The University of Louisville Physicians ALS Clinic, located at Frazier Rehab Institute, was named a Recognized Treatment Clinic by The ALS Association on Tuesday, Sept. 16. The clinic is one of 50 in the United States to earn such a designation.
The designation follows a rigorous clinical and administrative review by the association and a vote of its board. Earning the recognition means the clinic meets a national standard of quality and implements best-practice care for patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
In addition to celebrating the designation, the University of Louisville announced the establishment of a research fund to further the activities of the clinic as it pursues its goal of becoming a Certified Center for Excellence. Dr. James Ramsey, president of the University of Louisville, kicked off the new UofL ALS research fund with a personal donation of $10,000, which he announced at the news conference Tuesday.
Ramsey made his donation as part of the “ice bucket challenge” that has swept the nation since July and greatly raised awareness of ALS and contributions to ALS research. He participated in the challenge on Aug. 28 on the UofL Health Sciences Campus. (Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3im8sWo1R3g&feature=youtu.be)
On Tuesday, The ALS Association’s Kentucky Chapter also presented the UofL Physicians ALS Clinic with a $10,000 check.
The ALS Association’s Certified Center Program – which includes Recognized Treatment Clinics and Certified Centers of Excellence – selects, recognizes and supports distinguished institutions recognized as the best in the field when it comes to knowledge, skill and experience with ALS; access to care; and neurological diagnostics and imaging. Recognized Treatment Clinics must also have an on-site designated multidisciplinary team.
Other requirements to become a Recognized Treatment Clinic are serving a number of patients living with ALS, and an ongoing relationship with the local chapter to provide programs to assist those with ALS and their families. The primary goal of the ALS recognition process is to ensure each patient receives the best evidence-based care closely linked to positive outcomes.
The new UofL research program will have two components: clinical research, which includes trials of possible treatments for existing patients; and basic science research of ALS to try to determine how the disease starts and why it progresses.