Six Academic Institutions in the US and Germany have been selected by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, to host the Edmond J. Safra Fellowship in Movement Disorders. The centers – including the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, the University of California San Francisco, Rush University in Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York and the University of Tübingen in Germany – were chosen to host the fellowship between 2017 and 2019.
The goal of the program is to provide training for neurologists so that they may be better equipped to both treat patients with movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, as well as conduct research aimed at identifying breakthrough treatments. Issues surrounding the availability of funding has historically been the reason why there are few physicians trained as movement disorder specialists.
“This program is designed to give people with Parkinson’s the best possible care,” said Lily Safra, chairwoman of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation. “These prestigious institutions provide fellows with expert training in the field of movement disorders, thus increasing the number of specialty physicians available to people with Parkinson’s disease.”
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research is the world’s largest nonprofit supporter of Parkinson’s research. In order to award the fellowship, the foundation has partnered with the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation – a key funder of high-impact Parkinson’s research.
Five of the six centers – chosen by a committee representing the Michael J. Fox Foundation – will be responsible for choosing a fellow to begin training in mid-2017. The University of Tübingen in Germany has already chosen their candidate, and plan to begin training later this year.
“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 Dr. Todd Sherer, CEO of The Michael J. Fox Foundation. “There is a pressing need for both those sides of service as our population grows and more people age into risk of Parkinson’s disease.”
Clinical-researcher movement disorder specialists educated through the Edmond J. Safra Fellowship in Movement Disorders, have the benefit of observing patient experience through their work as a physician, and applying this knowledge to designing meaningful, patient-focused studies. They are also often knowledgeable about ongoing clinical trials through which patients may benefit from participation.
“We’re grateful to Lily Safra and the Edmond J. Safra Foundation for their vision in seeding the pipeline of future specialists in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease,” said Michael J. Fox. “It was gratifying to see clinicians and researchers respond with enthusiasm when the program launched last year — we can’t wait to see what the future may hold.”