LEAP Program Faculty

LEAP Program Chair

Cynthia Comella, MD, FAAN, FASM, FANA
Professor, Dept. of Neurological Sciences
Rush University Medical Center
Chicago, IL, USA
E-mail: ccomella@rush.edu

Cynthia Comella, MDDr. Comella graduated from Smith College and the University of Cincinnati Medical College. She completed her training in neurology, Movement Disorders and sleep disorders at Rush University Medical Center. She is an active member of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorders Society, previously serving on the Executive Committee, the Congress Scientific Programming Committee, the Continuing Medical Education Committee, Chair of the Education Committee, Secretary of the Society and currently as Chair of the Publications Oversight Committee, Leadership Task Force, MDS-PAS Committee, and 'The Aspen Course': A Comprehensive Review of Movement Disorders for the Clinical Practitioner.

She has been active in the American Academy of Neurology, serving on the Science Committee, Chair of the Education Committee, the Annual Meeting subcommittee, editorial board of Continuum and the Board of Directors of the AAN institute. Her research in Parkinson’s disease includes evaluating new therapies for Parkinson’s disease, and the effects of exercise in Parkinson’s disease. She has been active in dystonia research, working to develop new rating scales for dystonia and new applications for botulinum toxins. She chairs the Dystonia Study Group and serves on the steering committee of the Dystonia Coalition. Dr. Comella is the author or co-author of more than 165 articles, reviews, research papers, books, and book chapters about various topics including Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, sleep-related movement disorders, restless legs syndrome, and botulinum toxin. She recently completed leadership training in the Sonoma Systems’ The Leadership Challenge® and Leadership Challenge faculty training.

LEAP Faculty

Shilpa Chitnis, MD, PhD, FAAN, FANA (Classes of 2015, 2016, 2017)
Professor, Neurology and Neurotherapeutics
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Dallas, TX, USA
E-mail: shilpa.chitnis@utsouthwestern.edu

Dr. Chitnis is a clinician-educator with a focus on movement disorders such as Parkinson disease, dystonia, and essential tremor. Dr. Chitnis received her medical degree from Grant Medical College in Bombay, India. She earned her PhD in pharmacology at Tulane University, where she also completed a residency in neurology. She later completed fellowship training in movement disorders at Louisiana State University Medical Center. In the UT Southwestern Department of Neurology, Dr. Chitnis is intricately involved in medical student, resident, and fellow education.  She was Associate Program Director for the Neurology Residency Program from 2007-2017. She serves as Director of the Movement Disorders Fellowship and is the program director overseeing 13 fellowships in the Dept. of Neurology. She is co-chair of the San Francisco fellowship match committee (2017-2022). She is medical director of the deep brain stimulation program for movement disorders. 

Dr. Chitnis is a member of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society (MDS). She has authored and coedited a handbook of movement disorders published by the Oxford American Neurological Library in 2011. In addition, she has authored multiple peer-reviewed journal publications and is an ad hoc reviewer for numerous scientific journals, including Movement Disorders Journal and JAMA Neurology. She has served as Vice Chair of the AAN movement disorders section (2016-2018) and is the current chair of the MDS membership and public relations committee.

Jennifer G. Goldman, MD, MS, FAAN, FANA (Classes of 2015-2016)
Associate Professor, Dept. of Neurological Sciences
Rush University Medical Center
Chicago, IL, USA
E-mail: jennifer_g_goldman@rush.edu

Jennifer Goldman graduated from Princeton University and received her MD from Northwestern University Medical School.  She completed her neurology residency training at Washington University in St. Louis, followed by a Movement Disorder fellowship and a Master of Science degree in Clinical Research at Rush University in Chicago.  She is board certified by the American Board of Neurology and Psychiatry as well as in its subspecialty, Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry.  Her research lab focuses on understanding and improving treatments for cognitive and behavioral features of Parkinson's disease and movement disorders using advanced neuroimaging MRI scans and other biomarkers. Her work has been funded by NIH, Michael J. Fox Foundation, Rush University, and the Parkinson's Disease Foundation.  She has published multiple research articles and book chapters on Parkinson's disease, cognition, and other movement disorders.  Dr. Goldman directs the Neuropsychiatry Division of the Rush Movement Disorder Section, which includes an educational, patient care, and research program for trainees during their fellowship.

She is the program director for the Rush University Department of Neurology Grand Rounds and since 2006, has led an innovative, inter-disciplinary, and well-attended program of events. She serves on the Rush University Department of Neurology Education Committee, AAN Education Committee, and Chair of the MDS PAS Education Committee, and was the 2013 recipient of the Rush University Faculty Award for Excellence in Education.  Dr. Goldman also has served on and has held leadership positions in the Rush Women’s Leadership Council and multiple scientific organizations and steering committees including the PSG Biomarker Working Groups and the MDS Task Force on Parkinson’s disease-Mild Cognitive Impairment. 

Susanne A, Schneider, MD (Class of 2015)
Consultant Neurologist
University Hospital München
Munich, Germany
E-mail: susanne.schneider@med.uni-muenchen.de

Dr. Susanne Schneider is a consultant neurologist with broad clinical and academic experience and with a great passion for research into the pathophysiology of movement disorders. Following her PhD in movement disorders at the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology in London, UK, she continued her keen research interest in clinically-applied genetics. She is the author of more than 160 papers and chapters and the Editor of four books (amongst others of the book, "Leadership in Movement Disorders", published together with Dr. Cynthia Comella in 2019). She is an active member of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society and currently serves on the Scientific and Ethical Issues Committee, the Web Editorial Board committee, and the LEAP Steering Committee. She also serves on the Program Committee of the 2019 World Parkinson Congress and 2020 IAPRD. She is on the Editorial Board of several journals and is Associate Editor of the new journal, Clinical Parkinsonism Related Disorders. She was among the first graduates of the MDS LEAP program and has recently joined the LEAP faculty.

Carolyn Sue MBBS, PhD, FRACP (Class of 2017)
University of Sydney
Department of Neurology
Sydney, Australia
E-mail: csue@med.usyd.edu.au

Dr. Carolyn Sue is currently appointed as Head of the Department of Neurogenetics at Royal North Shore Hospital, University of Sydney. She was the first female adult neurologist to be promoted to Professor in Australia and is the inaugural Professor in Neurology at Royal North Shore Hospital. Dr Sue trained in the study of movement disorders with Professor John Morris and continued her post-doctoral studies at Columbia University, New York, USA. Dr Sue’s research interests are focused on two main areas: the role of mitochondrial function in neurodegenerative disease and the genetics of movement disorders. Dr. Sue founded the Familial Parkinson’s Disease Research Clinic at Royal North Shore Hospital, and has coordinated national collaborative genetic studies in Parkinson’s disease. Most recently, her research group has established the use of patient derived stem cell models to investigate the pathophysiology underlying Parkinson’s disease.

Dr. Sue is a Founding Director of the Australian Mitochondrial Disease Foundation and is currently appointed as Treasurer of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society (Asian Oceanic Section), to the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society’s Task Force on Genetic Nomenclature in Movement Disorders, the Scientific Advisory Committee of Parkinson’s NSW and the Clinical Trials and Research Group of the Movement Disorder Society of Australia.


MDS faculty completed The Leadership Challenge® Workshop and Facilitator Training. 


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