The University of Toledo Medical Center will mark the beginning of a six-month renovation project to create one of the leading Parkinson’s centers in the nation with a ceremonial groundbreaking Tuesday, June 26, at 10 a.m. on the first floor of Dowling Hall’s southwest corner.The nearly 6,000-square-foot center will be named the Gardner/McMaster Parkinson’s Center, recognizing generous donations from the family of Findlay businessman Philip Gardner, as well as the Harold and Helen McMaster Foundation.
In addition to numerous other private donors who will be recognized when the center opens early next year, the Parkinson’s Foundation of Northwest Ohio has raised more than $160,000 to help offset the approximately $1.35 million in renovation costs.
“There have been tremendous advances in the past 10 years that have greatly expanded our understanding of Parkinson’s disease and the ways we care for people with this disease,” said Dr. Lawrence Elmer, professor of neurology and medical director of the Center for Neurological Health.
“This new center will increase accessibility for patients, optimize and maximize the care provided to our patients and their families, and place them in close proximity to physical and occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists, and other health-care professionals who are also experts in Parkinson’s care,” said Elmer, a specialist in the treatment and research of Parkinson’s disease for more than 20 years.
“One of the keys we have learned over the years is the value of exercise in slowing the progression of Parkinson’s and the importance of a team-care approach in combating complications of the disease,” he said.
And the center’s resources aren’t just for patients.
“As our society on average gets older, more and more people are diagnosed with or know someone who has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. At this center, we also want to help educate family members caring for someone with this disease so they know what to expect and how to assist when needed,” Elmer said.
Dr. Jeffrey P. Gold, chancellor and executive vice president for health affairs, emphasized this isn’t a resource only for northwest Ohio.
“Larry Elmer is recognized internationally for his research and expertise in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease,” said Gold, who also serves as dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences. “Advanced clinical treatment facilities like UTMC’s Gardner/McMaster Parkinson’s Center separate academic medical centers from other health-care organizations and attract patients from all corners of the globe seeking the most current treatments available.”
Elmer also emphasized his thanks to the center’s donors.
“None of this would have been possible without the generosity of the Gardner and McMaster families, the Parkinson’s Foundation of Northwest Ohio, and the many, many people who made individual gifts to help fight, treat and one day cure this disease,” Elmer said. “In spite of our nation’s economic challenges, this overwhelming degree of community and University support is breathtaking; our commitment to people with Parkinson’s disease and their families is to serve them in a way that exceeds all their expectations and to enhance their quality of life to the highest possible level.”