Huntington’s Care Facility in Georgetown Named a ‘Center of Excellence’ by Huntington’s Disease Society of America

Ana de Barros, PhD avatar

by Ana de Barros, PhD |

Share this article:

Share article via email
Huntington's, new therapeutic targets

The Huntington Disease Care, Education and Research Center at Georgetown (HDCERC) was recently designated a HDSA Center of Excellence for 2016, a recognition given by the Huntington’s Disease Society of America to facilities taking a multidisciplinary approach to the treatment of people with Huntington’s disease, and excelling in the care given patients, the support shown to their family members and caregivers, and in research.

“We are thrilled to be designated a Center of Excellence. This designation will promote our high quality of care and research to Huntington Disease families in the region, since the HDSA is so widely recognized in the community,” Karen E. Anderson, MD, director of the center and a neuropsychiatrist with dual appointments in the departments of psychiatry and neurology, said in a news release.

Along with this designation, the center received a grant from a partnership between Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, with substantial support from the Griffin Foundation.

The HDCERC opened in 2012, and is the first comprehensive, multidisciplinary center in the Washington area focused on the treatment of Huntington’s disease, and on educating patients and advancing research.  Its multi-disciplinary team of experts spans the fields of neurology, neuropsychiatry and psychology, genetics, social work, and also includes researchers. The center participates in both clinical trials and observational trials, offering patients and their families the latest available treatments.

The center’s array of expertise is further fostered by collaboration between the hospital and the university.

“Our center is a clear example of how patients benefit directly from a strong collaboration between a research enterprise, like the medical center, and the hospital,” said Edward Healton, MD, MPH, Georgetown University’s executive vice president for Health Sciences and executive dean of the medical school. “Our families have access to the latest therapies being studied to treat Huntington disease, in addition to a tremendously experienced support team.”

“Early on, we wanted the center to be built on a foundation bridging two major care needs of families coping with Huntington disease — psychiatric and neurologic,” added Steven A. Epstein, MD, chair of psychiatry at MedStar Georgetown and a professor of psychiatry at Georgetown’s School of Medicine. “The team has done that, and with added additional support services, our center is an exceptional model for Huntington disease centers across the nation. We are proud to have the HDSA designation.”

Consistent with Georgetown Medical Center’s devotion to cure personalis, or cure of the whole person, the HDCERC is focused on cura familia, or cure of the whole family.

“Experts have noted that better patient outcomes are linked to coordinated patient care and clinical research, which can result in better treatments,” the Griffin Foundation said. “The Huntington Disease Center of Excellence at MedStar Georgetown will help in finding better treatments while delivering needed and better care for patients and families in our region today.”

The HDSA Center of Excellence program promotes an elite multidisciplinary approach to Huntington’s disease care and research. HDSA currently has 39 Centers of Excellence across the U.S. Each designated center offers professional and lay education as well as clinical research in the geographic areas it serves, and works locally and nationally with the HDSA to further improve the lives of patients and families affected by Huntington’s disease.