Department of Neurology

Neurology Clinical and Academic Programs - Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Program


Parkinson's disease is the second most common brain degenerative disorder in the United States after Alzheimer's disease. It is no respecter of persons, young or old, various races, genders, occupations, or other factors that distinguish us as individuals. It has impacted the lives of famous people such as baseball star Kirk Gibson, singer and songwriter Neil Diamond, former Attorney General Janet Reno, actor Michael J. Fox, boxer Muhammed Ali, singer and songwriter Linda Ronstadt, and actor Alan Alda. It is estimated that over 1 million people are living with Parkinson's disease in the United States now and that number is expected to double in the next 10 to 15 years.



  • Lawrence Elmer, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Mehmood Rashid, M.D.
    Assistant Professor
  • Jennifer Amsdell, M.D.
    Assistant Professor
  • Jomana Al-Hinti, M.D.
    Assistant Professor

Social Workers

  • Kristen Schuchmann, LSW
    Director of the Huntington’s Clinic


Nursing Staff

  • Mary Scott, FNP-C
    Assistant Clinical Professor

Research Personnel

  • Stephanie Wilson, RN, MSN
    Lead Clinical Coordinator
  • Nancy Vollmar, RN
    Assistant Clinical Coordinator
  • Julia Spears, CCRC
    Research Administrator





The UToledo PDMDP is the only movement disorder program in NW Ohio staffed by fellowship trained specialists treating patients with diseases such as Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, Lewy body dementia, and various types of dystonia and tremor disorders. In addition to providing expert diagnosis and treatment, our program employs an interdisciplinary approach that involves nurses, social workers, pharmacists, physical, occupational and speech therapists, as well as neuropsychologists.

Patients with various movement disorders are provided comprehensive, cutting edge therapy for their diseases, including treatments that were usually tested through our clinical research program. Working with medications before they are FDA approved gives our clinicians the experience and knowledge necessary to provide patients with optimal pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches to disease management. In addition, our clinicians are able to treat patients with types of dystonia using ultrasound guided injections, an approach that is only practiced by the top 1% of dystonia centers around the world. Our program currently treats about half of all patients in NW Ohio diagnosed with Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases.

The PDMDP works in close affiliation with the Parkinson Foundation of Northwest Ohio. Website: WWW.PFNWO.ORG

Research and Education

The Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorder Program (PDMDP), has one of the more active clinical research programs in the country. The faculty travel throughout the region educating and assisting Parkinson's support group members. The PDMDP, in conjunction with other programs in Ohio and Michigan, also conduct one of the largest and most successful annual educational conferences for patients and caregivers in the nation, with over 500 participants in attendance every year.

The PDMDP currently has 10 clinical studies of novel pharmacological treatments underway for various movement disorders, including 2 Huntington’s Disease studies. Four more studies are scheduled to begin in FY20, with recruitment for some studies rate among the highest both nationally and internationally.

The Parkinson’s Program was selected for a third year in a row to be one of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Visiting Nurse Faculty Program (Safra VNFP) training sites in 2020. The Visiting Nurse Faculty PD program is a prestigious multi-center program organized by the Safra Foundation and administered through PD nurses at Johns Hopkins and Penn State with only 10-15 sites in the nation selected annually as training sites.

The annual PD educational conference, now in its 22nd year has featured national speakers such as the former attorney general, Janet Reno, and Rasheda Ali, daughter of Muhammad Ali. This conference is held in collaboration with the Parkinson Foundation of Northwest Ohio.

Treatment Advances

The Parkinson's Disease Movement Disorders Program (PDMDP) has participated in major clinical trials for the treatment of Parkinson's disease (PD) and Huntington’s Disease (HD) including trials of neuroprotective and novel therapeutic agents. Recent advances in medical management of early Parkinson's include once-daily therapies. Newly released and investigational agents offer significant treatment options for patients experiencing limited response to their current medications. For those patients inadequately treated with pharmacological therapies, surgically effective treatment for tremors and Parkinson’s disease may be available through the use of Deep Brain Stimulation. Finally, intramuscular injection of botulinum toxin has demonstrated proven effectiveness for the treatment of dystonic disorders including torticollis, focal dystonia, and blepharospasm.


Through involvement with the Parkinson's Study Group, industry and NIH sponsored multi-center trials, the PDMDP participates in clinical trials of pharmacological agents for the treatment of PD and long term complications of this disease. The molecular basis of neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson's and Huntington's Diseases are also being examined through collaborative efforts with basic science research laboratories on the University of Toledo Main and Health Science Campuses.


The PDMDP also offers a Movement Disorders Fellowship to individuals who have completed either Neurology, Psychiatry, and/or Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Residency Programs. The fellowship is designed for either one or two years. In the first year, fellows are intensively exposed to the diagnosis and management of hypo- and hyperkinetic movement disorders, including pharmacological management of motor, behavioral and cognitive aspects of various movement disorders, including the use of botulinum toxin for dystonias and deep brain stimulation for the treatment of tremors or PD. If desired, fellows can participate for a second year, during which time they serve as sub-investigators in clinical trials in PD and or HD, in order to establish themselves as clinical trial investigators. During the second year, fellows also have the option of pursuing basic science research in the pathophysiology and treatment of movement disorders as well, either at UT or at one of numerous nearby institutions.


Neurology, Neurosurgery, Nursing, Neuroradiology, Neuropathology, Neuropsychology, Geriatric Psychiatry, and Rehabilitation Services.
Last Updated: 1/18/23