Last month, PMD Alliance and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital teamed up for a four day congress: Advanced Therapeutics in Movement & Related Disorders™ (ATMRD). Movement disorder clinicians from around the world came together in Washington D.C. to experience hands-on training on the latest therapies, receive cutting-edge education in clinical research, and get excited about what’s on the horizon for their patients. All of this with the goal of better care and treatment for people living with Parkinson’s and related movement disorders.
Studies demonstrate as many as 1.2 million Americans live with Parkinson’s today, with about 90,000 people in the U.S. diagnosed annually, a 50% increase from previous 2012 data.
Truthfully speaking—there aren’t enough movement disorder specialists to manage the often debilitating symptoms of those affected, leaving many people under-supported. At ATMRD, we bring together some of best and brightest movement disorder minds, connecting them with those who want to learn from their experience. Medical resident and fellow scholarships, as well as advance practice provider (APP) scholarships, were provided to ensure the next generation of movement disorder clinicians are equipped to meet the demands of the 21st century.
PMD Alliance owes much of ATMRD’s success to our incredible faculty of movement disorder experts, industry partners, and community leaders. “It’s all about the patient, first and foremost! You don’t have to be a movement disorder neurologist for ATMRD to benefit your practice,” said Fernando Pagan, MD, Movement Disorders Specialist and course director for ATMRD. “I’ve tried for 10 years getting this congress up and going. It wasn’t until we partnered with PMD Alliance that my dream became a reality. At Georgetown MedStar we bring the intellectual, but that patient care and empathy is the special sauce that comes from PMD Alliance, and what makes this congress so special.” Dr. Pagan is also Professor & Vice Chairman, Department of Neurology at Georgetown University Medical Center.
For those living with movement disorders today, it’s vital to have a fully dedicated care team on your side. Neurologists, APPs, physicians, drug and therapy developers, pharmacists, physical therapists, and more play an important role in your treatment plan. “What makes PMD Alliance different is our guiding star, the Movement Disorder Care & Support Ecosystem©,” says Andrea Merriam, CEO of PMD Alliance. “At the center are those living with a movement disorder, complex conditions which last decades. It’s not about just taking some pills and you’re okay, they require a constellation of care. ATMRD tackles the team approach with the ultimate goal of better patient care.”
“ATMRD is unique. Where other neurological conferences stop at diagnosis, ATMRD is about the most current therapies, covering the whole gamut including workshop trainings, hands-on learning, injections, skin biopsies, and more. What are you going to do once your patient is diagnosed? What is their therapeutic journey to provide the highest quality of life possible?” said Yasar Torres-Yaghi, Movement Disorders Specialist at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and course director for ATMRD.
“My favorite course was the comprehensive review of all the upcoming therapies,” said Austin Oblack, MD Physician from the Greater Pitts Area. “It covered everything in the pipeline from standard symptomatic management, to advanced therapies from the surgical context, all the way to disease modifying therapy. It’s difficult to go through all the websites and clinical trials on our own, it’s very beneficial.”
ATMRD also represented those living with Parkinson’s. Anna Grill, Eric Aquino, Charlotte Juarez, Charice Williams, and Lori DePorter ensured the real-world experiences of people with Parkinson’s were top of mind as learners explored ways to best manage symptoms. Special thanks to them for keeping the event grounded in the needs of the movement disorders community.
“Patient-centric and knowledge-driven treatment plans are terrific! But what if you can’t access these due to obstacles with health insurance coverage and reimbursement?” Jean Hubble, MD, ATMRD attendee said. “This is a complex, thorny topic, but ATMRD organizers didn’t shy away from it. A robust panel discussion was held on this matter and, importantly, an individual with Parkinson’s was on stage for this.”
Allie Thoth, MD Fellow at Case Western in Cleveland, said, “This so different from the other conferences I attend. Not only am I getting educated on the newest therapies, but also how to prescribe them and fight for my patients. This is something we are not taught in school.”
None of this would have been possible without the support of our industry partners who are both developing new treatments for future generations and helping educate providers on what is available right now. A common theme of the conference was the need for industry and healthcare providers to work in concert to best serve the needs of people with Parkinson’s; we’re excited and grateful to work with partners who understand the need for meaningful collaboration in service of the movement disorders community.
“Not only is ATMRD important to my practice, but so is PMD Alliance,” said Alissa Higginbotham, fellow at Case Western, soon to be MDS at University of Virginia. “I frequently refer my patients to PMD Alliance’s website for support groups and the medication treatment options and assistance. It contains every medication listed with a description, and how to get financial assistance if needed. I only have 30 minutes per patient, so I can only do so much patient education, their website helps supplement that education.”
“The remarkable thing about bringing the entire care team together is that their passion, their joy, and their knowledge ripples across their workplaces and over onto their colleagues. PMD Alliance will continue building upon this momentum next year by making ATMRD 2024 more impactful than ever,” said Andrea Merriam, CEO of PMD Alliance.
Thank you to our wonderful faculty, attendees, and sponsors! We couldn’t do this without you!