New Center Expands Services to Parkinson’s Disease Community, Targeting Underserved Spanish-Speaking Population

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The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine will be the new site of the American Parkinson Disease Association’s (APDA) Information and Referral Center. The center will serve the South Florida area, from Miami to Palm Beach Gardens, with a special focus on the Spanish-speaking community. The Information and Referral Center joins the association’s South Florida Chapter in serving people with Parkinson’s disease.

“We are honored to partner with APDA to provide South Floridians the best possible care for Parkinson’s disease,” said Ihtsham ul Haq, M.D., professor of neurology and chief of the Division of Movement Disorders in the Miller School’s Department of Neurology. “Access to up-to-date information, subspecialty treatment, and research is critical to the proper care of Parkinson’s disease. Increasing access is core to the mission of both the University of Miami and APDA.”

The Miller School is a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence, one of 33 designated medical centers in the U.S. with a specialized Parkinson’s care team that practices the latest treatments and research while providing the best care. In addition to personalized treatments, deep brain stimulation, and clinical trials, the center provides Parkinson’s patients of the University of Miami Health System and their families with support groups, educational symposiums, and many other services.

The APDA Information and Referral Center will provide additional resources to enhance outstanding programs and services already being offered.

The centers provide community resources and guidance to people with Parkinson’s, their care partners, and families at all stages of the disease. The APDA I&R Center operates a telephone help line accessible to people with Parkinson’s, family members, health care professionals, and other community members. The center serves as a vital source of information on current therapies and emerging research, as well as opportunities for accessing local clinical trials for Parkinson’s disease.

Each APDA I&R Center also has a medical director who provides oversight and direction for the overall success of the center. Serving in this role is Henry Moore, M.D., assistant professor of clinical neurology at the Miller School and co-director of the neurology clinic at UHealth Boca Raton. “Being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease can be very overwhelming,” said Dr. Moore. “We are pleased to work on this new center so together we can help more people impacted with Parkinson’s live life to the fullest.”

There are now 20 APDA I&R Centers in the network and each one has a trained coordinator who connects people with local social service agencies and services that support people with Parkinson’s and their families. George Dumenigo, LCSW, a clinical social worker and community outreach coordinator, has been appointed as the APDA I&R Coordinator for UM’s site. Dumenigo is bilingual and able to assist the Spanish-speaking Parkinson’s community, who are often underserved when it comes to resources and care.

“We are the boots on the ground. APDA is providing programs and services in the local communities and we are helping people every step of the way along their PD journey,” said Leslie A. Chambers, president and CEO of APDA. “We are thrilled to be collaborating with the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine so we can reach more people and expand our services in South Florida, especially our resources and services in Spanish. We’re thankful to Dr. Ihtsham ul Haq and the Department of Neurology for helping make this alliance come to life.”