2014: A Year for Transformation, Discovery & Thanks

The physicians, researchers, managers and associates of the University of Cincinnati Neuroscience Institute, one of four institutes of the UC College of Medicine and UC Health, extend a heartfelt “thank you” to all of our friends who supported our tripartite mission throughout 2014. With your help we continued to build upon our efforts to provide the best available treatments and family-centered care, to aggressively pursue new therapies and potential cures for neurological disease, and to educate future physicians and the public.

During the past year we have touched the lives of thousands of individuals. Our work has been steadfastly supported by donors, sponsors, private foundations, volunteers and the leaders of our Community Advisory Councils, who together have contributed millions of dollars and hundreds of hours in support of our research and patient education programs. We are grateful for the millions of research dollars we have received from tax-supported institutions that include the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Defense and the UC College of Medicine. And we are indebted, above all, to our study participants, whose selfless role in clinical trials fuels our research and makes future discoveries possible.

From this memorable year, here is a sampling of highlights:


From left, members of the extended Gardner Family: Peggy Gardner Johns, Gary Johns, Lori Gardner Sommer, Laura Mueller, Adam Mueller, Keri Young and Eric Mueller. Photo by Jay Yocis / University of Cincinnati.

The UC Neuroscience Institute celebrated its 15th anniversary on November 1 with a transformational, $14 million commitment from the James J. and Joan A. Gardner Family Foundation. Peggy Gardner Johns, the daughter of James and Joan Gardner, announced the gift before an audience of donors, physicians and researchers. The gift continued the Gardner Family’s philanthropic involvement with the UC Neuroscience Institute, where Joan Gardner has been treated for Parkinson’s disease. Mrs. Johns said the $14 million commitment would help provide the Institute with a new home that is “a vibrant space alive with comprehensive care, multi-disciplinary clinics, and the kind of animated brain-storming that leads to revolutionary new treatments.” Read more »

Joseph Broderick, MD, Professor of Neurology and an internationally known stroke researcher, transitioned to Director of the UC Neuroscience Institute from his previous role as Research Director.

John M. Tew, MD, Co-Founder and a leader of the Institute for 15 years, was tapped to lead the development of UC Health Integrative Medicine in the positions of Vice President of Community Affairs at UC Health and Executive Director of Community Affair at the UC College of Medicine. Dr. Tew also celebrated 45 years of service to UC’s Department of Neurosurgery. He was the only UC faculty member honored for that length of service


The UC Medical Center earned a “Get With The Guidelines–Stroke Gold-Plus Quality Achievement Award” for implementing specific quality improvement measures outlined by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association for the treatment of stroke patients.

The National Association of Epilepsy Centers named the UC Epilepsy Center a Level 4 Center, the highest level possible, for a 10th consecutive year.

The UC Medical Center, led by the UC Brain Tumor Center team, continued to perform seven times more brain tumor surgeries than any other area hospital.

The Institute’s Neuromuscular Program became a little more muscular as it joined nine other neuroscience specialties as an official Center of Excellence. The news was welcomed by patients and families affected by the spectrum of adult neuromuscular disorders, which include muscular dystrophy, myasthenia gravis, and acquired neuropathies, to name a few.

The UC Health ALS Clinic was established at Daniel Drake Center for Post-Acute Care with a gift from the Barbara V. Peck and Justin Friedman Fund for research in ALS.

The UC Mood Disorders Center opened new clinics: one for youth in transition to adulthood and one for people with especially challenging cases.

We provided superlative tertiary and quaternary care to our patients, who often shared their stories with the public:
•    For Janis, Parkinson’s trial was a life-changer
•    For Brenna, recovery and a “thank you” following a rare type of stroke
•    For Jim, a hopeful continuum of care following spinal cord injury


The Comprehensive Stroke Center continued to serve as a founding member of two elite NIH-funded clinical trial networks:  StrokeNet and NeuroNext, while serving as the national coordinating center for StrokeNet, which directs all of the NIH-funded stroke trials in the United States.

