The Center of Hope
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Terry Heiman-Patterson, M.D. is a Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Neurology, Director of the Division of Neuromuscular Disorders, and Director of the MDA/ALS Center of Hope ALS Clinic at Drexel University College of Medicine.
After completing a six-year BS/MD program from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Albany Medical College, Dr. Heiman-Patterson received her residency training in Neurology from Albany Medical College and was awarded a Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) clinical and research postdoctoral fellowship in Neuromuscular Diseases at the University of Pennsylvania. She started her medical practice at Hahnemann University in 1982 and became the first Medical Director of the MDA Clinic at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital in Allentown, PA, where she continues today as Medical Director. In 1984, she founded and was Co-Director of the ALS Center at Hahnemann University, one of the first multi-disciplinary ALS clinics in the country. and the standard of excellence against which all ALS clinics are judged today. This was one of the first ALS clinic officially certified by a national organization (ALS Association) and remains a leader in the field. After serving as an Associate Professor of Neurology at Thomas Jefferson University from 1988-1996, she returned to Hahnemann University, which became Drexel University College of Medicine in 2002.
Dr. Heiman-Patterson has conducted over 24 clinical trials in ALS, helped to establish the standard of care in noninvasive ventilation of ALS patients, and has received several grants to study the cause of ALS in animal models of motor neuron disease. She has authored over 50 papers, abstracts, and correspondence on motor neuron diseases. She is a member of Executive Board of the Northeast ALS Consortium of ALS researchers and physicians (NEALS), and chairs the subcommittee on clinical trials. Dr. Heiman-Patterson served on the Medical Advisory Boards of the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation, the Philadelphia Chapter of the ALS Association, and the National ALS C.A.R.E. Program. In 2000, the Muscular Dystrophy Association honored Dr. Heiman-Patterson with the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award for outstanding service as a clinician and researcher on ALS. In 1999, Dr. Heiman-Patterson helped co-found the ALS Hope Foundation and currently serves as President of the Board.
Anahita Deboo, MD completed an internship in internal medicine and a residency in neurology before her fellowship in neuromuscular disease, specializing in electrodiagnostics, at the University of Pennsylvania. Today, Dr. Deboo is Co-Director of the MDA/ALS Center of Hope and an Assistant Professor of Neurology at the Drexel University College of Medicine. She is also Director of the EMG Laboratory at Hahnemann Hospital.
Howard Natter, MD received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh in Psychobiology. He did his medical school training and neurology residency at Hahnemann University in Philadelphia. After a two year stay in a Bucks County private practice, he returned to Hahnemann to direct their EMG lab and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Center. He has been with the Meadowbrook Neurology Group since 1993. Interests include neuromuscular disorders, stroke, migraine and sleep disorders.
Gary Romano, PhD, MD has been a member of the ALS center clinical team since 1997. He received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from The Rockefeller University and his M.D from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He completed an internship in internal medicine, a residency in neurology and a fellowship in neuromuscular disease and EMG at the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently a Director of CNS research at Johnson and Johnson's Pharmaceutical Research and Development L.L.C. He is also an adjunct clinical assistant professor of neurology at the Drexel University School of Medicine.
Mary Paolone, MSRN is the Clinical Nurse Counselor, and has worked at the MDA/ALS Center of Hope since 2005. She graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing Degree from Villanova University in 1994, and has been focused in chronic pain and chronic illness for most of her career. While working with these populations, she gained a desire to assist others more deeply as they move along the spectrum of their diseases. Mary continued her education with a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from Chestnut Hill College which has enabled her to remain present and supportive with her patients during difficult times. She states that her “life has been greatly enriched by her work at the Center of Hope” and considers it a blessing and an honor to help in any way she is able.
Mark Goren, MS, OTR/L graduated from Temple University’s School of Occupational Therapy with a Master of Science degree in 1995. He did his clinical fieldwork at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. His past experience includes working at Bryn Mawr Rehab and Hahnemann University Hospital. Mark has been the senior occupational therapist with the MDA/ALS Center of Hope for the past ten years. Other areas of interest include hand therapy, assistive technology and research.
Sara Feldman, PT, MA, DPT, ATP has been the Physical Therapist at the center since 1994. She received her Bachelors in Physical Therapy in 1987 from Temple University, her Masters in Environmental Science from the University of Pennsylvania in 1997, and her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Drexel University in 2012. Prior to coming to Drexel, she was a Senior Physical Therapist on the Spinal Cord Injury team at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital. She came to Hahnemann Hospital to be on the acute neurotrauma and neurology teams. Sara works full time for the MDA/ALS Center of Hope and in addition to clinical care, she is involved in clinical trials and the use of assistive technology. She looks forward to the day there is a cure for ALS.
Donna Harris, MA, CCC is a licensed and certified speech language pathologist and has been involved with the MDA/ALS Center of Hope since 2000. She received her Masters from Temple University in 1991. Donna has worked in a variety of settings including special needs classrooms, acute care hospitals, and rehab centers. Donna is committed to the ALS cause and loves working with each and every family.
Marcie Amerstein, RD, LDN graduated from University of Pittsburgh’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences in 1999. She has been working as a Registered Dietitian at Hahnemann University Hospital since 2002, and has been involved with the MDA/ALS Center of Hope since 2006. Marcie enjoys working with patients and their families to help modify diets and assist with long term nutrition plans.
Christine Barr, RN has been the Research Nurse Coordinator for the clinical trials at the center since 2004. She graduated from Hahnemann University Hospital’s School of Nursing in May of 1994 and just prior to coming to the center she was a charge nurse on Hahnemann Hospital’s progressive care unit. After many years as an intensive care nurse, she was ready to redirect her focus and welcomed the opportunity to work in clinical research. Christine feels that she has gained so much from the patients and staff and hopes that she can give back more than she has been given.
Latoya Weaver, PSC, received a certification in medical billing and coding from CHI. Prior to joining the MDA/ALS Center of Hope, she had the experience of caring for her mother, who lived with ALS for over six years. Latoya has first hand knowledge of the challenges that patients and families go through when dealing with ALS and is willing to work as earnestly and passionately for the people we see as she did for her own mother. She is incredibly motivated and passionate about helping others.
Monica Mazurek, RN, graduated from Hahnemann Universityin 1992, and was working in the Progressive Care Unit when she decided to join the team at the MDA/ALS Center of Hope. She has been a Clinical Research Nurse in the support of research studies at the center since 2007. Her compassion, calmness, and level of organization are an asset to every study she is involved in.
Lauren Scull, MS, is the Biomedical Research Associate atthe MDA/ALS Center of Hope. In June 2012, she graduated first in her class from Drexel University's School of Biomedical Engineering. Prior to coming to the center full time, Lauren worked in Exponent, Inc.'s Implant Reserach Center and Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital's Center for Assistive Technology. After having the opportunity to work in several research positions, Lauren finds that working direclty with people with ALS at the center gives the real passion to her job.