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About the Program

The Movement Disorders Fellowship at The Gardner Center for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders at the University of Cincinnati offers post-residency neurologists an intensive training in the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders as well as in the comprehensive and multidisciplinary care of these patients. In addition, the fellowship offers instruction in the methodologies needed to conduct research in movement disorders including experience in fellow-initiated research projects as well as the opportunity to participate in our active clinical trials portfolio.

Research projects, contributing to book chapters and review articles, and other scholarly endeavors can be part of the fellow’s time in both the first and the second years of the fellowship. Protected time for both research and education is part of the fellowship’s commitment to scholarship, with ample time left for developing expertise in clinical care. Multiple regularly scheduled conferences and didactics include biweekly Video Rounds, DBS surgery conference, Journal Club, Combined Cognitive-Movement Disorders conference, and others. Clinical opportunities include regular mentored time in fellows’ clinic, botulinum toxin injection clinic, DBS programming, and multidisciplinary Huntington’s disease genetics clinic in our HDSA Center of Excellence. All of these combine to provide a strong foundation of movement disorders learning, which translates into successful clinical and academic careers.

Please follow our fellowship's Twitter page at @UCMovDis

Previous Experience

Fellowship Program Director Andrew Duker, M.D., was the program’s first fellow. Currently, he is a Professor of Neurology and the James J. and Joan A. Gardner Family Center Endowed Clinical Chair for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders at the UC College of Medicine. Since 2005, the Movement Disorders Fellowship program at the University of Cincinnati (UC) Gardner Neuroscience Institute has led the way in educating the next generation of movement disorders neurologists. Twenty movement disorders neurologists have graduated from the program with training in clinical care and research. UC-trained physicians are now caring for patients across the United States and have brought desperately needed expertise in Movement Disorders to low-resource countries. Over half of UC Movement Disorders fellowship graduates joined academic movement disorders centers as faculty in the United States and Canada. Fellows have continued to excel as PIs for numerous pivotal multi-center clinical trials and proceeded to author important guidelines. During and after fellowship, they have received grant funding from the NIH and various foundations including the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation and the Parkinson’s Foundation. UC Movement Disorders fellowship graduates have served on various committees for the MDS and AAN. They have served as first authors for articles published in journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Continuum (the American Academy of Neurology’s premier continuing medical education publication), Neurology, Parkinsonism and Related Disorders, Movement disorders clinical practice and Seminars in Neurology, among others.

In recent years, our fellowship graduates have demonstrated success nationally and internationally: Dr. Federico Rodriguez-Porcel, our 2017 graduate and current faculty at MUSC secured NIH R21 funding on a project titled “Defining the role of the subthalamic nucleus in language production through deep brain stimulation”. He serves as the co-chair of the post-stroke movement disorders group of the MDS. He has spearheaded efforts to define clinical trial outcome measures in DLB on behalf of the Lewy Body Dementias Clinical Trials Workgroup from the Lewy Body Dementias Professional Interest Area - Alzheimer’s Association International Society to Advance Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment (ISTAART). He serves as a reviewer on the Clinical Neuroscience and Neurodegeneration Study Section of the NINDS. Dr. Abhimanyu Mahajan, 2020 fellowship graduate and current faculty at the University of Cincinnati received funding from the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation for the second year of his fellowship. His work during fellowship led to the 2020 AAN Alliance Award: Founders. He has served on the AAN Graduate Education Subcommittee and currently serves on the MDS Dystonia Study Group and MDS Education Committee. He is a graduate of the MDS LEAP class of 2021. He served as an author on the AAN Measurement workgroup guidelines for Parkinson’s disease and has been recognized as a DMRF Emerging leader in dystonia research. Dr. Miguel Situ-Kcomt, 2020 fellowship graduate and current faculty at the University of Nebraska serves as the UNMC movement disorders fellowship co-director. He is the medical director of a busy DBS program and serves as an investigator on an NIH-funded DBS research program. Our graduates have also contributed substantially to the care of patients with movement disorders in their communities. Dr. Nathan Wachter, (‘21), has joined Mercy Clinic Neurology in St. Louis to develop their DBS program. Dr. Zachary Jordan ('22) joined the faculty of The Ohio State University, taking a prominent role in their well-established DBS program. Dr. Jack Shen ('22) joined the practice of WellStar Neurology in Georgia and developed a new DBS program. He serves as the medical director of the movement disorders practice.

Research Environment

The Gardner Center for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders at the University of Cincinnati is well known for our successful recruitment in clinical trials.  Our faculty are members of the Parkinson Study Group, Huntington Study Group and other research consortiums, allowing our fellows a window into the promise and the possibilities of clinical research.  Our center participates in research involving many of the groundbreaking new therapies for Parkinson’s. We were highly enrolling sites for the trials leading to the approval of the Abbott and Boston Scientific DBS systems.  We were a central site for clinical trial enrollment in the carbidopa and levodopa enteral suspension (Duopa), the carbidopa and levodopa extended-release capsules (Rytary), the inhaled levodopa (Inbrija) and the subcutaneous apomorphine pump.  At the same time, our clinical and basic science divisions have a strong history and current presence in NIH funded research.  Our role in the NeuroNEXT network, a NINDS initiative to conduct exploratory trials in neurological conditions with collaborations from academics, foundations and industry, positions us well to advance this research even further.  The abundant research opportunities are tailor-made to help advance our fellows’ education and initiate them into a research career.  We feel research is an integral part of the fellowship education that takes place throughout the two-year fellowship and is not relegated to a separate time frame.  Our fellows have protected time throughout their fellowship to contribute to their research and educational responsibilities.

