UF Health Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration awarded grant

The UF Health Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration has recently been designated a Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia and Parkinson’s Disease Center of Excellence based on a donation from The Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia & Parkinson Foundation and with support from Tyler’s Hope for a Dystonia Cure.

The Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia & Parkinson Foundation has awarded $1.2 million in matching grants to establish “Dystonia and Parkinson’s Disease Centers of Excellence” at three major U.S. medical centers: the University of Florida, the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of California San Francisco.

“We are honored and humbled to receive this designation. This funding will galvanize drug discovery, imaging and translational neuroscience and will train the scientists who will make this difference for the patients suffering from these diseases,” said Michael S. Okun, M.D., the grant’s principal investigator, the Adelaide Lackner professor of neurology and co-director of the UF Health Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration.

Proper diagnosis, treatment and comprehensive care have long been missing for people with dystonia and Parkinson’s disease. The nation’s first Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia Center of Excellence was established in New York City to fill that gap and to bring together the best clinical care and coordinated support services.

“As someone who lives with dystonia and struggled for years to find the right diagnosis, the opening of our new Center of Excellence at UF is a dream come true”, said Bonnie Strauss, president and founder of The Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia & Parkinson Foundation.. Bringing together some of the world’s leading experts in dystonia and Parkinson’s disease under one roof will help to ensure that patients receive the best possible care. I congratulate Dr. Okun and his team for all they have accomplished, and I look forward to working with them in the years to come. I would also like to thank everyone at Tyler’s Hope for a Dystonia Cure for their incredible commitment to the cause.”

“Although dystonia is the most common neurological movement disorder after Parkinson’s and essential tremor, it receives minimal medical research funding and only a fraction of the public and media attention. Our mission is to change both of those facts,” said Rick Staab, president and founder of Tyler’s Hope. “Partnering with an amazing organization like Bachmann-Strauss puts the spotlight on dystonia research and intensifies the battle for a cure for all of these related diseases. We couldn’t be more excited and energized by this designation.”

Each award recipient was chosen in a highly competitive process. The new centers of excellence will be catalysts for breakthroughs in understanding and treating dystonia and Parkinson’s disease. The matching grant from Tyler’s Hope for a Dystonia Cure will ensure the center is self-sustaining.

“We strive for interdisciplinary excellence and have worked hard to create the perfect patient experience for dystonia and Parkinson’s disease patients,” said Okun. “Through a critical partnership with Tyler’s Hope for a Dystonia Cure, we’ll use this new award to accelerate our drive toward more meaningful therapies and the potential to move toward a cure.”

The University of Florida is a leader in movement disorders and neurorestoration, and patients travel from all over the globe for personalized treatment. The centers provides much needed multidisciplinary care to dystonia and Parkinson’s patients, bringing together neurologists, neurosurgeons, psychiatrists, genetic counselors, physical therapists and other experts.

At UF Health, patients have access to the latest research studies, as well as the opportunity to contribute to future research. Since its creation in 2002, the UF Health Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration has treated more than 6,000 patients, with 99 percent followed in one of the largest research databases of movement disorders in the world. Built on the expertise of UF faculty and researchers from 14 different specialty and subspecialty areas, the center has earned a reputation for excellence that makes it an international destination for patient care, research and teaching.