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The Movement Disorders Team

University of Colorado | Anschutz Medical Campus



 

 

Benzi Kluger, MD, MS

Benzi Kluger, MD, MS
Movement Disorders Neurologist, Director 

Dr. Kluger specializes in movement disorders, behavioral neurology and in the overlap of these two fields. He has a particular interest in nonpharmacological treatments for movement disorders and the non-motor symptoms of Parkinson disease, including cognitive deficits and fatigue. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Michael J Fox Foundation, the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, and the Department of Defense. His clinical practice includes a movement disorders, cognitive and behavioral neurology, interdisciplinary palliative care clinic for patients with neurological disorders and botulinum toxin injections for dystonia and headache. To learn more about Dr. Kluger, click here.

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Maureen Leehey, MD
Movement Disorders Neurologist,
Director, Movement Disorders Division
 

Dr. Leehey is a Professor of Neurology and Chief of the Movement Disorders Division at the University of Colorado Denver. She specializes in movement disorders and Fragile X associated disorders. She is board certified in Neurology and Psychiatry, and is a fellowship-trained movement disorders specialist. She is the senior movement disorders neurologist in the Rocky Mountain region and has mentored numerous neurologists. During her 27 years at the University of Colorado, she has managed thousands of patients with Parkinson's disease, is Lead Investigator in the International Parkinson Disease Study Group, and has been the Primary Investigator for over 20 Parkinson's disease clinical trials. To learn more about Dr. Leehey, click here.

Olga Klepitskaya, MD 

Olga Klepitskaya, MD
Movement Disorders Neurologist, Associate Director of Clinical Practice and Deep Brain Stimulation

Dr. Klepitskaya's clinical expertise and research interests are in the surgical treatment for movement disorders. She is co-director and the leading neurologist in the multidisciplinary Deep Brian stimulation (DBS) program at the University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) that includes neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists, psychiatrists and specialists in physical medicine, speech therapy, and rehabilitation. She also does botulinum toxin injections for dystonia and other neurological disorders. To learn more about Dr. Klepitskaya, click here.

Brian Berman, MD

Brian D. Berman, MD, MS
Movement Disorders Neurologist, Associate Director of Research and Clinical Trials 

Dr. Berman is a board certified Neurologist who specializes in movement disorders. His research includes using advanced imaging techniques to study the pathophysiology of movement disorders such as Parkinson disease and dystonia. He sees a variety of neurological patients in the movement disorders clinic. He also does botulinum toxin injections for dystonia and other neurological disorders. To learn more about Dr. Berman, click here.

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Lauren Seeberger, MD
Movement Disorders Neurologist, Associate Clinical Director 

Dr. Seeberger is a board-certified neurologist, specializing in Movement Disorders. She provides treatment and care for patients with Parkinson's disease, Parkinson plus syndromes, Lewy Body disease, Huntington's disease, dystonia, Tourette, tics, chorea, ataxia, Restless legs syndrome, myoclonus, drug-induced movement disorders, Essential Tremor and tremor. She has long-standing expertise in the use of botulinum toxins for neurological conditions as well as the use of deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease, Essential tremor and dystonia. Her research has focused on clinical testing of new medications to treat or slow progression of movement disorders and in new uses for already approved medications.
Drew Kern


Drew Kern, MD
Assistant Professor

Dr. Kern sub-specializes in movement disorders. He has a particular interest in surgical treatments including deep brain stimulation (DBS) and performs botulinum toxin injections. He sees patients at the University of Colorado Hospital Anschutz Medical Center.


