Pan American Section

Welcome from the Chair

Pan American Section

Francisco Cardoso, MD, PhD, FAAN
Professor of Neurology
The Federal University of Minas Gerais
Belo Horizonte, Brazil


April 2017

Dear Colleagues,

As my term as chair is coming to a close in June, I would like to thank a large group of people who have provided guidance and support throughout my tenure: MDS Officers, particularly our President Oscar Gershanik; my fellow MDS-PAS Officers Emilia Gatto and Janis Miyasaki; Jennifer Goldman who has been doing an outstanding job as chair of the MDS-PAS Education Committee, Jorge Juncos, Past Chair of MDS-PAS; members of the Executive Committee of MDS-PAS; and last, but not least, Nilda Toro, MDS-PAS staff liaison, who without her help, very little would have been delivered.

During the past two years we continue to have many successes as a section. We held our first strategic planning meeting and discussed and established the priorities, initiatives, and objectives for the section for the next four years. These priorities and goals will be measured against the overall Strategic Plan for MDS to ensure that the Strategic Plan of MDS as a whole is reflected in the Pan American Section’s Strategic Plan.

We successfully held our first MDS-PAS Congress, in Miami, FL, USA on February 24-26, 2017, which was a goal since the inception of the MDS-Pan American Section. To personally be a part of the development of this congress was a true pleasure and see to see it come to fruition was surreal. Please read the summary report on the following pages.

We organized and presented 11 educational courses, 10 Ambassador Programs, one Visiting Professor Program and four Developing World Education Programs (DWEP). We are pleased to add that through the use of DWEP funds we were able to financially support 66 participants from MDS Waived Dues Countries to attend some of our educational offerings, which in many cases they would not have had the opportunity to attend and learn more about movement disorders.

Through our Visiting Trainee Grant program we awarded 12 grants to qualified individuals to train in movement disorders centers outside of their residing country. We are pleased to announce the second cycle of 2017 MDS-PAS Visiting Trainee Grant recipients: Valentina Besa from the Universidad de los Andes in Santiago, Chile will train at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL, USA under the guidance of Dr. Goldman for six weeks and Verónica Montilla from Los Andes University in Merída, Venezuela will train at the Hospital de Clinicas "José de San Martín" in Buenos Aires, Argentina under the guidance of Dr. Federico Micheli for one year. The intention is that all of the awardees will return home and disseminate their new knowledge to increase the quality of patient care.

We were an integral part of connecting movement disorder specialists in Central America to assemble, discuss the successes and challenges in their countries, in regards to movement disorders, and to continue to work as an official group called the Central American Movement Disorders Work Group. They have also become an MDS Affiliate Member Society. We will continue to support their efforts as Central America is an area that MDS-PAS has been wanting to collaborate with for many years. Thank you to everyone involved with this new group.       

We partnered with the Michael J. Fox Foundation to present two iterations of the Movement Disorders School for Neurology Residents. The intention of this course is to educate neurology residents about movement disorders and motivate them to consider potentially specializing in the field.

The MDS-PAS Executive and Education Committee have revised the Needs Assessment Survey to ensure that the questions provided and data collected will assist us with planning our future courses. We ask for your participation in filling out this survey when it is emailed to you in the coming months. 

The MDS-PAS represents 39.8% of the total MDS Membership (6479) with 2,576 members in the MDS-PAS for the 2016 term, which consists of 558 new members and 2018 returning members. We have held a consistent 39% representation of MDS membership since 2012. The vast majority of the regional section resides in North America with 66.7% in the United States (1719) and 8.4% in Canada (216). The remaining 24.9% of the MDS-PAS resides across 22 countries of the MDS-PAS, with highest populations in Brazil (223) representing 8.7% of the PAS, Argentina (142) at 5.5% of the PAS, and Mexico (107) at 4.1% of the total sections membership (2576). We will continue our membership recruitment efforts to include more members from countries that are underrepresented in South and Central America.

A new effort was implemented with the translation of the MDS patient leaflets into Portuguese and Spanish, involving the work of our young active members as voluntary translators.

Responding to the request to improve communication, a quarterly electronic newsletter to members was implemented with the first edition released in April 2016. Through this newsletter we highlight regional initiatives and regional updates.   

As you can see, we have been busy in managing the section initiatives to the best of our ability. We hope that these initiatives are in line with the expectations of our members and will contribute to the improvement of movement disorders patient care. Thank you for allowing us to represent our regional section.

All my best wishes,

Francisco Cardoso, MD, PhD, FAAN
Chair, MDS-PAS