Pan American Section

Welcome from the Chair

Jorge Juncos, MD
Associate Professor of Neurology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA
MDS Pan American Section Chair


April 2014

Jorge JuncosAs the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society-Pan American Section (MDS-PAS) looks ahead and reviews its strategic plan for 2014-2015, it continues to focus efforts on the growth of membership, on improving and expanding educational opportunities, on leveraging the MDS website and in the process, bringing greater cohesion to our members. 

To expand membership, MDS-PAS is establishing collaboration with other organizations, encouraging affiliate membership and offering programs of relevance to individual regions.  This year MDS-PAS introduced a fellowship program to promote research and clinical training in movement disorders.  Further, MDS-PAS continues to foster bridges throughout the region with the launch of a regional e-newsletter and expanded efforts to translate many of the educational materials to both Spanish and Portuguese. 


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In addition to reaching out to regional and national organizations, MDS-PAS plans to expand membership by partnering with national and global organizations that focus on specific movement disorders like the Tourette Syndrome Association and others.  Beyond neurology, MDS-PAS would also like to reach out to general medicine and primary care, a strategy that converges with the goals of our partners in the American Academy of Neurology and the World Federation of Neurology.  Additionally, MDS-PAS has begun to establish a stronger presence in regional meetings with movement disorders representation.  A recent exhibiting effort at the XXXVII Mexican Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting is credited for a significant increase in MDS memberships from Mexico. 

Additionally, through member initiatives and with the help of the MDS-PAS Education Committee, new programs are being developed to meet the needs of members and to further the Society mission.  As an example, later this year, members of MDS-PAS and the MDS European Section (MDS-ES) will launch a novel program aimed at fostering basic research related to movement disorders.  The program, “Fostering New Directions in Parkinson's Research: A Movement Disorders Course for Graduate Students, Post Docs and Junior Scientists,” will take place in White Plains, NY, USA.  A second research program entitled “Clinical Research in Movement Disorders Workshop,” will take place in Buenos Aires, Argentina and will be supported through the MDS-PAS Developing World Education Program.  Further, MDS-PAS and MDS Health Professionals (Non-Physician) Special Interest Group are developing a collaborative program with the National Parkinson Foundation.  It will be the first MDS-PAS program targeted towards health professionals and is planned to be repeated in Brazil in 2015. 

MDS-PAS is also targeting young members and potential members through two programs in the region. These are the MDS-PAS Fellowship Program and the expansion of the School for Young Neurologists to include more regions.  The Fellowship Program promotes education, training and experience in movement disorders for young neurologists.  The School for Young Neurologists has been designed to provide young neurologists the opportunity to expand their training with an intense two-three day exposure to carefully selected patients and experts in the field from their region and elsewhere.  So far the feedback from participants has been excellent which has encouraged more young neurologists to seek such exposure in or out of their country. 

This year MDS-PAS will hold the first MDS-PAS School for Young Neurologists in North America.  Previously, MDS-PAS hosted two excellent programs in Brazil and in Chile.  Lastly, MDS-PAS continues to provide education in underserved areas through outreach programs and the Developing World Education Program.  On March 3-5, 2014, MDS-PAS took part in its first event in Cuba.  The MDS-PAS Education Committee continues to educate new audiences in all parts of the region.

Finally, I would like to highlight some of the recent efforts in the MDS-PAS ongoing initiative to build bridges throughout the region.  MDS-PAS continues to facilitate programs such as the Fellowship Program, outreach education and travel bursaries to encourage members in underserved areas of the Society to take part in activities in other parts of the region.  Through the new e-newsletter, MDS-PAS will present members with information about members in the region, regional programs and regional affiliate societies.  During 2014, MDS-PAS will also complete the translation of the Parkinson and Movement Disorder Curriculum.  These activities serve to create links between institutions and members throughout the MDS-PAS.