Transitions

The Movement Disorders Center is growing again! A handful of providers have moved on from our center for various personal reasons, including retirement and spouses being transferred to new positions. But we are excited to welcome new faculty to our group.

The faculty and staff at the center continue to be dedicated to improving the lives of people with movement disorders.

We announced in our newsletter that Dr. Alex Baumgartner and Dr. Michael Korsmo will be graduating from our fellowship program and will be joining us as faculty in August. Both bring niched areas of expertise that will help round out our center.

Dr. Baumgartner will be joining Dr. Kern as part of our advanced therapies and deep brain stimulation (DBS) team in the operating room. In the past few years, the number of DBS surgeries performed yearly has nearly doubled. The team has recently added a new neurosurgeon and more programmers as well. Dr. Baumgartner will see patients in the clinic at the Anschutz Medical Campus and in Lone Tree.

Dr. Korsmo will be expanding our reach to underserved communities. In addition, he will be seeing patients at our main clinic on the Anschutz Medical Campus and at our Boulder clinic.

Dr. Vaughan is expanding her neuro-palliative clinic. Her clinic will now be found at the Anschutz Medical Campus. By moving her clinic, Dr. Vaughan and her patients will have access to more services and resources. Her focus will now be neuro-palliative care; the main difference is that she will not be the primary movement disorders specialist for patients. She will still serve the movement disorders community through neuro-palliative care during all stages of diseases. She will still be available to all patients for neuro-palliative care via telehealth.

For more information about neuro-palliative care, you can read our Fall 2021 newsletter.

MDC Receives Parkinson’s Foundation Award

The University of Colorado Movement Disorders Center received an award from the Parkinson’s Foundation for the Highest Team Participation for the Parkinson’s Foundation Palliative Care Education Course. The award was presented at this year’s COE Leadership Conference and was accepted by Ryan Khan, a chaplain who works closely with our Palliative Care team.

In 2020, the Parkinson’s Foundation launched an initiative to make palliative care a standard practice of care across all Centers of Excellence in the United States. The MDC received the award for being the Center of Excellence (COE) with the most team members who have completed the online Palliative Care Training.

The Movement Disorders Center is honored to receive this award in recognition to our dedication to patient care.

Dr. Fullard Receives New Grant Award

Congratulations to Dr. Michelle Fullard who has received the 2022 Lorna Grindlay Moore, Ph.D., Faculty Launch Fund award. This award is dedicated to research in women’s health across the lifespan. Proposals were open to faculty in any of the CU Denver or Anschutz Medical Campus schools or colleges. Dr. Fullard’s project and proposal for Parkinson disease ranked highest among all applicants.

We look forward to sharing more about Dr. Fullard’s project soon.

Are you interested in participating in research? Check out our actively recruiting studies or subscribe to our Neurology Research Database to participate in clinical trials and receive updates about future research.

Dr. Baumgartner Receives CCTSI Pilot Grant Award

movement disorders specialist colorado

Congratulations to Dr. Alex Baumgartner for being awarded the CCTSI Pilot Grant Award for his project titled “Naturalistic sleep assessed by wearable devices and direct recording of the subthalamic nucleus in Parkinson’s disease.” This grant will expand on the research that Dr. Baumgarter did with the University of Colorado Movement Disorders Center Pilot Grant award that he received in the fall of 2020. We look forward to hearing the results of his study in the future. 

Through the University of Colorado Movement Disorders Center Pilot Grant Award, the MDC awards selected early-career clinical and bench researchers a small, monetary award. Awardees have included young researchers in different specialties that overlap with movement disorders. This award allows researchers to collect initial data they might need to win more prestigious awards with larger budgets. Previous awards have led to publications in scholarly journals and funding from the NIH and Dystonia Coalition, among others.

Each year the MDC puts out a request for proposals. Interested applicants fill out a detailed proposal and submit it. The MDC faculty review each proposal and selects proposals that are within budget, are well-planned, and are valuable to the movement disorders community. The pilot grant process gives young researchers exposure to the grant application process. Additionally, it helps garner career-long interest in movement disorders research across disciplines.

For researchers who may be interested in applying for the Movement Disorders Center Pilot Grant Award, please join our Movement Disorders Center to be the first to hear about the Request for Applications and more opportunities for collaboration. More information can be found here.

For our movement disorders community, you can learn more about the phases of research and how to participate here. You can find a list of our current studies here.

If you are interested in supporting the Movement Disorder Center Pilot Grant Program, please contact our CU Foundation office (303-724-9146) or visit their donation website.

November is Care Partner Appreciation Month

November is Care Partner Appreciation Month and we really appreciate the Care Partners in the Movement Disorders Community. We are grateful for all they do to support our community and want to make sure they are taken care of too.

In order to make sure those care partners are getting the care they need, we’ve put together a list of resources and self-care ideas. These resources are intended for Care Partners of any movement disorders unless otherwise noted.

