Sarah Pirio Richardson, MD, and Amanda Deligtisch, MD
By Sarah Pirio Richardson, MD, and Amanda Deligtisch, MD

Grassroots to Greatness: UNM HSC’s Nene and Jamie Koch Comprehensive Movement Disorder Center

The Comprehensive Movement Disorder Center centralizes and expedites specialty care for patients with Parkinson disease and other movement disorders.

In 2018, the New Mexico state legislature approved $3.5 million in funding to build a dedicated, 16,322-square-foot clinic space to house The Nene and Jamie Koch Comprehensive Movement Disorder Center at UNM Health Sciences Center—the only such center in the state.

This legislative action was spearheaded by former legislator and University of New Mexico regent Jamie Koch. When Koch was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2017, he faced a months-long waiting list for local specialty care due to limited access to subspecialty care in New Mexico.

Rallying a grassroots effort throughout the state, Koch along with other New Mexicans with movement disorders, successfully won the support of the state legislature and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to fund the new facility. UNM HSC responded to the clinical need and generosity of the legislature by matching this state funding. With this combined effort, building has begun with plans to open in the summer of 2022.

As part of our mission, the CMDC is dedicated to providing local, timely access to multidisciplinary movement disorder care, to teaching all types of learners and to bringing clinical trials and movement disorder research to New Mexico for New Mexicans.

With additional support from individual donors, the CMDC has been creating a true multidisciplinary program for superb patient care, that has improved patient access and is teaching learners the intricacies of movement disorder neurology.

With the anticipated opening of our new facility in the summer of 2022, we look forward to expanding our mission and efforts. We are eager to welcome new and existing patients, residents and providers to The Nene and Jamie Koch Comprehensive Movement Disorder Center and into our new facility when completed.

Quick Facts About the Center

Centralization of Expert Care

The new CMDC facility embodies a thoughtful, community-centric design that is reflective of the center’s origin story, as well as our educational and clinical philosophies. Rather than sending patients out of state for care, having long waits or requiring several different appointments, we will be able to consolidate multidisciplinary, specialty movement disorder care within one state-of-the-art facility.

Our new facility will offer holistic health care for our patients with on-site access to speech and language pathology, physical therapy and other rehab services in a multidisciplinary care model. Our staff includes case managers, social workers and other allied healthcare professionals collectively advocating for and working with our patients.

Access to Clinical Trials and Research

The new facility will be equipped with the staffing, technology and space needed to participate in movement disorder clinical trials and research. Patients will now have the opportunity to participate in leading-edge research locally in New Mexico.

Residents and movement disorder fellows will get hands-on clinical trial experience.

With the opportunity to:

  • Actively enroll patients
  • Participate in clinical trial management
  • Conduct research
  • Implement study steps, such as examining and surveying patients and administering medication

Multiuse Rehab and Community Education Space

Our new space will feature a large rehabilitation gym that houses rehab services during weekdays and doubles as a civic space. Here, individuals, residents and providers can convene for community-driven education and support group programs and other group events.

This multi-use feature is emblematic of the grass roots effort that made this space a reality. This building is designed to serve our patient population in multiple ways, not only as a clinical facility but also as a living, active testament to our shared dedication to the health and quality of life of New Mexicans.


How We Serve Patients Today

New Mexico has an aging population with a growing need for specialized movement disorder care. An estimated 5,300 of the 1 million people in the U.S. with Parkinson disease live in New Mexico. An estimated additional 5,000 New Mexicans have another movement disorder diagnosis.

Currently, the CMDC is supported by a dedicated care team that includes three movement disorder fellowship-trained neurologists, a nurse practitioner with movement disorder expertise, our case management team providing RN and social work specialty care, movement disorder nurses and medical assistants. We have strong relationships with rehab services, neuropsychology and neurosurgery. When our new facility opens, we will be housed under one roof offering increased opportunities for team based, efficient care.

Clinically we offer evaluation, diagnosis and management of all movement disorders and specialized therapies including Botox injections and DBS. Academically, we offer unparalleled access to the full depth and breadth of movement disorder neurology and therapies to all learners. 

Tele-neurology services will continue to provide clinical and case management care to our movement disorder patients in remote areas of New Mexico. This technology provides continuity of care for our patients who cannot travel distances.

UNM HSC has longstanding partnerships with prestigious organizations such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as well as the Parkinson’s Foundation for funding, research grants and clinical studies. Our collaboration affords trainees and patients the opportunity to experience state of the art movement disorder care that is not otherwise widely available in the region.

Patient Relationships Are Key

Passionate faculty, staff, and residents are the heart of the patient centric, multidisciplinary care that we provide. Movement disorder specialists have an eye for detail, natural curiosity and think broadly to provide individualized care for their patients. Many of our patients have progressive conditions that result in long term relationships with their care team. As well, we value the role of caregivers who are deeply involved in all aspects of our patient’s specialized care.

Learners at the CMDC

At UNM HSC, neurology residents actively participate in patient evaluations, bring their own observations to the table and collaboratively create treatment plans.

We mentor residents to develop relationships with patients to empathize with and understand their personal, professional and health goals. Alongside faculty advisors, residents use their patients’ personal expectations as benchmarks to set achievable treatment goals and personalize a treatment plan that works for their lifestyle.

At the CMDC all learners are welcome. Our mission is to educate all types of learners about movement disorders to increase knowledge and awareness throughout the state.

Curious About Movement Disorder Training?

Schedule a call with JJ Maloney, Medical Education Program Manager for the UNM HSC Department of Neurology.
Categories: Neurology