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Speech and Hearing Perspectives

Tribute to Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center

Published July 30, 2015 9:30 AM by Speech Merion

Having managed nearly 200,000 patient visits, and conducted in excess of 12,000 education and wellness classes, the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center in Phoenix is celebrating its extraordinary accomplishments with a unique testimonial video featuring patients paying tribute to the 17-year-old comprehensive center and its famous namesake.

"To have Muhammad Ali's name on our center implies a terrific responsibility," says Abraham Lieberman, MD, neurologist and director at the center. He speaks in the video about finding the best doctor and getting the best treatment. "This video is an incredible testament to the strong community we've created to offer the quality care and support that all patients deserve to receive."

Since opening in 1997, the center has seen three expansions and grown to become the nation's farthest-reaching Parkinson's program. Additionally, with support from surgeons at Dignity Health St. Joseph's Barrow Neurological Institute, it has become a leader in deep brain stimulation (DBS), which is a revolutionary treatment for movement disorders that involves a surgically implanted medical device, the so-called ‘brain pacemaker.’

Over the years, the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center has held education and wellness classes in both English and Spanish throughout Arizona, into Nevada, Texas, Montana, South Dakota, Washington, and Florida. Home to the nation's largest Hispanic outreach program for Parkinson's, the center currently hosts annual Spanish education webinars with audiences in several South and Central American countries as well as Switzerland.

"At the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center, you learn that there's so much more that you can do to keep a good quality of life," says Ida Stanford, a patient featured in the video which pays tribute to Muhammad Ali and illustrates some of the center's topnotch services. "You have to learn to live the best you can. I couldn't imagine having Parkinson's and not having a place like the center here."

SEE ALSO: Parkinson's Disease Symposium Enlightens Patients and Caregivers

The center's outreach programs have been designed by experts to help people living with Parkinson's and their family members build positive support systems and better understand the disease. With emphasis on maintaining a positive quality of life, the center's current offerings include support groups, education classes, art and voice classes, music therapy, singing groups and unique Parkinson's specific exercise opportunities including dance, yoga, golf, tai chi and pole walking.

Attracting patients from all over the world, the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center is a designated National Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence supported by the world-renowned neurosurgeons at St. Joseph's Barrow and includes movement disorder neurologists, outpatient rehabilitation and neuropsychology services, nurses, researchers, medical fellows and supportive staff.

"Muhammad Ali became the face of our fight," says George Prescott, another patient featured in the video. "If you really want to put PD in its place, you couldn't do it without St. Joseph's and the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center."

Watch the video here and share your thoughts below on the legendary boxer and the advances in treatment for Parkinson’s he has helped researchers achieve.

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