MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – In recognition of the high standard of care provided to West Virginians living with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease), WVU Healthcare has been designated an MDA/ALS center by the Muscular Dystrophy Association. It’s the first time for a West Virginia clinic to receive this honor.

WVU Healthcare joins 40 other MDA/ALS centers across the country staffed by multidisciplinary teams of healthcare professionals skilled in diagnosing and treating ALS. Every MDA/ALS center is required to have a neurologist, pulmonologist, speech/swallow therapist and nutritionist on its staff, along with physical and occupational therapists.

“We’re excited to be designated as an MDA/ALS center,” Laurie Gutmann, M.D., the center’s director, said. “Excellence in clinical care and development of treatment strategies through the support of MDA is vital for better quality of care and better quality of life for those who are affected by ALS.”

As an MDA/ALS center, WVU Healthcare will also provide a wide array of Muscular Dystrophy Association healthcare services to individuals and families living with ALS, including support groups, educational seminars and home visits.

“We welcome the MDA/ALS center at WVU Healthcare to our network of clinics with exceptional expertise in ALS care,” Valerie Cwik, M.D., MDA interim president and medical director, said. “We know that under the direction of Dr. Gutmann the center will provide high-quality comprehensive care and help to advance the search for treatments and eventual cures for those individuals and families facing the journey with ALS.”

ALS is a disease of the motor neurons, muscle-controlling nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement.

The clinic in Morgantown has been providing care for people with neuromuscular diseases since 1994. It conducts clinical trials on-site and has helped recruit individuals for clinical trials at other sites.

Attention reporters and editors: Dr. Laurie Gutmann and state MDA officials will be available to speak with press from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday, March 8. If you are interested in visiting the MDA/ALS clinic, please call the HSC News Service at 304-293-7087 in advance.
For more information: Leigh Limerick, WVU Healthcare & HSC Communications Specialist, 304-293-7087
lal: 03-06-12