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Our History

The University of Colorado Movement Disorders Center

Founded in 2012

The mission of the University of Colorado Movement Disorders Center is to establish an internationally recognized center for excellence in movement disorders research, education, clinical care, and community outreach.

Although the Movement Disorders Center (MDC) is relatively new, our faculty of experts, unique geography, and amazing community has contributed to a long history of excellence at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and University of Colorado Hospital.

2019 | The University of Colorado Movement Disorders Center was designated a Center of Excellence by the Parkinson’s Foundation making it one of only 48 Parkinson’s Centers of Excellence worldwide. 

2016 | The University of Colorado Movement Disorders Center was designated a Huntington’s Disease Center of Excellene by the Huntington’s Disease Society of America.


2013 | Dr. Benzi Kluger opened the first Parkinson Disease Palliative Care Clinic in the United States. The Palliative Care Clinic focuses on relieving the stress and suffering brought on by physical, psycho-social, and spiritual distress that patients with chronic, progressive conditions may face.

2009-2010 | The UCH DBS team, including Dr. Leehey, Dr. Ojemann, and Dr. Klepitskaya, participated in the clinical trial of gene therapy for PD. Twelve subjects were implanted during the trial, which is more than any other center in the United States. The first sham-surgery was performed with MER on an awake patient. The UCH team created Mock-MER software which was used for all Sham surgeries in all participating centers and can be used in future trial or for training purposes. This was the first and only positive double blinded clinical trial of gene therapy.

2001 | Dr. Maureen Leehey, Professor of Neurology, and a team discovered the fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS) which affects about 1 in 10,000 men over 50, especially grandfathers of children with fragile X syndrome.

Maureen Leehey, MD, FAAN movement disorders provider

1988 | The first fetal dopamine cell transplant was performed at UCH. This was the first performed in the United States and was the first successful fetal dopamine transplant worldwide. Swedish scientists performed the procedure on two subjects one year earlier, but neither subject showed benefits. Between 1988 and 2000, the UCH team transplanted 61 subjects which was more than any other group. This was the first double-blind study every performed. 

1987  | Professor Lori Ramig helped develop the Lee Silverman Voice Therapy

1967 | Margaret “Peggy” Hoehn, a neurologist at the University of Colorado, helped create the Hoehn and Yahr scale to measure stages of Parkinson disease. 

Peggy Hoehn