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Parkinson’s Foundation Designates NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia, Rush University Medical Centers as Parkinson’s Care ‘Centers of Excellence’

As foundation continues to invest in programs to improve the lives of Parkinson’s patients, designation of new Centers of Excellence further expand expert care network

MIAMI & NEW YORK CITY — February 7, 2017—The Parkinson’s Foundation today announced the addition of two new Centers of Excellence to its global network: NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center in New York City and Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

The Center of Excellence network is a proving ground for new therapies and care models through grant programs and targeted initiatives such as the Parkinson’s Outcomes Project, the largest clinical study of Parkinson’s disease. This sought-after designation, based on clinical and research excellence, has achieved worldwide recognition.

“At Parkinson’s Foundation, we are proud that our longtime investment in NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia and Rush has played a pivotal role in all significant Parkinson’s research advances,” said John L. Lehr, chief executive officer of Parkinson’s Foundation. “This newest designation recognizes that both institutions are successfully translating those research advancements into improvements in patient care – exactly what our community so urgently needs.”

Parkinson’s Foundation designates Centers of Excellence following a rigorous application and peer-review process. Currently, there is a worldwide network of 42 leading academic medical centers that leverage the interplay between cutting-edge research and exemplary patient-focused, multidisciplinary care. This network serves more than 100,000 individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. To participate in the competitive designation process, centers must first meet strict criteria for research, comprehensive care, patient outreach services and professional education. The network is widely credited with developing and promoting the modern Parkinson’s team model of care and ensuring that patients receive the highest standards of care.

With longstanding recognition as Research Centers by the Parkinson’s Foundation, NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia and Rush each bring rich histories and unique strengths to the network. NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center brings an illustrious history in cutting-edge translational research. Rush University offers tremendous innovation in clinical research.Both centers are renowned for their training of academic leaders worldwide.

“This designation is an enormous honor and recognition of the vital program that we have developed to integrate our three-part mission of research, education and patient care excellence,” said Christopher Goetz, M.D., professor of neurological sciences and pharmacology and director of the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder Program at Rush University Medical Center. “With this new designation, the faculty and staff will direct our efforts continually to enhance our services and work in partnership with our patients and families to meet these three missions.” 

Added Un Jung Kang, M.D., H. Houston Merritt Professor of Neurology and chief of the Division of Movement Disorders at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center: “We are delighted and honored to join our colleagues in the Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence network. This designation is an important acknowledgement of our commitment to providing the best possible care and education, and engaging in community outreach about our expertise in translational research and patient care.”

The Parkinson’s Foundation brings all Centers of Excellence together annually to provide updates on care activities and research initiatives. This year’s Center of Excellence Leadership Conference is in Kansas City, Missouri, taking place May 4-6. The focus of this year’s meeting: Impacting Care for the Patients of Today and Tomorrow.” Every center must re-certify every five years to ensure that it maintains high standards of care. This process includes a review of achievements as well as a team-based peer evaluation, including an on-site assessment.

“Both NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia and Rush have a long history of research and training that paved the way for the scientific and clinical networks of movement disorders centers,” said Peter Schmidt, Ph.D., chief mission officer and senior vice president of Research and Professional Programs at the National Parkinson Foundation, a division of the Parkinson’s Foundation. “We will change the course of Parkinson’s for tomorrow’s patients by improving care for everyone living with the disease today.”

To search for a Center of Excellence near you, visit

About the Parkinson’s Foundation 
The Parkinson’s Foundation is working toward a world without Parkinson’s disease. Formed by the merger of National Parkinson Foundation and the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation in August 2016, the mission of the Parkinson’s Foundation is to invest in promising scientific research that will end Parkinson’s disease and improve the lives of people with Parkinson’s and their families through improved treatments, support and the best care. For more information, visit or call (800) 4PD-INFO (473-4636) or (800) 457-6676.

About Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects nearly one million people in the US and over 10 million worldwide. Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer's and is the 14th leading cause of death in the US. It is associated with a loss of motor control (e.g., shaking or tremor at rest and lack of facial expression) as well as non-motor symptoms (e.g., depression and anxiety A feeling of nervousness, worried thoughts and physical distress.). Although promising research is being conducted, there is currently no cure for Parkinson's disease.

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