Public Invited to UAMS Parkinson’s Forum With Updates on Treatment, Research

By ChaseYavondaC

The free event will be held from 1-5 p.m. April 15 on the 12th floor of the UAMS Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute. Parking will be available in parking deck number 3 on the east side of campus and connected by an indoor walking bridge to the event site.

The event is designed for those living with Parkinson’s disease, their family members, doctors, nurses, other health care professionals and those interested in knowing more about the disease. Doctors, nurses and pharmacists will be able to apply for continuing medical education for attending the forum.

The fourth annual event of its kind, the Parkinson’s Forum began as a way to build community among Parkinson’s patients, their doctors and caregivers. It serves as a vehicle for sharing the latest medical advances and building networks of support.

“We know that there’s more to living with Parkinson’s than we’re able to cover during visits to the doctor’s office, and we also know that patients and caregivers have a lot to teach us as physicians and researchers,” said event organizer Erika Petersen, M.D., a neurosurgeon and associate professor in the UAMS College of Medicine’s Department of Neurosurgery. “We hope this serves as forum for those important conversations.”

The schedule includes presentations, panels, a question-and-answer session and time for mingling with experts.

Each year, organizers try to include an example of a physical exercise for Parkinson’s. This year, Danny Dring, owner of and master instructor at Living Defense Martial Arts in Sherwood, will demonstrate Rock Steady Boxing, a boxing program specifically designed to increase coordination, speed and confidence for Parkinson’s patients.

The agenda includes:

  • Clinical trials basics for Parkinson’s disease
  • Cognition in Parkinson’s disease
  • Boxing for Parkinson’s disease
  • Panels on multidisciplinary approaches to mild as well as moderate and advanced Parkinson’s disease
  • Deep brain stimulation: what’s new?

Parkinson’s disease is treated as part of the Movement Disorders Clinic at UAMS. Movement disorders include essential tremor, Huntington’s disease, ataxia, Tourette’s syndrome and other conditions that cause tremors, involuntary movements and difficulty walking. The UAMS Movement Disorder team provides a well-coordinated, multidisciplinary approach, which includes neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists and other specialists offering comprehensive care using the latest technologies and treatments.

Petersen is director of the Section of Functional and Restorative Neurosurgery at UAMS. A fellowship-trained neurosurgeon, Petersen can perform a number of specialized surgeries, including deep brain stimulation, which acts similar to a pacemaker for the brain and blocks some of the signals that cause the increasingly debilitating symptoms of Parkinson’s, dystonia and essential tremor that can make daily life difficult.

For more information or to join a list to receive updates about future Parkinson’s events, call 501-686-5270.

UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise including its hospital, regional clinics and clinics it operates or staffs in cooperation with other providers. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report recognized UAMS Medical Center as a Best Hospital for 2021-22; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide for the third year; and named five areas as high performing — colon cancer surgery, diabetes, hip replacement, knee replacement and stroke. Forbes magazine ranked UAMS as seventh in the nation on its Best Employers for Diversity list. UAMS also ranked in the top 30% nationwide on Forbes’ Best Employers for Women list and was the only Arkansas employer included. UAMS has 2,876 students, 898 medical residents and six dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.