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National Parkinson Foundation Expands Expert Care Network

UC San Diego Health System Designated Center of Excellence 

MIAMI,FL — The Movement Disorder Center at UC San Diego Health System has been designated the 41st Center of Excellence in the National Parkinson Foundation’s (NPF) global network.  This competitive designation is the highest recognition offered by NPF to a Parkinson’s specialty clinic and represents the consensus of leaders in the field that the  multidisciplinary clinic at UC San Diego Health System is among the world’s leading centers for Parkinson’s research, outreach and care. 

NPF Centers of Excellence are designated after a rigorous application and peer-review process. NPF has created a network of the leading academic medical centers that leverage the interplay between cutting-edge research and exemplar patient-focused clinical care.  The Center of Excellence network is a proving ground for new therapies and care models through NPF’s largest grants program and targeted initiatives such as the Parkinson’s Outcomes Project. The network reflects NPF’s ongoing commitment to promoting greater access to expert care.

“It is an honor to continue my association with the National Parkinson Foundation.  The movement disorder program at UC San Diego was intentionally modeled after the Center of Excellence vision because of its comprehensive patient-centered focus,” said Irene Litvan, MD, Tasch Endowed Professor in Parkinson’s Disease Research and Director of the Movement Disorders Center at UC San Diego. “At UC San Diego, we are dedicated to transitioning scientific advances to our patients, and also providing our patients the opportunity to contribute to research and discovery.”

UC San Diego is a leader both scientifically and clinically in several priority areas for patients.  Cognition is a focus at the center, with an interdisciplinary team with deep experience in cognitive assessment and cognitive rehabilitation, based on the department’s pioneering work in Alzheimer's disease A neurodegenerative disorder that results in loss of memory, thinking and language skills and behavioral changes. It is the most common form of dementia..  The center leads in research to understand the cause of Parkinson’s, with strong programs in neuropathology and using stem cells to investigate gene-environment interactions that can lead to the disease.  The center is also working to make sure that the next generation of scientists carries on these efforts, with strong and well-integrated training and fellowship programs. UC San Diego is the 26th Center of Excellence to be added in the U.S., following Emory University in October 2014. 

“Dr. Litvan truly shares NPF’s vision for the integrated research and care enterprise, where patient-focused clinicians deliver the latest care and newest therapies.  Their clinic benefits from research into novel approaches that advance our knowledge and their research agenda reflects the priorities of patients and families,” said Peter Schmidt, PhD, NPF’s Vice President of Research and Professional Programs. 

NPF’s Center of Excellence network features world-renowned Parkinson’s specialists focused on reaching across patient and professional communities to change the course of Parkinson’s disease. The network serves more than 50,000 individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s. In order to participate in the competitive designation process, centers must first meet strict criteria for research, comprehensive care, patient outreach services and professional education.  The NPF Center of Excellence network is widely credited with developing and promoting the modern Parkinson’s team model of care and ensuring patients the highest standards of care.

NPF brings all Centers of Excellence together annually to provide updates on care activities and research initiatives. Each NPF Center of Excellence must re-certify every four years in order to ensure that they maintain high standards of care. This process includes a review of achievements as well as a team-based peer evaluation including an on-site assessment.

About the UC San Diego Health System
UC San Diego Health System, the region's only academic health system, is consistently ranked #1 in the San Diego metropolitan area by U.S. News & World Report with national rankings in 11 specialties. The health system is also ranked by the Leapfrog Group as a Top Hospital and with an A Hospital Safety Score, placing it among the safest hospitals in the United States. UC San Diego Health System is comprised of UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest and UC San Diego Thornton Hospital, Moores Cancer Center (one of only 41 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the country), Shiley Eye Center, Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center and Jacobs Medical Center (opening 2016) in La Jolla, as well as other primary and specialty practices located throughout Southern California.

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