University of Cincinnati, along with Stanford University, was the first national Davis Phinney Research Center. Our clinical and basic science divisions have a strong history and current presence in NIH, foundational and industry-funded research. Please see Table 2 in the Appendix for current efforts.

Clinical Care

Our center utilizes a multidisciplinary approach to caring for the Parkinson’s patient, with close involvement from social work, psychology, neuropsychology, speech, physical, and occupational therapies, personal trainers, and exercise physiologists.  Learning in an environment such as this forces the developing fellow to understand the necessity of a team approach to care for the patient.  Fellows are exposed very early to the botulinum toxin and DBS clinics, as well as weekly intraoperative microelectrode recording opportunities in DBS surgeries, in order to gain expertise immediately and begin to master these disciplines.  Fellows participate in a genetic counseling clinic for those with a family history of Huntington’s disease.  Our educational curriculum also has a multidisciplinary bent, with weekly conferences in conjunction with the Cognitive/Behavioral neurology division, journal club presentations, and the famous “Wine and Cheese” Movement Disorders Video Rounds, masterfully run by Dr. Alberto Espay.  Trainees are expected to present at grand rounds and give lectures on various movement disorder topics to the residents and medical students.  In addition, they act as discussion leaders and speakers at selected meetings of the local Parkinson's disease support groups.

Clinical Support

The Movement Disorders fellows at the University of Cincinnati become a vital part of the team helping to care for Parkinson’s patient and translate basic science and experimental medications into real therapies for our patients.  The fellow’s education is the highest priority and drives the formation of the curriculum and their scheduled clinical duties.  The mentorship process, whether involving the submission of grants to promote the fellow’s own research projects, to gaining experience in ongoing clinical trials, writing and revising chapters for publications in Movement Disorders reference works, or learning how to provide superb clinical care to each and every patient – fellows are guided in all of these activities by the close involvement of our faculty.  Our fellows are expected to attend and ultimately present research at national and international Movement Disorders meetings, and the department provides support for them to do so. Our close and regular collaboration with our cognitive/behavioral colleagues offers the fellows a unique way to appreciate many of the disorders that we treat.  With the high degree of cognitive/movement overlap between syndromes like dementia with Lewy bodies, frontotemporal dementia with parkinsonism, normal pressure hydrocephalus, and even the motor manifestations in Alzheimer’s disease and the cognitive manifestations of Parkinson’s disease, it only makes sense to fight these battles from a common front and to educate and “cross-train” both our faculty and our fellows in the cutting edge understanding of these conditions.  Our program is constantly evolving and pursuing new ways to train our fellows to practice and develop research in the rapidly evolving world of Movement Disorders.  Our team approach allows us to continually reassess our goals and give each fellow the best possible training.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The University of Cincinnati is committed to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout all areas of clinical care. Our mission statement was recently updated to explicitly state these goals. The UC College of Medicine has appointed a dean and assistant dean of DEI. Prior research in internal medicine has studied the impact of implicit bias in prescribing practices for atrial fibrillation, and this work expanding to other syndromes.  

Specifically in movements disorders, Dr. Hill is studying racial disparities in Parkinson’s disease diagnosis and treatment. We recently published a paper finding that PD diagnosis codes were less accurate in Black or African American patients than in White patients in our database (PMID: 37517108). UC is one of the top recruiting sites for the NIH-funded study “Racial Disparities in Parkinson’s Disease”, which aims to better understand symptoms of PD in people who identify as Black or African American. We have developed a protocol to screen for PD in the community in partnership with neurology trainees from diverse backgrounds and an organization that fights isolation in Black and African American seniors in Cincinnati. We were recently selected to receive a grant of $5,000 for this work from the Michael J. Fox Foundation.  

Fellows work closely with the Movement Disorders Faculty, which include:

Find further information about the Gardner Neuroscience Institute.

Graduates of the University of Cincinnati Movement Disorders Clinical Fellowship

  • Andrew Duker, MD — Professor, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
  • Helard Miranda, MD — Movement Disorders Neurologist, Instituto Neuro Cardiovascular de las Américas
  • Chris Kobet, MD — Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids, MI
  • Hector Gonzalez-Usigli, MD — Professor, HE UMAE CMNO, Guadalajara, Mexico
  • Cara Jacob, MD — Assistant Professor, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
  • Enrique Urrea-Mendoza, MD—Assistant Professor, Clemson University, Clemson, SC
  • David Schmerler, DO — Movement Disorders Neurologist, Riverhills Neuroscience, Cincinnati, OH
  • Lilia Lovera, MD — Assistant Professor, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
  • Federico Rodriquez-Porcel, MD — Assistant Professor, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
  • Jennifer Vaughan, MD — on leave, previously Assistant Professor, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
  • Syed Amir Zaidi, MD — Assistant Professor, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
  • Luis Miguel Situ Kcomt — Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE
  • Abhimanyu Mahajan — Assistant Professor, Rush University, Chicago, IL
  • Jennifer Sharma, MD — Assistant Professor, Queens University, Kingston, ON
  • Nathaniel Wachter, MD — Movement Disorders Neurologist, Mercy Clinic Neurology, St. Louis, MO
  • Jack Shen, MD — Movement Disorders Neurologist, Wellstar Neurology, Roswell, GA
  • Zachary Jordan, MD — Assistant Professor, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
  • Vanesa Botsford, MD — Movement Disorders Neurologist. SSM Health in Madison, WI
  • Christopher Wood, MD — Movement Disorders Neurologist, St. Elizabeth Healthcare, Crestview Hills, KY

Image of Alberto Espay, MD, MScProgram Director:
Alberto Espay, MD, MSc
Program Director, Movement Disorders Fellowship University of Cincinnati Neurology & Rehabilitation
Stetson Building
Suite 2300
260 Stetson Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45267-0525
Phone: 513-558-4050

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