Florida Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence

The University of Florida Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration was created in July 2002 and remains one of the youngest, most collaborative, and most rapidly growing Centers in the McKnight Brain Institute and College of Medicine’s enterprise. Since the launch of the center the growth has been exponential, and this is especially impressive since it started with two Co-Directors and two Staff Members.

Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence logo

The Center is considered one of the leading Parkinson’s Foundation (NPF) Centers of Excellence (COE). Since 2003, it has been a PF-designated Continuing Care Center, Research Center, and Outreach Center. UF is also home to NPF’s National Medical Director and Director of the world renown Ask the Doctor about Parkinson’s Disease Forum (Dr. Michael S. Okun).  Dr. Okun helps direct care and research across all forty-three NPF centers worldwide.

PF’s Centers of Excellence are chosen by a peer-review committee that bases designation on an individual center’s demonstrated excellence, their resources, and their dedication to Parkinson research, clinical care and outreach initiatives. COEs are renewed competitively every three years and now site visited and certified.

What makes our Parkinson’s Center of Excellence unique

The University of Florida Health PF Center of Excellence is under the leadership of Irene Malaty, M.D. and it underwent another successful peer-reviewed site visit and re-certification in 2010. The independent reviewers and PF staff cited UF as one of the leading centers in the COE network, and commented that the UF Center was among one of the truly interdisciplinary clinical-research enterprises in the entire network. UF has been cited as, “a place for other centers to visit, to see how well care and research can be delivered.”

Largely due to the support of the PF and the designation as a COE, along with other foundation, federal, pharmaceutical, and philanthropic support, we have been able to obtain substantial faculty support from the University of Florida including the McKnight Brain Institute, the Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Disease, the Departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery, Psychiatry, Clinical Health and Psychology, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Neuroscience, Biomedical Engineering, Epidemiology and Health Policy Research, Applied Physiology and Kinesiology, Social Work, Biomedical Engineering, Rehabilitiation Medicine, Physical Therapy, and Occupational Therapy. Each of these departments has made substantial commitments of personnel and resources to ensure the COE charter is fully supported and remains comprehensive.

The center offers a world-class patient-centric interdisciplinary experience and also world-class training for fellows and young doctors of all disciplines. Over 1000 patients with Parkinson’s disease are seen and followed annually.

Highlights of the UF Health Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence

  • The potential to get your Parkinson’s treatment from over 10 interdisciplinary specialists in a single day on a single floor of a single building

  • The world-renowned fast-track interdisciplinary work-up and care for deep brain stimulation surgery (DBS) for Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders
  • On-site MRI
  • On-site speech & swallowing treatment
  • On-site rehabilitation (physical therapy & occupational therapy)
  • Parkinson’s Disease Day Center for Patient Education
  • A yearly Parkinson’s Disease educational symposium
  • Expert Botulinum Toxin Clinic
  • Expert Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Troubleshooting clinic where people travel from all over the world for diagnosis and management of DBS related problems or issues
  • Interdisciplinary complex case conference every month to address the most difficult management issues
  • Weekly video rounds and didactics for staff, doctors, and scientists
  • Home to one of the world’s largest movement disorders databases (INFORM-PD)
  • Part of the National Parkinson Foundation International Quality Improvement Initiative Database
  • Home to over 50 research studies and also many basic science laboratories including stem cells, gene therapy, imaging, DBS, and protein processing science
  • Train multiple doctors in clinical-research fellowships each year, and train scores of graduate students for their masters and PhD degrees (focusing on Parkinson’s disease)
  • Actively serving patients from Florida & Georgia
  • Hotel across the street for patients who are international or who need to stay nearby
  • Free Parkinson’s Disease exercise classes
  • Free Parkinson’s Disease Dance for Life Program