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International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society
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        VOLUME 27, ISSUE 2 • JUNE 2023  Full issue »

Meet the next class of Society leaders  

The MDS LEAP Program was originally launched in 2015 to provide formal leadership training for 12 outstanding, talented, and passionate young members drawn from the MDS Regional Sections. It has increased to 16 participants, with the incorporation of the MDS African Section (MDS-AS), in addition to the MDS Asian & Oceanian Section (MDS-AOS), MDS European Section (MDS-ES) and MDS Pan American Section (MDS-PAS). The multi-day training workshop takes place around the MDS International Congress each year. This is followed by a 1-year hands-on training period, which includes meetings with a mentor and LEAP peers. 

In 2020, during the pandemic, the LEAP program converted to a virtual format. It continued in a virtual format up to the 2022 International Congress meeting. There are hopes to convert back to an in-person program in 2024.  

The 2022 LEAP Program was chaired by Professor Shilpa Chitnis, accompanied by faculty of Professor Cynthia Comella, Professor Carolyn Sue, Professor Suzanne Schneider, and Professor Alastair Noyce (new faculty), and supported from the MDS Secretariat by Kate Rudolph. This third year with an online program has further evolved from the in-person format.   

The virtual format comprised of 3 half days of 3.5 hours of didactic sessions by faculty, with interactive questions and answers. The goal was to generate interest and discussion and enhancing understanding. In addition, faculty led small groups of 4 each in numerous breakout sessions with the goal of using creative activities to further consolidate understanding of the 5 main leadership principles outlined in the course.  

The class of 2022 is introduced below.  


MDS African Section

Eman Abdeldayem, M.Sc, PhD, Egypt.  She is a Lecturer of Neurology in the movement disorder unit at Ain Shams University, Cairo.  

Walaa Kamel ElSayed, M.B.B.CI, M.Sc, M.D, FEBN, Egypt. She is Associate Professor of Neurology and Movement Disorders at Beni-Suef University in Cairo.  

Adrian Mugenyi Kakooza, PT, Uganda. He is a Physiotherapist at The Rehab Clinic in Kampala. 

Louis Vlok, MD, South Africa. He is a private practice neurologist in in FCP Neurology in Capetown. 

MDS Asian & Oceanian Section 

Divya K P, MD, DM, India. She is Associate Professor in The Comprehensive Care Centre for Movement Disorders at Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology in Trivandrum.  

Elie Matar, MSc(Adv), MD, PhD, FRACP, Australia. He is a neurologist, sleep fellow and clinical academic based at the University of Sydney, in Sydney. 

Jung Hawn Shin, M.D., Ph.D., South Korea. He is a movement disorder specialist at Seoul National University Hospital, in Seoul.  

Eloise Watson, MBChB, FRACP, BMedSci(Hons), New Zealand. She is a neurologist at Wellington Regional Hospital, in Wellington. 

MDS European Section

Natalia Szejko, MD, PhD, Poland.  She is a neurologist at the Medical University of Warsaw, in Warsaw. 

Vanessa Carvalho, MD, Portugal. She is a neurologist at the neurogenetics clinic at the Hospital Santa Maria in Lisbon, and pursuing a PhD in genetics in Parkinson’s disease. 

Anne Weissbach, MD, Germany. She is a clinician-scientist and research group leader at the Institute of Systems Motor Science and the Institute of Neurogenetics at the University Clinic Schleswig-Holstein and the University of Lübeck, Germany.  

Rezzak Yilmaz, MD, Turkey. He is assistant professor in the Department of Neurology at Ankara University Medical School, in Ankara. 

MDS Pan American Section 

Mitra Afshari, MD, MPH, Rush University, USA. She is Associate Movement Disorders Fellowship Director and Deep Brain Stimulation Fellowship Director at Rush University in Chicago. 

Erik González Delgado, MD Medical Center Neurocenter, Bolivia. He is a general neurologist and associate professor at Neurocenter, in Santa Cruz de la Sierra.  

Carolina Gorodetsky, MD, MSc, University of Toronto, Canada. She is a pediatric movement disorder neurologist at SickKids hospital in Toronto. 

Sara Schaefer, MD, MHS, Yale School of Medicine, USA. She is faculty and the Neurology Residency Associate Program Director and Movement Disorders Fellowship Director at Yale School of Medicine, in New Haven, Connecticut.  

Read more Moving Along:

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