Last week at our first-ever Advanced Therapeutics in Movement & Related Disorders (ATMRD) Congress, we dove into advanced clinical science with a sold-out crowd of healthcare providers from 46 states who work across the Movement Disorder Care & Support Ecosystem©—neurologists, movement disorder specialists, speech therapists, nurse practitioners, residents, fellows, physician assistants, social workers, and more.
We had been dreaming of this Congress for two years. Dreaming of clinicians from varied backgrounds, experiences, and roles joining together to build connections and to gain new skills and knowledge of cutting-edge therapeutics. Throughout the Congress, healthcare providers shared their nuggets of wisdom with us—nuggets they learned at ATMRD that they’ll now take back to their clinics with them. This matters. Every pearl of wisdom they gleaned will impact real people living with a movement disorder. Behind every scientific innovation, every latest-and-greatest therapy and medication they discussed, are real faces. Every clinician who showed up and chose to immerse themselves in ATMRD strengthened their commitment to improve lives today.
MaryCarol Reeder, a nurse practitioner in La Jolla, California, shared with us, “I haven’t felt so excited to be a nurse practitioner in a very long time!”
Michael Soileau, MD, from Georgetown, Texas, remarked, “This is the best conference ever!”
In fact, clinicians from across the Ecosystem© sat down to tell us their stories and the stories of their patients. They shared not only the ways they’re working tirelessly to care for their patients with the utmost understanding and knowledge, but the ways their patients have impacted them. There was the nurse practitioner in Little Rock, Arkansas, whose patients raised her up when her son died, carrying her through every day. There was the neurologist who brought his son, a new resident, to the conference, ready to pass on the skills of caring to the next generation. There was the industry rep who said the best part of his job is hearing the ways his company’s therapeutics change people’s lives, like the care partner who told him she and her husband always loved to dance until his OFF time became overwhelming. By using an advanced therapeutic from his company, they’ve brushed off their dancing shoes again, and spend time dancing the salsa together.
We brought with us our “Courageous Conversations” board, which was filled with your wishes—wishes from people living with the disease, their family members and care partners of what they want others to know about navigating a movement disorder. Healthcare providers took the time to read them, hearing your voices and experiences, and then they wrote down their own. Here are a few of the many wishes they recorded:
“I wish you knew it makes us so happy to be able to help you.”
“I wish you knew that you inspire us to treat you and grow with you.”
“I wish you knew that I care and that I would not do for you what I wouldn’t do for my own dad who has Parkinson’s.”
“I wish you knew that Parkinson’s is just a part of you. It is not ALL of you.”
This was our first year hosting ATMRD in collaboration with Georgetown MedStar University Hospital—and it won’t be our last. Because not only did it educate, uplift, and inspire healthcare providers in movement disorders across the nation, it brought each network in the Ecosystem© closer together: your voices shined through, bringing the heart of your experiences to clinicians.
It is only when we’re working in alignment with each other, with all voices seen and heard, that we can continue to propel the movement disorders field forward.