The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) — with support from longtime partner the Edmond J. Safra Foundation — is building a global network of Parkinson’s clinician-researchers, it announces.

Since its launch in 2014, The Edmond J. Safra Fellowship in Movement Disorders annually awards funding to distinguished medical centers around the world to usher in new a generation of talented movement disorder specialists — neurologists with additional training in Parkinson’s and other movement disorders.

With support from the Edmond J. Safra Foundation, the Fellowship has reached a milestone, graduating more than 20 new Parkinson’s specialists around the world to date. The program is on track to graduate 48 new movement disorder specialists around the world by 2025.

“Thanks to the generosity of our partner the Edmond J. Safra Foundation, The Edmond J. Safra Fellowship is changing the future of care and research for people and families living with Parkinson’s.

“The Edmond J. Safra Fellows and their mentors are committed to the Parkinson’s community. They are dedicating their lives and careers to deliver high-quality care and lead impactful research.”

— Debi Brooks, MJFF CEO and Co-Founder

“This growing global network of expertly trained movement disorder specialists will help ensure that people and families living with Parkinson’s receive comprehensive and compassionate care and that critical research moves forward to meet their most pressing needs. I’m deeply proud of The Edmond J. Safra Fellowship’s significant impact on Parkinson’s care and research.”

— Mrs. Lily Safra, chairwoman of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation

Class of 2021

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Class of 2021 fellowship graduates and their mentors evolved and adapted to continue their training, learning knowledge and skills to care for the PD community. During this time, fellows provided care for patients through telemedicine, conducted or expanded online research studies, and connected virtually with colleagues, including others in the Edmond J. Safra Fellowship network.

“One of the greatest assets of The Edmond J. Safra Fellowship Network is its people. I have met and collaborated with faculty and colleagues around the world. I have made friends and been exposed to educational and research initiatives that have enriched my training in many ways. These experiences promote a spirit of lifelong learning and collaboration that will serve as an important foundation for a career in academic movement disorders.”

— Whitley Aamodt, MD, MPH, Class of 2021 graduate at the University of Pennsylvania

The Class of 2021 is the Fellowship’s fourth graduating class. Graduates now total 21 new Parkinson’s clinician-researchers around the world. The most recent graduates now take their next steps in careers caring for people with Parkinson’s and leading research studies around the world:  

Whitley Aamodt, MD, MPH 
Fellowship Site: University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
Whitley has taken a position as instructor of neurology at the University of Pennsylvania, where she also will complete a Master of Science in clinical epidemiology. 

Amir Badiei, MD, MS  
Fellowship Site: University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)San Francisco, CaliforniaAmir will become the first movement disorder specialist at St. James Healthcare in Butte, Montana.

Christopher Caughman, MD 
Fellowship Site: Emory UniversityAtlanta, GeorgiaChristopher will stay at Emory University as an assistant professor of neurology in the movement disorders division of the department of neurology.

Judith van Gaalen, MD 
Fellowship Site: Radboud University Medical Centre; Nijmegen, the NetherlandsJudith will continue practicing movement disorders at Radboud University Medical Centre.

Neil Shetty, MD 
Fellowship Site: Northwestern UniversityChicago, IllinoisNeil will join the faculty at Northwestern University as a movement disorders specialist with a focus on advanced therapeutics for Parkinson’s, such as deep brain stimulation.

Global Network

Seven years since it launched, The Edmond J. Safra Fellowship has extended funding to 23 world-renowned academic institutions in seven countries and 12 of the United States. During the most recent round of funding, an external review committee of movement disorder specialists, assembled by MJFF, selected eight centers from a highly competitive group of applicants to train the Class of 2024.

The awardees are: Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio; Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia; Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland; Radboud University Medical Centre in Nijmegen, the Netherlands; Rush University Medical Center in Chicago; Toronto Western Hospital in Ontario; University College London in London; and The University of Pennsylvania. Each center now will recruit a fellow to begin their 2-year training next year.

MJFF now is accepting applications from academic centers worldwide to train the Class of 2025 fellows. A review committee will evaluate applicants on their history training successful movement disorder clinician-researchers; the breadth and depth of clinical care and research education and opportunities; departmental support for the fellow; and training programs and opportunities that equip fellows with the skills and knowledge to advance equitable access and diversity across clinical care services, research, education and community outreach.

The deadline to apply is December 9, 2021. Learn more and apply.

[Source(s): Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, PR Newswire]

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