Overview of Health Professionals Special Interest Group

By Carol Moskowitz, APRN-C
Past Chair
Health Professionals Special Interest Group

Dear Colleagues,

Together we have taken the needs expressed by the survey responders in our Needs Assessment Survey and further articulated by the webpage leaders to state one big purpose for this group: integrating the health professionals into the fabric of the whole Society. This lofty statement has three short-term goals.


The first goal is outreach to health professionals who are currently not MDS members in order to make membership at $100 per annum irresistible. The reason we call it outreach is to broaden the approach. If an HP is a movement disorder expert, we invite them to be not just members, but to be actively involved in projects listed below.

The person who heads outreach is Theresa Towle, who has chosen this work as part of her doctoral studies. We have divided the world into regions and disciplines. Here are two examples of how this might work: Some outreach team members will focus on all HPs in South America, while others will focus on recruiting only advance practice nurses in the UK.


The second goal is education in many forms.

  • Increasing poster presence; contact us to work on your abstract and design
  • Increasing the number of topics suggested to the Congress’ Scientific Program Committee. We now have a very experienced academic appointed to this all-important committee. She is Prof. Lynn Rochester. Online submission deadline is always in the week immediately following the Congress; so submit early (January-May).
  • Increasing the number of parallel sessions, workshops and panel discussions at the 19th International Congress in San Diego, CA.
  • Featured Article Reviews: Uploading to the webpage one carefully selected peer-reviewed article with a brief commentary to broaden the scope of HPs and their neurologist colleagues. Your suggestions are welcome; please send the reference or the link to ssurillo@movementdisorders.org.


The third goal is research.

  • A project to define meaningful measures for qualitative and quantitative research which is tentatively called, Level One Research Project. The need for research into what really works in HP practice is acute. Researchers mentor each other.

A long-term goal is now in the discussion and planning phase to develop a 12-credit (4 courses x 3 credits) certification program that will take until 2016 to put together. If we start work on it now, we can mount such a program in collaboration with an online university and MDS. This is the most commonly stated educational need. Such a program may provide a revenue stream to MDS. Faculty is slowly emerging and being selected. In addition, free standing modules addressing very specific topics, such as ‘clinical trials coordination’ could be made available through MDS.