UAMS Named a HDSA Center of Excellence for the Treatment of Huntington’s Disease

By Ben Boulden

“Our multidisciplinary team comprised of neurologists, physical therapists, speech pathologists, social workers, nutritionists and geneticists has worked hard to bring the best care to patients with Huntington’s disease and their families in Arkansas,” said Tuhin Virmani, M.D., Ph.D.

“Being designated as a HDSA Center of Excellence means the society sees and appreciates our dedication to patient care,” he said. “It’s exciting that we have earned this recognition, and it will allow us to continue to expand our outreach to more Huntington’s disease patients and their families to fulfill our mission.”

The clinic will be co-directed by Virmani, the director of the UAMS Movement Disorders Program and an associate professor in the UAMS College of Medicine Department of Neurology, and Rohit Dhall, M.D., the director of Neurodegenerative Disorders in the Department of Neurology and the Clinical Trials Monitoring unit of the Translational Research Institute.

The society also awarded the program a grant of $19,999, which will help provide needed clinical services to those who are unable to afford them.

The HDSA Centers of Excellence provide an elite multidisciplinary approach to Huntington’s disease care and research. The society currently has 54 Centers of Excellence across the United States with eight partner sites.

At the HDSA Centers of Excellence, patients benefit from expert neurologists, psychiatrists, therapists, counselors and other professionals who have deep experience working with families affected by the disease and who work collaboratively to help families plan the best Huntington’s disease care program. For more info about HDSA’s Centers of Excellence Program please visit

Louise Vetter, the society’s president and CEO said, “HDSA Centers of Excellence share a common dedication to Huntington disease families. We are thankful to the clinical care teams who are able to provide incredible care with these modest awards and to the families whose generous support of HDSA’s mission make these awards possible.”

Huntington’s disease is a fatal genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. It deteriorates a person’s physical and mental abilities during their prime working years and has no cure. Every child of a parent with the disease has a 50/50 chance of inheriting the faulty gene that causes it. Today, there are about 41,000 symptomatic Americans and more than 200,000 at-risk of inheriting the disease. The symptoms of Huntington’s disease are described as simultaneously having amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

The Huntington’s Disease Society of America is the premier nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of everyone affected by Huntington’s disease. From community services and education to advocacy and research, HDSA is the world’s leader in providing help for today and hope for tomorrow for people with Huntington’s disease and their families. For more info about HDSA, please visit