Pan American Section

MDS-PAS ChairPan American Section

Henrique B. Ferraz, MD
Professor of Neurology
Federal University of São Paulo
São Paulo, Brazil


April 2018

Dear Colleagues,

After a successful and busy 2017, we continue with the same enthusiasm and focus in 2018. We are pleased to have a full schedule of educational activities that are already in progress for 2018, with 14 live courses, the PAS Congress and three outreach courses (with additional outreach applications currently in review). 

The following is a brief report of our region’s activities.

MDS-PAS Educational Needs Assessment Survey

Thank you to all who submitted their feedback on the educational needs assessment survey that was sent this past November. The following is a brief overview summary of the results compiled by the MDS-PAS Chair Jennifer G. Goldman, MD, MS, members of the MDS-PAS Education Committee, and MDS-PAS staff liaison Nilda Toro.

Background: The MDS regional sections send out an Educational needs assessment survey yearly in order to solicit feedback from the section members regarding educational needs, interests, and opportunities for education. In the past year, the MDS-PAS Education Committee revised the educational needs assessment survey to incorporate questions regarding services and therapies available in the MDS-PAS. The survey was sent to MDS-PAS members and non members that have been active in MDS-PAS activities in the past five years. 

There were 252 total responses out of 16,888 emails sent. Survey responders represented 23 countries, with the majority coming from Brazil, United States, and Argentina. Almost half of the responders had  more than 10 years in clinical practice. A broad range of positions were represented, and 67% were specialists/consultants/senior consultants. The responses came from not only movement disorders specialists, but also general neurologists with a broad range of practices represented. Of those with movement disorders training, 43% trained in country of practice, 42% did not have formal training, and 16% trained overseas including European countries, though durations of formal training varied.

Regarding the educational needs, the educational methods that were most frequently selected as suitable included: meetings/conferences, teaching courses, internet resources, publications, skill workshops, case presentations, and lectures. We found that the majority of responders (57%) accessed movement disorders lectures, talks or video sessions on average between 1-5 times a year. Some courses have provided translations, and 55% reported that courses would not require translation, though 37% thought they would require Spanish translation. The survey gleaned information about major barriers and obstacles in providing educational programs, suggesting that barriers and obstacles encompass economic and regional topics. These include limited finances to attend courses, location/distance for courses, lack of movement disorders specialists or allied health professionals working in Movement Disorders in the country, lack of local resources, and presence of political tensions.

We also identified differences in access and availability to types of care facilities, healthcare professionals, medications and surgical therapeutics and imaging capabilities. For example, there was the most access to providing care in hospitals, followed by home care, with the least access to assisted living care by the responders. Of the responders, 39% reported easy access to movement disorder specialists. 

The MDS-PAS Education Committee will plan 2019 educational activities taking the survey results into consideration to ensure we are providing relevant education in areas that are lacking in movement disorders education. In addition, the committee has further review and analysis of the survey data in process to make this most informative and beneficial to the MDS-PAS section.

2nd PAS Congress

The MDS-PAS Congress Scientific Program Committee has selected a theme that is highlighted throughout the 2nd PAS Congress. This year’s theme – Movement Disorders Across the Americas: Translating Science to Clinical Practice – will be showcased in two Plenary Sessions, one Parallel Session and one Skills Workshop. Themed sessions are designated in the program with the MDS logo. We will also present the Challenging Case MDS-PAS Rounds, which is always a highlight. We hope that you can join us in Miami, FL, USA on June 22-24, 2018.

We will continue to work toward our educational goals and provide you with another update in the fall. Thank you all for your efforts and dedication to our Society and Regional Section.