UMH Achieves Highest Level for Epilepsy Care

The International Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at University of Miami Hospital has been designated as a Level 4 Epilepsy Center by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers. The designation is the highest level awarded by the association, which evaluates the quality of specialized epilepsy care in the United States.

According to the national association, a Level 4 center is skilled in providing the most complex diagnostic and treatment options, including a broad range of medical and surgical procedures.

Known for its dedication in providing comprehensive evaluations of the different epilepsy syndromes, the Epilepsy Center, led by Andres M. Kanner, M.D., professor of clinical neurology and Chief of the Epilepsy Division, offers the latest in pharmacotherapy and surgical treatment for patients with pharmaco-resistant epilepsy. As part of the comprehensive evaluation, patients also undergo neuropsychological evaluations.

“The mission of our Center is to provide the best and most comprehensive evaluations and treatment plans for our patients, taking into consideration not only the impact of the epileptic seizures on their life, but also that of comorbid medical, cognitive and psychiatric conditions, which often have a worse effect on the quality of life of our patients than the actual seizures,” said Kanner. “In addition, we put great emphasis on providing our neurology residents and epilepsy fellows with the best training. Members of the Center also are involved in several areas of research.”

Since joining the Miller School just one year ago, Kanner has helped expand the epilepsy evaluation and surgical program, as well as collaborations with colleagues across departments.

Complementing evaluation units at the University of Miami at Jackson Memorial Hospital and the Miami VA Medical Center, in February 2013, Kanner and his team opened the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit on the sixth floor of UMH. The Center also offers an around-the-clock epileptologist to respond to patient emergencies, outpatient clinics, and an active surgical program that for more than three decades has been at the forefront of innovative treatments and techniques for epilepsy.

Enrique A. Serrano, M.D., assistant professor of clinical neurology, who served as Interim Chief of the Epilepsy Division from 2011 to 2012 and was integral in the development of the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit at UMH, noted that the Center’s designation also will position the hospital to climb in the U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospitals” rankings.

“This designation distinguishes UMH as a standout hospital in the region for providing level 4 care to our epilepsy patients,” said Serrano. “The commitment of everyone involved in the comprehensive care of our patients not only earned us this designation, but also an opportunity to rise in the national rankings.”

Rounding out the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center is a multidisciplinary team of neurosurgeons, including Jonathan Jagid, M.D., associate professor of neurological surgery, neuropsychologists, neuroradiologists, interventional radiologists, and other specialists, who bring pivotal clinical research trials – and advanced treatments – to patients.

“This distinct classification would not have been possible without the leadership of Dr. Kanner and his entire team,” said David Zambrana, D.N.P., M.B.A., R.N., Interim Chief Executive Officer of UMH. “I often use the epilepsy program as an example of what is possible between the departments and the hospital.”

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