Resources

Meghan Smith, LCSW created a handout of local resources and ideas for self-care timeouts. You can view, download, and print the document here.

The Supportive and Neuropalliative Care Clinic has a list of resources on their website too. You can see upcoming events and featured news articles, information for patients and care partners, and an additional list of resources.

The Parkinson’s Foundation has put together a list of resources for their November initiative, #BeASelfCareGiver. You can find the top ten list here.

Support Groups

A Support Group for Care Partners led by Cari Friedman, LCSW is offered virtually on the 3rd Tuesday of every month at 2:00 PM. Open Zoom Video Conferencing and enter the meeting ID (96935032229) and password (916562).

Another Support Group for Care Partners is led by Malenna Sumrall, PhD and Care Partner Advocate on Mondays at 7:00 PM. Please email Malenna.Summrall@cuanschutz.edu for more information.

Educational Events

The Supportive and Neuropalliative Care Clinic hosts its Care Community Series on the second Tuesday of every month at 4:00 PM. Join them on November 9 to hear “How Meditation and Mindfulness Can Support Your Well-Being,” given by Jenine Camins of UQMindfulness. No registration is required. You can join via Zoom Video Conferencing using this link. Click here for the poster.

The Parkinson’s Association of the Rockies is offering its third annual Care Partner Summit Exclusively for Care Partners of People with Parkinson’s Disease. This event will be Saturday, November 20 from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM at the Hyatt Regency Aurora-Denver Conference Center. You will have the opportunity to hear Dr. Christina Vaughan of the University of Colorado Supportive and Palliative Care Clinic speak. You can register here.

Thank you to all of the Care Partners in the Movement Disorders Center. You are an important part of our community. We cannot say it enough.

New Faces in HD Clinic

The HDSA Center of Excellence at the University of Colorado Movement Disorders Center hosts a monthly HD Clinic on the fourth Monday of each month. This clinic is an interdisciplinary clinic which means there are multiple specialists available for your appointment. These appointments last a little longer than usual appointments.

Dr. Lauren Seeberger founded The HSDA Center of Excellence at the University of Colorado in 2016. When Dr. Seeberger left the Univerity of Colorado in the summer of 2021, Dr. Emily Forbes took over as the director of the clinic.

Dr. Emily Forbes, Director of HDSA Center of Excellence

Emily Forbes, DO, MS is a board-certified neurologist with fellowship training in movement disorders. She attended medical school at NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine. During medical school, she was awarded an American Medicine Scholarship and completed her Master’s Degree in addition to her medical degree. She completed her internship in medicine and residency in neurology at the University of Colorado School Anschutz Medical Campus. She completed her two-year fellowship at The University of Pennsylvania Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center and the Philadelphia VA Medical Center Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Center (PADRECC). Her research interests include understanding the genetic basis of neurologic disease which lends wonderfully to her new role as director of The HDSA Center of Excellence at the University of Colorado.

Kaitlin Smith, MS, CGC is a Neurology-trained Genetic Counselor at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. She attending the Arcadia University/University of Pennsylvania Genetic Counseling program and is a board-certified genetic counselor. She completed a fellowship in Neurology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Ms. Smith sees individuals and families with a variety of neurogenetic conditions, including Huntington’s disease.

Meghan Smith, LCSW has worked in the field since 2008. Her undergraduate work was with the March of Dimes Family Support Program at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Meghan earned her Master’s of Social Work in 2015 from the Metropolitan State University of Denver with a primary focus in Mental Health and an additional emphasis in grief counseling. From 2013-2018, Meghan created and managed a program that focused on serving individuals who have neurodevelopmental disorders like autism, and other developmental and intellectual disabilities to attain and retain employment in the Denver community. For the past 3 years, Meghan has worked in Neurology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and UCHealth as a social worker serving patients and their families. Meghan is happy to be back with CU Medicine working with patients and families affected by Huntington’s disease.

2021 Hellos and Goodbyes

The first of July is the start of a new academic year at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. It’s a bittersweet time as we welcome new team members and say goodbye to others.

This year, we are excited to have two new fellows joining up – Heather Heiser, MD and Antonia Pusso, MD. Dr. Heiser went to medical school at Michigan University at the Grand Rapids campus. She completed her Neurology residency at Ruch University in Chicago. Dr. Pusso obtained her medical degree in Charlottesville, VA and completed her residency training in Boston, serving as chief resident in her final year. Both new fellows will complete two years of fellowship training at the University of Colorado Movement Disorders Center.

Dr. Alex Baumgartner and Dr. Mike Korsmo completed their first year of fellowship and are currently starting their second year. We look forward to having them with us for another year.

Dr. Teresa Lee has graduated from the two-year Movement Disorders Fellowship and joined our faculty on July 1, 2021. Welcome to the team, Dr. Lee!

