The Neuroimmunology Division includes Drs. Rock Heyman, Galen Mitchell, Islam Zaydan and Mr. Ryan Orie, PA-C. This active division has a comprehensive outpatient clinical program that has earned awards for its excellence. The MS program is designated as a Comprehensive MS Care Center by the National MS Society, recognizing comprehensive clinical, research, and educational programs. Clinical Supervisor Margie O’Leary as well as Speech Pathologist, Patricia Bednarik, are board certified in MS care. Kathleen Brandfass, MS, PT, Director of Neurologic Physical therapy, Center for Rehabilitation Services is on site with our team. The program includes comprehensive care for all aspects of care with close affiliations with many services at UPMC and throughout the region to meet the needs of people with MS at all levels of disease severity. Clinical nurses include Margie O’Leary and Jordana Grodek. The infusion center nurses are Dawn Wood, Victoria Young and Mary Skoff. Many patients with other immunologic conditions such as neuromyelitis optica, Sjogren's syndrome or sarcoidosis involving the central nervous system are seen by this division in support of regional physicians. Jane Williams provides administrative support for the division.
Division research continues and includes involvement in multi-center studies of novel oral or infusion therapies for MS. Some of the agents used in current protocols are daclizumab, Ibudilast, and ocrelizumab. Other research projects regarding MS and gastrointestinal dysfunction, MS related ataxia measures, and studies of the genetics of myelin disorders are underway. The research coordinator, Kerry Oddis, and assistant, Darlene Punjack, provide organization and support for these trials. Kaylee Klingensmith manages our Registry for MS and Related Disorders, which has been supported by the Ethel Vincent Charitable Trust. The registry aides in the recruitment for different research studies.
Educational programs by division staff are directed towards people with MS, caregivers, allied health professionals, medical students, residents, and physicians. Medical students and neuroscience students are frequently present in the office with our professionals and student nurses off work with our infusion Center nurse staff. Division personnel frequently lecture to the numerous support groups throughout the region and often nationally. Recent presentations by divisional professional staff at the CMSC meeting encompassed many areas of MS care. Division educational conferences occur every Thursday morning. The division also works with regional health insurance organizations to better organize and access the evolving MS care landscape. We work closely with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to provide education and care. Special programs exist to deal with issues related to domestic neglect or violence as well as a unique program, MS PAWS, which assists people with MS who have a temporary inability to care for their companion animals.