Heather Ene, MD

Heather Baer, MD
Associate Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Neurology

Heather Baer is a neuro-rehabilitation expert Physiatrist with additional fellowship training in movement disorders.  She sees a diverse group of patients with impairments and disabilities that result for central and peripheral nervous system dysfunctions, including all forms of movement disorders.  She sees patients in both the Movement Disorders and the Rehabilitation Medicine Clinics at the Anschutz Outpatient Pavilion (AOP) of the University of Colorado Hospital.  She also sees patients at the University of Colorado Family Medicine clinic in Boulder, CO.​​


Alison Heru, MD

Alison Heru, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry

Alison Heru is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry at the University of Colorado Hospital and Associate Professor of Medicine at National Jewish Health.  She is board certified in Psychiatry and Psychosomatic Medicine.  She performs Psychiatric evaluations prior to surgery for potential DBS patients.  She received her M. D. at the University of Glasgow, Scotland and her psychiatric training at Brown University, Rhode Island.

Abigail Collins, MD (MB) 

Abigail Collins, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology 

Dr. Collins is a pediatric neurologist with training in both adult and pediatric movement disorders. She primarily sees adult ataxia patients at the University Hospital Clinic on Fridays, and has an interest in evaluating patients with rare genetic and metabolic disorders. The remainder of her time is spent seeing pediatric movement disorder patients at Children's Hospital Colorado.

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Samantha Holden, MD
Movement Disorders and Behavioral Neurology Fellow
                
Samantha Holden will be completing both Movement Disorders and Behavioral Neurology fellowships at the University of Colorado.  Her research interests include cognitive and other non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.  She received her M.D. from Stony Brook University School of Medicine and completed her neurology residency at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. 

 


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Taylor Finseth, MD

 Movement Disorders Fellow

 
Taylor Finseth will be completing his movement disorders fellowship at the University of Colorado. His research interests include complementary and alternative therapies in neurodegenerative disorders. He received his M.D. from Ohio State University and completed his neurology residency at University of Colorado.
 
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Curt Freed

 

Curt Freed, MD
Division Head of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology
 
Research in my laboratory has focused on the dynamic use of neurotransmitters during movement. We have used the technique of in vivo dialysis to study the release of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin in awake, behaving animals. With these methods, we have shown that dopamine metabolism is increased in striatum and other brain nuclei during motor activity. In 1988, my neurosurgical colleague, Robert Breeze, MD, and I performed the first transplant of human fetal dopamine cells into a Parkinson patient in the United States. Since that time, we have performed implants on more than 60 Parkinson patients. With support from the National Institutes of Health, we have conducted a double-blind, placebo surgery controlled clinical trial of the transplant method. It was the first placebo controlled trial ever done in the field of Neurosurgery. Results showed that transplants could survive without the need for immunosuppression and could improve objective signs of Parkinson’s disease. That research was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2001.
To extend transplantation to more patients, we are developing methods to convert human embryonic stem cells to dopamine neurons. These techniques should make it possible to produce unlimited quantities of dopamine cells for transplant. With these human cells, we have successfully treated animals with a condition similar to Parkinson’s disease. We expect that this stem cell strategy will be available to Parkinson patients in the coming years.
My laboratory is staffed by graduate students, post doctoral fellows, technicians, and faculty. Funding is from NIH grants, organizations like the American Parkinson's Disease Association, and individual philanthropists. The University of Colorado was named a National Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence in 1995.

 

Margaret Schenkman

Margaret Schenkman, PT, PhD, FAPTA
Associate Dean, Program Director, Professor of Physical Therapy Education

Dr. Schenkman is the Associate Dean for Physical Therapy Education in the School of Medicine, Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Director of the Physical Therapy Program, and Interim Director for the PhD Rehabilitation Science Program. She has worked with people who have Parkinson's disease (PD) for the past 25 years. During that time, she has developed and tested approaches to physical intervention that can help people in the early and mid-stages of the disorder to stay active and independent despite the disorder. Currently she is co-leading a multi-site study (taking place in the Denver area, Chicago and Pittsburgh) to determine whether two different intensities of aerobic conditioning slow down progression of symptoms of people not yet on medications for PD. In addition to her work with people who have PD, she has led or collaborated with a number of oter related investigations including exercise interventions for people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and polymyoneuropathy.