The UC Department of Neurology, an important component of the UC Neuroscience Institute, ranked 17th nationally during 2014 with $9,427,452 in research grants from the NIH.

Neurologist Daniel Woo, MD, MS, above, Associate Director of Clinical Research for the UC Neuroscience Institute, ranked No. 9 among all principal investigators nationally with $6 million in NIH grants.

The Waddell Center for Multiple Sclerosis enrolled more patients in an NIH clinical trial for progressive MS than any other U.S. center.

Atsuo Sasaki, PhD, a researcher with the UC Brain Tumor Center, received two prestigious national awards to support his work on brain cancer: 1) a $1.67 million grant from NIH and a $50,000 grant from the American Brain Tumor Association.

Yvonne Ulrich-Lai, PhD, with James Herman, PhD. Photo by UC Academic Health Center Communications Services.

A $2 million gift from philanthropist George Wile helped us create a neuroscience research endowment, which helped launch the Neurobiology Research Center. “Our goal is to foster growth of basic and translational research across entire UC community,” said the center’s Director, James Herman, PhD. “We aim to develop partnerships between basic scientists and clinical scientists so that we can move molecular discoveries to animal models and then potential treatments, therapies and biomarkers.”

Vince Martin, MD, Co-Medical Director of the UC Health Headache & Facial Pain Program, made international news as the lead author of a study that showed that women have an increased number of migraines around menopause.

Kim Seroogy, PhD, Director of the Selma Schottenstein Harris Lab for Research in Parkinson’s, and Dr. Herman provided the first tangible demonstration that life stress accelerates the progression of Parkinson’s disease.

Michael Privitera, MD, Medical Director of the UC Epilepsy Center, reported that a study of disparate approved generic antiepileptic drugs found minimal differences when compared under rigorous testing procedures in people with epilepsy. In addition, the research showed, no subjects had serious adverse effects or loss of seizure control when switching from one drug to the other.

Jed Hartings, PhD, Research Associate Professor of Neurosurgery, showed that electrodes placed on the scalp can reveal dangerous spreading depolarizations following traumatic brain injury.

New recruit Brandon Foreman, MD, uniquely trained in neurocritical care and the treatment of epilepsy, spearheaded the Institute’s inclusion in the prestigious Critical Care EEG Monitoring Research Consortium (CCEMRC).

The Charles Shor Foundation helped fund the SMILE Study — the first blinded, randomized, controlled trial of stress reduction in epilepsy, which will result in the largest data set ever acquired for seizure prediction.


US News & World Report awarded a #43 national ranking to our Neurosensory Disorders Center (ear, nose and throat) team, and our neurology and neurosurgery teams were awarded “high ranking” status. Although we did not rank in the top 20 in neurology/neurosurgery in U.S. News & World Report’s 2014-2015 Best Hospitals rankings, we achieved statistics in some areas that were superior to those who were ranked in the top 20. When lined up against these top 20 neurology/neurosurgery programs, UC ranked:

•    No. 11 in patient volume
•    No. 1 in length-of-stay index
•    No. 8 in 30-day readmissions
•    No. 11 in mortality index

Xiaoyang Qi, PhD, above, a brain cancer researcher at the UC Neuroscience Institute and UC Cancer Institute, was the winner in the innovator category at the Cincinnati Business Courier’s Health Care Heroes banquet.

Dr. Privitera became First Vice President of the American Epilepsy Society.


The UC Neuroscience Institute continued its commitment to community education by hosting its 10th Sunflower Revolution Parkinson’s Disease Symposium & Expo, which has provided education and inspiration to more than 4,000 patients, family members and caregivers affected by Parkinson’s disease since 2005.

The Institute also presented the Midwest Regional Brain Tumor Conference, the UC Mood Disorders Center’s symposia for the community and mental health professionals, and a public symposium for people affected by epilepsy. With support from the Charles L. Shor Foundation, the Epilepsy Center held its annual symposium about stress and epilepsy, which attracts national leaders in the field.

