UI named a center of excellence in Parkinson's care

Parkinson's Centers of Excellence globally

The Parkinson’s Foundation has named University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics a center of excellence and adds it to a global network of 45 select academic medical centers.

Along with UI Hospitals & Clinics, two other additions to the network this year are the Cleveland Clinic and the University of South Carolina.

The network’s 45 medical centers serve more than 120,000 individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s annually.

“The center of excellence designation recognizes the leaders in providing high-quality Parkinson’s care,” says John Lehr, president and chief executive officer of the Parkinson’s Foundation.

World-class Parkinson’s care in Iowa

Ergun Uc, MD, leads the UI Hospitals & Clinics team as director of the division of movement disorders and medical director of the Parkinson’s Disease Clinic.

He says: “Building upon our strengths in providing world-class care for patients and conducting leading-edge research, we will use the support by the Parkinson’s Foundation to expand our interdisciplinary care, to increase our community involvement and educational activities for other health care professionals and patients across Iowa, and to attain even greater heights in the treatment of everyone affected by Parkinson’s disease.”

Rigorous selection criteria

Following a peer-review process, members of the network meet the following criteria for the center of excellence designation:

  • Seeing at least 700 unique patients with Parkinson’s disease annually
  • Conducting research, including clinical trials, relevant to Parkinson’s 
  • Providing exemplary team care, including neurologists with training in movement disorders, nurses, social workers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists
  • Promoting access to wellness programs for patients
  • Facilitating educational events for patients and families

About the disease

Parkinson’s disease is associated with a progressive loss of motor control, which may include tremors when a person is at rest and loss of facial expression. It can also include depression and anxiety. Presently there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease.

According to the Parkinson’s Foundation:

  • Parkinson’s disease affects nearly 1 million people in the United States and 10 million globally.
  • Each year, the United States sees 60,000 new diagnoses of the disease.
  • Parkinson’s is the second-most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s.
  • It is the 14th leading cause of death in the United States.

The Parkinson’s Foundation works to improve care and advance research toward a cure. It helps raise funds to support fellowship grants and conducts the Parkinson’s Outcome project, which provides data sharing among network members, tracking the treatment of individuals living with the disease to identify which treatments and therapies provide the best outcomes.