The designation includes $50,000 a year in funding to help support a multidisciplinary team of health care professionals with expertise in Huntington's Disease. The team will provide comprehensive medical and social services as well as education, outreach and research opportunities to the HD community.
"This is great news," said neuroscientist Juan Sanchez-Ramos, PhD, MD, who directs the HDSA Center of Excellence at USF. "The Center of Excellence will focus on offering services, comfort and hope to patients and their families while moving towards real solutions to the illness."
"The designation gives us national visibility and helps strengthen our neuroscience program. It sets us up to offer more clinical trials of potential new therapies that may slow progression of the disease."
USF joins a select group of 21 HDSA Centers of Excellence across the country, including those at Johns Hopkins, Harvard/MGH, the University of Virginia, Emory and Baylor.
"The Huntington's Disease Society of America is committed to identifying and designating 25 HDSA Centers of Excellence by 2006," said Barbara Boyle, HDSA National Executive Director/CEO. "The addition of USF means that our HD families living throughout Florida will no longer have to travel to Atlanta, Georgia, or Birmingham, Alabama, to receive the exceptional quality of care offered by an HDSA Center of Excellence. We look forward to working with the staff at USF to make this an outstanding Center of Excellence, which we will formally dedicate in January 2005."