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Jacci Bainbridge, PharmD
Professor, Department of Clinical Pharmacy
 
Dr. Bainbridge serves as a clinical pharmacy specialist at the Anschutz Outpatient Pavilion in the Neurology Clinic. This is part of the Neurology Residency Teaching Program at the University of Colorado Denver. Services provided in these clinics include: review of patient information identifying and resolving drug-related problems and consultations; recommending alternative medication therapies for patients; evaluating patients for medication toxicity; providing cost-effective recommendations; providing education to health care practitioners, patients and families; monitoring for drug interactions; avoidance of drug interactions; and reporting of drug interactions. Dr. Bainbridge manages patients with neurologic disease states to include: Epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Migraine, Willis-Ekbom Disease formally known as Restless Legs Syndrome. Clinical research is a significant portion of Dr. Bainbridge’s interest. Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, and several neuroprotection trials in Parkinson’s Disease, funded by the NIH, are current research projects she is involved with.

 


 

 



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Cari Friedman, L.C.S.W.
University of Colorado Hospital Social Worker 

Cari Friedman is a licensed clinical social worker with the palliative care movement disorders team in the outpatient Neurology clinic at the University of Colorado Hospital.  She specializes in providing counseling and resources to patients and families with chronic neurological illnesses. Cari has been the Patient and Service Director for the Parkinson Association of the Rockies since 1999.

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Diane Cook
Patient Representative 

Diane Cook is a Parkinson’s disease patient active in the local and national Parkinson’s disease communities. She serves on the People with Parkinson’s Advisory Committee of the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, Colorado State Director for the Parkinson’s Action Network and as Patient Representative to the FDA. Locally, she has started 4 successive support groups for newly diagnosed PD patients and serves on the Executive Committee of the Colorado Neurological Institute. Her particular area of research interest is in the application of self-efficacy skills to Parkinson’s disease management, and she leads the Self Efficacy Learning Forum for recently diagnosed Parkinson’s patients.

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Karen Talcott
Patient Representative 

Karen Talcott is a patient representative for the Movement Disorders Center (MDC). She spent her 30 year nursing career at University of Colorado Hospital as a Perioperative nurse. Her career included clinical expertise in numerous specialties as well as leadership roles within the operating room and education of new nurses. For 12 years she was the nurse manager of the Day Surgery Center at the Anschutz Outpatient Pavilion at UCH. In 2011 Karen was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and retired in 2013. Her passions are educating the public and her peers about Parkinson’s disease and improving access and availability of coordinated healthcare to people with PD. She joined the MDC as patient representative in September of 2013.

Nicole Leith

Movement Disorders Administrative Assistant

 

Candace Ellman

Movement Disorders Administrative Assistant​

 

Joey Gargaro

DBS Coordinator

​Joseph.Gargaro@uchealth.org

Nurses

 

Wendy Cernik, BN, BSN

 

Wendy Cernik, RN, BSN

Wendy Cernik, RN, BSN is the movement disorders nurse for the Neuroloy Department at UCH. She is also the nurse for the palliative care team in the Neurology Department with past experience as a home hospice nurse/care manager. Her passion is palliative care, striving to find ways for the physical, spiritual, emotional, and home care needs of the patient and their family to be met.

 

Physical Therapy

 
Mark Manago, PT, DPT, NCS  


Mark Manago, PT, DPT, NCS

Mark graduated from UC Denver School of Physical Therapy with a Masters in Physical Therapy in 2005 and returned for a Doctoral in PT which I received in 2008. He received his Board Certification in Neurologic Physical Therapy in 2009 and at the hospital primarily specialize in seeing patients with progressive Neurologic conditions. Mark has been working at the hospital since 2005.  He also teaches in the UCDenver School of physical Therapy and is currently a graduate student in the Clinical Science PhD program.


Renee Peter, PT, DPT, ATC      

Renee Peter, PT, DPT, ATC

Renee Peter earned her Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Colorado in 2010. She specializes in rehabilitation for individuals with neuromuscular conditions, including Parkinson’s Disease. She is a certified Parkinson’s Wellness Recovery Clinician and co-instructs PWR! Moves, a weekly high-intensity group exercise class for individuals with Parkinson’s Disease.  She is passionate about helping people with Parkinson’s and other neurological conditions achieve their goals through exercise and evidence based neurorehabilitation.