Finally, we are sad to announce that Dr. Lauren Seeberger has stepped away from the University of Colorado Movement Disorders Center. She joins family in another state and will be helping to develop an up-and-coming Neurology and Movement Disorders program. Dr. Seeberger contributed a lot to our program during her tenure here. She will be missed, but we wish her the best of luck on her next adventure.

There were many changes in July, but the Movement Disorders Center looks forward to another incredible academic year.

2021 Annual Research Retreats

One of the roles of the faculty and staff in academic medicine is conducting research. In addition to seeing patients and teaching the next generation of neurology and movement disorders providers, faculty conduct research to identify new therapies and – ultimately – find a cure for the disease they treat.

On June 2, the University of Colorado Department of Neurology hosted its 11th Annual Research Retreat. This event allowed subspecialists, fellows, and residents an opportunity to share their ongoing research with their peers. In addition to the presentations, the department also hosted a poster session. In a virtual setting, faculty, staff, and medical learners gave brief overviews of their research projects.

On June 9, the University of Colorado Movement Disorders Center hosted its Annual Research Retreat hosted by Isabelle Buard, PhD. The MDC’s Research Retreat is for researchers only and includes clinician-scientists and bench scientists. Presenters give a brief overview of their project and then immediately answer questions from the audience (other researchers). The goal of this day is to develop and nourish collaborations in movement disorders research across different campuses and institutions in the state of Colorado.

The Research Retreat also gives the Movement Disorders Pilot Grant Recipients an opportunity to share their projects. Each year, the Movement Disorders Center formally asks for early-career researchers across Colorado to submit proposals for pilot grant projects related to movement disorders. These requests are intended to give researchers the funding they need to collect data for larger research projects. Awardees with well-developed projects are funded up to $10,000 and one year to complete their research projects. Many of the awardees have subsequently been awarded larger grants from larger organizations to continue their research.

If you are a researcher interested in learning more about our pilot grant program, our annual research retreat, or more about the research at our Center, please see our For Researchers page or join our mailing list.

Getting Back in the Community

June was a wonderful month. The faculty and staff of the Movement Disorders Center were able to join the Parkinson’s community in person.

On June 6, 2021 The Movement Disorders Center participated in the Vitality Walk for the Parkinson’s Association of the Rockies (PAR). Providers, researchers, staff, and their families walked and ran in support of PAR. PAR is a local non-profit organization that provides education, exercise classes, equipment trials, and many more resources. This year PAR is celebrating 40 years of service to the Rocky Mountain Region.

You’ll see more of the Movement Disorders Center at upcoming PAR Educational events. Please see our Events page for a full list of our upcoming speaking engagements.

On June 12, the Parkinson’s Foundation hosted their Revolution Ride. For the first time, this event was held in Denver. Riders were able to join in person or virtually. The University of Colorado Movement Disorders Center was designated a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence in 2019. Being able to join them for an in-person event finally was very exciting.

We hope to continue making progress towards being in-person for our events soon. It was wonderful to see everyone in person again.

New Interdisciplinary Clinic Opening in Boulder + More Good News

We have a lot to celebrate this month!

Our interdisciplinary Boulder team completed the Parkinson’s Foundation Team Training. This course was designed by the Parkinson’s Foundation to increase knowledge of Parkinson’s disease. The course is also designed to encourage collaborative care. This was an intensive course that ran throughout the Spring. We look forward to enrolling more of our interdisciplinary team in the future.

Our Boulder team will begin hosting an Annual Parkinson’s Disease Interdisciplinary Clinic. This clinic is designed specifically for individuals with Parkinson’s disease. During this annual visit, patients receive a standardized set of evaluations by their movement disorders specialist, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech Therapy. The goal is for people with Parkinson’s disease to go through this clinic yearly. This will assist in tracking the progression of Parkinson’s disease more accurately and integrate the perspectives of the interdisciplinary team when offering our recommendations for activity-based and pharmacological treatments. Our hope is that this input will help patients maintain their optimal function and quality of life. This clinic is also offered at our Anschutz Medical Campus.

Congratulations to Michelle Fullard, MD and Isabelle Buard, PhD for receiving the University of Colorado Department of Neurology’s Intradepartmental Grant. This award has been offered since early 2016 to assistant and associate professors. This grant is designed to give the junior faculty a jumpstart on new research years and allows for protected time to prepare a grant application, write a peer-reviewed journal article, develop collaborations and/or perform any other research task that may otherwise be challenging because of time.

Dr. Buard’s research is “Investigating cortical sleep patterns disruption after traumatic brain injury under the mentorship of Dr. Benzi Kluger and Dr. Jeff Hebert. Dr. Fullard will conduct Examining gender differences in therapy preferences and risk tolerance in Parkinson disease” under the mentorship of Dr. Maureen Leehey. Dr. Fullard recently completed an interview with Davis Phinney Foundation about “Removing Barriers to Deep Brain Stimulation for Women with Parkinson’s.” You can watch the full interview on YouTube on Davis Phinney Foundation’s channel.