Contact: Stephanie Simon 215-349-5660[email protected]

Penn Medicine Awarded Fellowship to Train Next Generation of Parkinson’s SpecialistsMichael J. Fox Foundation & Edmond J. Safra Foundation support training to increase movement disorder professionals

Newswise — PHILADELPHIA — The University of Pennsylvania Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center has been chosen to host the 2017-2019 Edmond J. Safra Fellowship in Movement Disorders by The Michael J. Fox Foundation, in collaboration with its longtime supporter and partner the Edmond J. Safra Foundation. The Safra Fellowship program supports training to expand the number of movement disorder specialists treating and researching Parkinson’s disease.Penn is one of five academic medical centers in the United States (and one in Germany) to host the second class of the Safra Fellowship in Movement Disorders. The five US centers will now identify a fellow to begin two years of training in July 2017. The University of Tübingen in Germany has identified a fellow to begin later in 2016. The other four US awardees are Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York; University of California San Francisco; Rush University in Chicago; and the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York.

Under the direction of Penn’s fellowship director Nabila Dahodwala, MD, MS, an assistant professor of Neurology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and associate fellowship director, Lama Chahine, MD, the fellowship will feature a two-year personalized training program tailored to the specific needs of the fellow. Foundational features will include a general movement disorders clinical experience, including extensive hands-on experience with chemodenervation (the use of Botulinum Toxin to treat various forms of neurological conditions) and deep brain stimulation programming (via an implanted device similar to a pacemaker). Several specialized rotations in neurogenetics, dementia, neuro-ophthalmology, neuropsychiatry, and ataxia (lack of voluntary coordination of muscle movements, including walking abnormality) are also available.The to-be-identified fellow will also participate in two multi-disciplinary clinics that focus on atypical Parkinsonism and pre-surgical evaluation for Parkinson patients. In addition, he/she will take part in a continuity outpatient clinic by evaluating new movement disorders patients and following them for two years to learn how to independently diagnose and manage movement disorders under the supervision of movement disorder faculty.“This program trains knowledgeable specialists who provide day-to-day care to people with Parkinson’s and conduct research to speed the development of new treatments,” said Todd Sherer, PhD, CEO of The Michael J. Fox Foundation. “There is a pressing need for both sides of service as our population grows and more people age into risk of Parkinson’s disease.”Research opportunities for the new fellow at Penn will include bench-based research on alpha-synuclein pathology (alpha-synuclein is a protein that experts know plays a role in the development of Parkinson's disease), Parkinson’s disease biomarker discovery, experimental neurotherapeutic clinical trials and health outcomes research. With the mentorship of a large and diverse faculty including Dr.’s Matthew Stern, Virginia Lee, John Trojanowski, Murray Grossman and Daniel Weintraub, among many others, the fellow will have the opportunity to develop an independent research program. The Safra Fellowship is named for Edmond J. Safra, widely viewed as one of the most accomplished bankers of the 20th century, having established a business that spanned more than thirty countries across the globe. Recognized worldwide for his philanthropy, Mr. Safra was named Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur by the French government; Commandeur de l’Ordre de Mérite by the Grand Duke of Luxembourg; and Commandeur de l’Ordre de Rio Branco by the government of Brazil. He died in 1999.

Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.