Acclaimed ‘Aspen Course’ Returns in Person for its 33rd Year
The renown 33rd annual “Aspen course,” A Comprehensive Review of Movement Disorders for the Clinical Practitioner, returned in person, shifting back to its traditional format following two years of ‘Zooming’ as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
From July 31, 2022 to August 4, 2022, an incredible 27 hours of lectures were delivered over 5 days to the 183 registered participants. 102 attendees were also fellows/trainees. Attendees travelled from an astounding 10 countries.
This year, the course welcomed two new faculty, Dr. Susan Fox from the University of Toronto and Dr. Alberto Espay from the University of Cincinnati. They joined Drs. Jennifer Goldman, Joseph Jankovic and Mark Hallett as well as the co-directors Drs. Michael Okun and Cynthia Comella.
The Aspen Course was started by Joseph Jankovic, Stanley Fahn and David Marsden in 1991. The tradition of the Aspen course is that as a “rite of passage,” every fellow must pass through the Aspen course. Indeed, it is rare to meet a practicing or retired movement disorders neurologist who has not completed the course at least once.
The Aspen course experience has evolved beyond only neurologists, and many allied health professionals now attend as well.
A highlight of the course was the popcorn video rounds and reception. All the fellows sent in cases, and MDS selected the top 10 for presentations. They were presented by a talented group of rising stars in the field — and all presenters were women. The cases were discussed by our 7 faculty, who were joined by Drs. Kailash Bhatia from Queen’s Square, London, and Bettina Balint from the University of Zurich.
Another highlight was the fellows mentoring luncheon session, which was sponsored by the Parkinson’s Foundation. More than 100 attendees heard a short talk on mentorship, coaching, leadership and philosophies for success presented by Michael Okun. The talk was followed by an open forum for the fellows to interact and glean tips and insights from the faculty. The faculty covered topics beyond science and also tackled well-being, balance and mindfulness. The faculty provided all trainees with a free copy of the latest edition of their book, Principles and Practice of Movement Disorders.
This year, we started a new tradition as the first three nurse practitioner movement disorders fellows completed the Aspen course as part of a Parkinson’s Foundation sponsored one-year fellowship experience.
The legend of the Aspen course is that “anyone serious about movement disorders has taken the Aspen course at least once.” Most fellows will attend many times in a career. They are drawn back because of the unique format, which challenges the faculty to present the most recent papers and findings in real-time.
Indeed, this year the faculty did not disappoint and delivered “fresh-off-the-press” findings along with breaking clinical trials literally published within hours of presentation.
Attendees of Aspen focus hard and learn in the morning sessions, then are paid back with afternoon and nightly access to scenic hikes, river rafting, great food, talks at the Aspen Institute and, of course, access to the Aspen music festival.
Whether or not you are a neurologist, we welcome you to attend Aspen and to soak up the full experience. The only guarantee is that you will likely want to return.
Join us next year! The 2023 A Comprehensive Review of Movement Disorders for the Clinical Practitioner will be July 30 through August 3, 2023.