The Movement Disorders Clinic at Augusta University Medical Center recently earned a five-year extension as a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence. The clinic originally earned this prestigious national recognition in 2002 under Dr. Kapil Sethi and was the only designated COE in Georgia or South Carolina at that time. This latest renewal extends to 2023.
“Retaining national designation as a Center of Excellence means that when patients with Parkinson’s and other movement disorders come to AU Medical Center, they will receive some of the best care in the country, including a multidisciplinary team of specialists and access to the latest in cutting-edge research and treatments,” said Lee Ann Liska, AU Medical Center CEO. “This is part of the academic health advantage that sets us apart in this region and across the Southeast.”
There are currently 45 medical centers in the world with COE designation; 31 of these are in the United States with only two in Georgia.
Dr. John Morgan, director of the COE and professor and interim chair of the Department of Neurology at the Medical College of Georgia, is excited about the renewal of the COE designation.
“This helps our program provide the absolute best care for the citizens of Georgia and South Carolina,” he said. “Our team approach to care helps patients, care partners and families live their lives to the fullest. Access to cutting edge clinical research trials also gives our patients access to potential future treatment for Parkinson’s.”
As a COE, the Movement Disorders Clinic is required to meet rigorous clinical, research, professional education and patient care criteria.
“Receiving the ‘Center of Excellence’ designation is one of the most respected and sought-after designations,” said Kathy Tuckey, patient educator in the Department of Neurology at the Medical College of Georgia. “We were highly rated because of the coordination of care between our different teams, the caliber of the individuals working at the clinic and the passion that each of the members of the COE extol under Dr. Morgan’s leadership. Also, given our commitment to the patient experience, the site review team saw that the patient is at the core of everything we do.”
The clinic’s participation in the Parkinson’s Outcomes Project is one example of this commitment to the patient experience. The project is the largest clinical study of Parkinson’s in five countries, and it has been ongoing since 2009. This research has many key discoveries, including that increasing physical activity to at least 2.5 hours per week can slow the effects of Parkinson’s disease and that depression and anxiety are the biggest factors impacting overall health of people with Parkinson’s. The project continues to research best practices in patient care.
“We contribute to this research by tracking and monitoring the care of Parkinson’s patients over time,” Tuckey said.
Individuals interested in becoming a patient at the AUMC Health Movement Disorder Clinic do not need a referral from a primary care physician and are encouraged to contact the clinic to schedule an appointment.