Rush University Medical Center Named Center of Excellence by Parkinson's Foundation

The designation builds upon Rush’s history and recognition as a Parkinson's Foundation Research Center

(CHICAGO) — The Parkinson’s Foundation today announced the addition of Rush University Medical Center to its global network of institutions the foundation has designated as Centers of Excellence. The newest designation builds upon Rush’s longstanding history and recognition as a Parkinson’s Foundation Research Center. 

The Center of Excellence network is a proving ground for new therapies and care models through grant programs and targeted initiatives such as the Parkinson’s Outcomes Project, the largest clinical study of Parkinson's disease. This sought-after designation, based on clinical and research excellence, has achieved worldwide recognition.

“This designation is an enormous honor and recognition of the vital program that we have developed to integrate our three-part mission of research, education and patient care excellence,” said Dr. Christopher Goetz, professor of neurological sciences and pharmacology and director of the Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Program at Rush. “With this new designation, the faculty and staff will direct our efforts continually to enhance our services and work in partnership with our patients and families to meet these three missions.”

Parkinson’s disease care and research at Rush

The Rush Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Program is one of the largest and oldest such centers in the country, treating more than 2,000 patients annually. The program’s staff includes eight movement disorder specialists, a psychiatrist and neuropsychologists focused on movement disorders and expert nursing staff.

These clinicians understand that a comprehensive and holistic approach is important for providing the best care for our patients. In addition to treating motor symptoms, the center focuses on the cognitive, behavioral and emotional aspects of movement disorders that can significantly affect patients’ quality of life. Using this holistic approach to care, the team addresses both the motor and non-motor symptoms through the following interventions:

  • Medication management
  • Psychological support for patients and caregivers
  • Education and support groups
  • Surgical management, including deep brain stimulation
  • Research studies — The center is a major Parkinson’s disease research program, with a dozen clinical trials of treatments for the disease currently underway. According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, “Rush offers tremendous innovation in clinical research.” (In addition, numerous laboratory studies at Rush are yielding new insights to Parkinson’s disease.)

Translating research advances into patient care

Along with Rush, the Parkinson’s Foundation named Columbia University Medical Center in New York City a Center of Excellence.

“At Parkinson’s Foundation, we are proud that our longtime investment in Columbia and Rush has played a pivotal role in all significant Parkinson’s research advances,” said John L. Lehr, chief executive officer of Parkinson’s Foundation. “This newest designation recognizes that both institutions are successfully translating those research advancements into improvements in patient care — exactly what our community so urgently needs.”

The Parkinson’s Foundation designates Centers of Excellence following a rigorous application and peer-review process. Currently, there is a worldwide network of 42 leading academic medical centers that leverage the interplay between cutting-edge research and exemplary patient-focused, multidisciplinary care. This network serves more than 100,000 individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

To participate in the competitive designation process, centers must first meet strict criteria for research, comprehensive care, patient outreach services and professional education. The network is widely credited with developing and promoting the modern Parkinson’s team model of care and ensuring patients the highest standards of care.

Every center must re-certify every five years to ensure that it maintains high standards of care. This process includes a review of achievements as well as a team-based peer evaluation, including an on-site assessment.

“Both Columbia and Rush have a long history of research and training that paved the way for the scientific and clinical networks of movement disorders centers,” said Peter Schmidt, Ph.D., chief mission officer and senior vice president of Research and Professional Programs at the National Parkinson Foundation, a division of the Parkinson’s Foundation. “We will change the course of Parkinson’s for tomorrow’s patients by improving care for everyone living with the disease today.”

About Rush

Rush is a not-for-profit health care, education and research enterprise comprising Rush University Medical Center, Rush University, Rush Oak Park Hospital and Rush Health. The mission of Rush is to improve the health of the individuals and diverse communities we serve through the integration of outstanding patient care, education, research, and community partnerships. Rush University Medical Center encompasses a 664-bed hospital serving adults and children. Rush has more than 9,300 employees and faculty. Rush University, with more than 2,500 students is a health sciences university and is comprised of Rush Medical College, the College of Nursing, the College of Health Sciences, and the Graduate College.

In 2015, the nation’s three leading bond rating agencies each issued upgraded financial outlooks for the Rush Obligated Group, which includes Rush University Medical Center, Rush Oak Park Hospital and Rush-Copley Medical Center.

Also in 2015, Rush University Medical Center was ranked second among 102 leading academic medical centers in the United States in a study conducted by Vizient (formerly the University HealthSystem Consortium). The study evaluated participating member hospitals on the basis of mortality, effectiveness, safety, patient centeredness and equity of care. In addition, U.S. News & World Report’s ranked Rush among the best in the country in seven specialties last year in its annual “Best Hospitals” issue.

About the Parkinson’s Foundation

The Parkinson’s Foundation is working toward a world without Parkinson’s disease. Formed by the merger of National Parkinson Foundation and the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation in August 2016, the mission of the Parkinson’s Foundation is to invest in promising scientific research that will end Parkinson’s disease and improve the lives of people with Parkinson’s, and their families, through improved treatments, support and the best care. For more information, visit or call (800) 4PD-INFO (473-4636) or (800) 457-6676.

About Parkinson's disease

Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects nearly one million people in the US and over 10 million worldwide. Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer's and is the 14th leading cause of death in the U.S. It is associated with a loss of motor control (e.g., shaking or tremor at rest and lack of facial expression) as well as non-motor symptoms (e.g., depression and anxiety). Although promising research is being conducted, there is currently no cure for Parkinson's disease.


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