UTHealth Houston’s Movement Disorders and Neurodegenerative Diseases Fellowship Training Program (UTMOVE fellowship program) has been chosen by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) as one of eight international academic centers to train a new movement disorder clinician-researcher — a neurologist with additional training and expertise in diagnosing and treating Parkinson’s and related diseases — as part of the Edmond J. Safra Fellowship in Movement Disorders Class of 2025.
Launched in 2014, the Edmond J. Safra Fellowship in Movement Disorders — a partnership between MJFF and the Edmond J. Safra Foundation — annually provides funding for esteemed academic centers around the world to, over two years, each train a new movement disorder specialist. With generous additional support from the Edmond J. Safra Foundation, due to the program’s tremendous success in helping to build a global network of Parkinson’s doctors, the fellowship has expanded from five to eight centers awarded each year. The Fellows will each receive $90,000 per year.
“We are extremely honored and grateful to receive this award,” said Mya C. Schiess, MD, professor and the Adriana Blood Distinguished Chair in Neurology and division chief and founding director of the Movement Disorders and Neurodegenerative Diseases (UTMOVE) subspecialty clinic and fellowship program with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston. “This is a recognition of the quality of our training program and the impact that we have in our community.”
For more than 20 years, Schiess has led the UTMOVE fellowship program, which has successfully trained 31 fellows in a comprehensive, compassionate, and evidence-based approach to movement disorders. Sixty percent of program graduates have chosen to pursue an academic career given their passion for teaching and research. The program is credentialed by the Graduate Medical Education and Texas Medical Board.
First-year training for the UTMOVE fellowship program at UTHealth Houston focuses on delivering excellence in diagnosing and managing movement disorders. The program’s hands-on training emphasizes procedural skills for botulinum toxin therapy, Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), and Intrathecal Baclofen Pumps (ITB). Fellows also rotate through the Huntington’s Disease Society of America Center of Excellence at UTHealth Houston Neurosciences. In the second year, fellows conduct individual projects in basic science, translational, and/or clinical research with faculty in the Department of Neurology at McGovern Medical School and collaborators.
The Edmond J. Safra Fellowship in Movement Disorders is growing a global base of dedicated movement disorder specialists who can make significant contributions by delivering high-quality patient care, leading scientific advances toward better understanding and treatment of movement disorders, and engaging their local or underrepresented communities. The Fellowship now extends across 28 world-renowned academic institutions in eight countries and is on track to graduate 72 new specialists by the year 2028.
In addition to UTHealth Houston’s UTMOVE fellowship program, the Class of 2025 awardees are: Charité – Universitätsmedizin in Berlin, Germany; Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois; University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada; University of Rochester in Rochester, New York; University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles, California; University of Sydney and Westmead Hospital in Sydney, Australia; and University of Tübingen in Tübingen, Germany.
An external review committee of movement disorder specialists, assembled by MJFF, selected the eight centers from a highly competitive group of applicants. Selection of awardees was based on several criteria, including previous history training successful movement disorder clinician-researchers; the breadth and depth of clinical care and research education and opportunities; departmental support for the fellow; and programs and opportunities for fellows to advance equitable access and diversity across clinical care, research, education and community outreach.
“This growing global network of expertly trained movement disorder specialists will help ensure that people and families living with Parkinson’s receive comprehensive and compassionate care and that critical research moves forward to meet their most pressing needs,” said Lily Safra, chairwoman of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation. “I’m deeply proud of The Edmond J. Safra Fellowship’s significant impact on Parkinson’s care and research.”
UTHealth Houston’s UTMOVE fellowship program is now recruiting a fellow for the Class of 2025 Edmond J. Safra Fellowship in Movement Disorders through the San Francisco matching program. The candidate will begin their two-year training in July 2023.
About The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF)
As the world's largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson's research, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinson's disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition today. The Foundation pursues its goals through an aggressively funded, highly targeted research program coupled with active global engagement of scientists, Parkinson's patients, business leaders, clinical trial participants, donors and volunteers. In addition to funding $1.5 billion in research to date, the Foundation has fundamentally altered the trajectory of progress toward a cure. Operating at the hub of worldwide Parkinson's research, the Foundation forges groundbreaking collaborations with industry leaders, academic scientists and government research funders; creates a robust open- access data set and biosample library to speed scientific breakthroughs and treatment with its landmark clinical study, PPMI; increases the flow of participants into Parkinson's disease clinical trials with its online tool, Fox Trial Finder; promotes Parkinson's awareness through high-profile advocacy, events and outreach; and coordinates the grassroots involvement of thousands of Team Fox members around the world. For more information, visit us at www.michaeljfox.org, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.
About the Edmond J. Safra Foundation
Edmond J. Safra, one of the 20th century’s most accomplished bankers and a devoted philanthropist, established a major philanthropic foundation to ensure that individuals and organizations would continue to receive his assistance and encouragement for many years to come. Under the chairmanship of his beloved wife Lily, the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation draws continuing inspiration from its founder’s life and values, and supports hundreds of organizations in more than 40 countries around the world. Its work encompasses four areas: Education; Science and Medicine; Religion; and Humanitarian Assistance, Culture and Social Welfare. The Foundation has provided significant funding for Parkinson’s disease research and patient care at dozens of hospitals and institutes in places as varied as Natal (Brazil), Toronto, New York, Grenoble, Paris, London and Jerusalem.