 

Jane Renner, PT, DPT, NCS

 

Jane Renner, MPT, DPT, NCS

Jane Renner earned her Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Creighton University in 2008 and is a Board Certified Neurological Specialist. She has worked as a neurological PT at University of Colorado Hospital for over 5 years and has a passion for treating patients with movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease.  Jane works with several multi-disciplinary teams at UCH including the Movement Disorders Clinic and the Deep Brain Stimulation Clinic. Jane is a certified Parkinson’s Wellness Recovery Clinician and co-instructs with PWR! Moves exercise class.


Ann Valentine, PT, DPT, NCS

 

Ann Valentine, PT, DPT, NCS

Ann Valentine is a Specialist Physical Therapist in the Anschutz Outpatient Pavilion at the University of Colorado Health. She earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from   Northwestern University in 2008 and worked for two years at a Level 1 Trauma Center as the lead trauma inpatient physical therapist at the University of California, San Diego. During this time she developed a passion for assisting patients with neurologic conditions maximize their function. She pursued this interest by completing  a Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency at TIRR Memorial Hermann where she gained experience working across the continuum of care with experts in Neurologic Rehabilitation. Ann received her board certified Neurologic Physical Therapy Specialty in 2012. She enjoys incorporating her advanced course work and evidence based practice to create effective and efficient plans of care to optimize one's function.

Guy Lev, PT, DPT, COMT      

Guy Lev, PT, DPT, COMT

Guy Lev was born in Israel, lived in Canada, and for the better part of his life, lived near Boston where he received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts in Political Science and Economics. Guy moved to Vail, Colorado in 1998 to teach adaptive skiing and snowboarding. He returned to academia in 2003 and earned his Doctorate of Physical Therapy at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in 2006. Since then Guy has practiced in the field of sports medicine in the Vail valley, at a public rehabilitation hospital in Oakland, California, and for 6 months, setting up a pediatric rehabilitation program in Kampala, Uganda. Currently, Guy supervises the OP PT clinic at the University of Colorado Hospital. He is a certified orthopedic manual therapist whose interests include international health, rehabilitation following amputation, and multi-disciplinary approach to disability care.

 

Lee K. Bernhardt, PT, DPT      

Lee K. Bernhardt, PT, DPT

Lee Bernhardt earned his doctorate degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Colorado at Denver in 2013. Lee especially enjoys treating individuals with neurologic conditions, vestibular conditions, amputations, as well as treating and instructing one on one and group exercise aquatics. He is a certified Tai Chi Moving for Better Balance instructor as well as a certified Parkinson's Wellness and Recovery (PWR!) exercise instructor. He is passionate about helping people with neurological conditions achieve their goals and highest level of function through exercise and evidence-based interventions.

 

Speech Therapy  

Jill Newcombe, MA, CCC-SLP

 

Jill Newcombe, MA, CCC-SLP

Jill is a certified Speech-Language Pathologist who specializes in speech and swallow issues in neurological disorders specifically in Parkinson’s Disease.  She evaluates potential DBS patients prior to surgery to determine baseline speech and swallow function as well as provides necessary treatment after surgery.  She received her BA at Calvin College and her MA at the University of Colorado Boulder.

 

Occupational Therapy

 
Amy Callan, OTR, DOT      

Amy Callan, OTR, DOT

Amy Callan initially earned her Master of Occupational Therapy at Saint Francis University in 2004. She worked in a level I Trauma Center as a lead inpatient occupational therapist at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. She later earned her Doctorate of Occupational Therapy at Temple University in 2010. She moved to Colorado in 2012. Currently, Amy supervises the outpatient occupational therapy clinic at the University of Colorado Hospital. Amy has worked with a variety of client populations and currently specializes in treating neurological and low vision populations. She is passionate about helping people with neurological conditions achieve their goals and highest level of independence through evidence based rehabilitation.