposure to Parkinson’s disease (PD) care and research. To educate early-stage health care professionals, The Michael J. Fox Foundation, with partner the Edmond J. Safra Foundation, sponsors the MDS-PAS Movement Disorders School for Neurology Residents.

Recently, the sixth annual program engaged 177 participants from around the world. Attendees learned the latest in Parkinson’s care and research from internationally recognized movement disorder specialists, people living with movement conditions, and peers.

The “hybrid” course offers a library of pre-recorded, on-demand lectures and a full day of live, interactive instruction. The program includes lectures, panel discussions and patient examinations. (Through real-time doctor-patient interactions, an individual living with disease shares their personal experience, exam findings, and what they want trainees to know.) Participants learn how to recognize and treat Parkinson’s and other common movement disorders as well as what careers in the field can look like.

This year’s course was co-directed by Tanya Simuni, MD, Director of the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center and Chief of Movement Disorders in the Department of Neurology at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, and Oscar Gershanik, MD, Professor of Neurology and Scientific Director at the Institute of Neuroscience at Favaloro University in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Eleven additional movement disorder specialists from around the world served as faculty.

Over six years, the program has engaged nearly 750 health care trainees. Course attendees overwhelmingly report enhanced understanding of movement disorders care and research as well as enthusiasm for progress in the field. For many, the program confirms or inspires an interest in pursuing a career in movement disorders, caring for people with PD and leading research toward better understandings and treatments. And even for those who do not choose movement disorders, the course is an essential tool to enhancing care. It teaches professionals across all areas of health care to recognize Parkinson’s disease and work with PD experts to optimize their patients’ care.

This course complements MJFF’s Edmond J. Safra Fellowship in Movement Disorders, another initiative with partner the Edmond J. Safra Foundation. This program funds medical centers around the world to train new Parkinson’s doctor-researchers, growing the global base of specialists to care for people with PD and fuel research. To date, the program has graduated 21 new specialists across the world and is on track to graduate 48 movement disorder specialists by 2025. Learn more about the fellowship.

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