HDSA Expands Centers of Excellence Program to 54 Sites

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by Mary Chapman |

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HDSA Centers of Excellence

With some recent additions, the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) has expanded its Centers of Excellence program — ensuring comprehensive care provided by multidisciplinary care teams — to 54 sites that have demonstrated expertise and commitment in Huntington’s (HD) care.

The program grew from 20 U.S. centers in 2015 to 50 last year. With new sites in Arizona, Arkansas, New Jersey, Mississippi, Ohio, and South Carolina, the HDSA now has care locations for Huntington’s disease patients in 35 states plus the District of Columbia.

The nonprofit organization this year will contribute $1.75 million to the Centers of Excellence program, which gives greater access to expert Huntington’s clinical care and clinical trial opportunities to families nationwide.

“The expansion of the HDSA Centers of Excellence program ensures that more families affected by Huntington’s disease have increased access to expert and comprehensive care for this devastating rare brain disease,” Victor Sung, MD, chair of HDSA’s national board of trustees, said in a press release.

“Additionally, clinical research conducted at many HDSA Centers of Excellence is vital to the development of potentially life-changing treatments to improve the lives of everyone affected by HD,” said Sung, also the director of the Center of Excellence at the University of Alabama in Birmingham.

The newest HDSA Centers of Excellence include the Barrow Neurological Institute, in Arizona, the Medical University of South Carolina, in Charleston, and the University of Cincinnati, in Ohio. Two New Jersey medical schools — the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine and the Rutgers University Robert Wood Johnson Medical School — also have new Centers of Excellence. The other two new centers are located at the University of Arkansas and the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

In addition, the HDSA has named the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, located at the McGovern Medical School, as a new regional Center of Excellence due to its partnerships with nearby clinics the society supports. The Covenant Medical Group, the Texas Movement Disorder Specialists, and the University of Texas Health at San Antonio are these clinics.

Their programs and these partnerships are expected to lessen the burden on families with Huntington’s patients and improve access to specialized care in Texas and the surrounding areas. To date, there are eight regional partner clinics and 62 HDSA-supported sites.

“HDSA Centers of Excellence share a common dedication to HD families,” said Louise Vetter, HDSA president and CEO. “We are thankful to the clinical care teams who are able to provide incredible care with these modest awards and to the families whose generous support of HDSA’s mission make these awards possible.”

The organization’s Centers of Excellence offer a high-end approach to Huntington’s care and research. Each site has neurologists, psychiatrists, therapists, counselors, and other professionals who have extensive experience treating Huntington’s and who work collaboratively to help families throughout the course of the disease.

All U.S. clinics that ascribe to HDSA’s devotion to excellent comprehensive care and access to clinical research may apply to become an HDSA Center of Excellence.