Fifty-seven institutions from the United States and Canada attended a National Telehealth Conference, during which members of the UC Neuroscience Institute showcased UC Health’s role as a telehealth leader through programs that include telestroke and telepsychiatry.


We would not be where we are today without the members of our Community Advisory Councils. A special salute to our Advisory Council Chairs: Kathy Beechem (UC Brain Tumor Center) and Adam Mueller (UC Gardner Center).

A generous donation from the Harold C. Schott Foundation continued to support a Nurse Navigator at the UC Neuroscience Institute, while ongoing monies from the MS Clinic Fund under leadership of Lee Carter and Eric “Buck” Yeiser support our nurse practitioner at the Waddell Center for Multiple Sclerosis. Our Comprehensive Stroke Center continued to benefit from gifts and the ongoing legacy of Bonnie Mitsui and her foundation.

We celebrated a new endowed chair by the Marge and Charles J. Schott Foundation for Stroke in Emergency Medicine.

The 2014 Walk Ahead for a Brain Tumor Cure, co-chaired by Brian Wiles and his brother, Joe Wiles, attracted more than 3,200 participants and raised more than $300,000. The 5-year-old walk has now raised more than $1 million for education and research at the UC Brain Tumor Center.

5k run during 2014 Walk Ahead for a Brain Tumor Cure. Photo by Joe Simon.

The Sunflower Revolution, presented by Cintas and co-chaired by Kathy Krumme, Eric Mueller and Sarah Krumme Stahr, raised more than $136,000 for research and education at the Gardner Center.

The Parkinson’s Disease Support Network of Ohio, Kentucky & Indiana donated $45,000 in proceeds from the annual Jerry Wuest-Pete Hershberger Dinner Gala & Golf Classic to the Gardner Family Center, bringing PDSNOKI’s total giving since 2004 to $422,000.

The UC Neuroscience Institute also enjoyed proceeds from

  • The Annual Wine Tasting Event, chaired by Rich Seal and Scott Hau for the UC Brain Tumor Center
  • The Shemenski Bowl-A-Thon, spearheaded by Jeff Eggleston for the UC Brain Tumor Center
  • Mary’s Socks Fund, which provides socks for patients with brain tumors during the holidays and also helps to fill basic, unmet needs for patients who experience significant hardship during their illness and hospitalization
  • The Forget-Me-Not Gala, a dinner fundraiser chaired by Erica Camp and Meg Cone for the UC Memory Disorders Center
  • The Forget-Me-Not Salon, an educational fundraiser chaired by Cathy Crain and Barbara Gould, and the Looking Glass fashion Show, staged at the Amy Kirchen Boutique, for the UC Memory Disorders Center.
  • Putting for Parkinson’s, led by Joy & Scott Layman for the Gardner Center
  • Chipping Away at Parkinson’s, led by Paul Lake for the Gardner Center


Alberto Espay, MD, MSc, was named Director and Endowed Chair of the Gardner Family Center for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders.

James Herman, PhD, was named the Institute’s Associate Director of Basic Science Research; Daniel Woo, MD, MS, was named Associate Director of Clinical Research, and Mario Zuccarello, MD, was named Associate Director of Clinical Care.

Melissa DelBello, MD, MS, Co-Director of the UC Mood Disorders Center, was named the Dr. Stanley and Mickey Kaplan Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience.

Anya Sanchez, MD, MBA, moved to a new leadership post at UC Health after five years as the Institute’s administrative director, and Lori Uphaus replaced her as Administrative Director.

In closing, we thank you again for your continuing generosity and support,
and we extend our very best wishes to you and your family
for a healthy and prosperous 2015.


Joseph Broderick, MD, Director, UC Neuroscience Institute
Lori Uphaus, Administrative Director, UC Neuroscience Institute
Gina Weitzel, Senior Director of Development, UC Neuroscience Institute

— and the entire UC Neuroscience Institute Team

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