Expansion to weekly HD Clinic to serve more patients

Monday, August 08, 2016

 

To meet the growing needs of the Huntington disease community in Iowa and beyond, the UI HDSA Center of Excellence’s Huntington disease Clinic is expanding to take place each week. This expansion means more patients will have quicker access to specialized expert care from the clinic’s team of multidisciplinary care providers.

Shawna Feely

Shawna Feely

UI HDSA COE Clinic 

Coordinator“Providing excellent patient care is our number one priority,” said Shawna Feely, coordinator of the HD Clinic and a UI HDSA Center of Excellence genetic counselor. “It is a challenge to do this when a patient or family calls in with urgent needs and our clinic is fully booked for months. Expanding the clinic to weekly allows us to meet all of our patients’ clinical needs in as timely a manner as possible.”

In order to allow for the expansion of the clinic, the team will soon include three new staff members. Psychiatrist Dr. Kathryn Kenney will be adding the HD Clinic to her existing clinical duties at UI Health Care. Neurologist Dr. Annie Killoran will join the UI Department of Neurology from West Virginia University where she cared for patients with Huntington disease and other movement disorders. And Kaylee Faulkner is a recent graduate of Arcadia University’s Master of Science in Genetic Counseling program who interned with former UI HDSA COE Neurologist Pedro Gonzalez at the University of Pennsylvania and took this position specifically so she could continue working with HD patients.

“We think each of these new team members will provide great care to the HD community,” Feely said.

A steady increase of about 40 new patients from around the state and around the Midwest each of the last several years has led to the need for expansion from a biweekly to weekly clinic, Feely says. Many of the new patients are referrals from family members or friends who sent their loved ones to the UI HDSA Center of Excellence with strong recommendations.

“Adding a weekly clinic with a new set of providers will let us shorten wait time for patients to get in to be seen,” Feely said, “and it will allow the original clinic team to follow the patients they currently have while continuing to move forward with their HD research looking at potential treatments for HD.”

Existing patients will continue to see Neurologist Dr. John Kamholz and Psychiatrist Dr. Peg Nopoulos, Feely says, in order to maintain continuity of care that is a priority for Huntington disease patients.

The expansion of the clinic adds to the highly-specialized care and research offered by clinicians and researchers who know HD very well and work well together, Feely says. In addition to seeing a neurologist and psychiatrist, patients are provided the care that they specifically need, which can include neuropsychological testing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and swallowing therapy, genetic counseling and assistance from UI HDSA COE Social Worker Angel Dominguez on issues like disability insurance benefits. Participation in research studies like Enroll-HD is also available as part of a comprehensive clinic visit.

“I have worked in different HD clinics during my career, and I can definitely say at this point that if I had a loved one with HD, I would bring them to this clinic,” Feely said. “Every single team member really cares about the patients and families we serve. That is their number one priority.”

To make an appointment with the HD Clinic, please contact the UI HDSA Center of Excellence at 319-353-4307 or hdcenter@uiowa.edu.

New HD Clinic staff

Kathryn Kenney, MD

Psychiatrist

Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry

Education: BS, Psychology, Loyola University

DO, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences

MBA, Focus on Healthcare & Management, Rockhurst University

Kathryn Kenney is an existing member of the UI Department of Psychiatry and will be adding the HD Clinic to her slate of clinical duties.

 

Annie Killoran, MD

Neurologist

Education: MD, University College Dublin School of Medicine and Medical Science

Annie Killoran most recently worked as a neurologist at West Virginia University Medicine Movement Disorders Clinic, with a clinical interest in Huntington disease. Killoran also completed a Movement Disorders Fellowship at the University of Rochester in 2012.

 

Kaylee Faulkner, MS, CGC

Genetic counselor, clinic coordinator

Education: MS, Arcadia University

A recent graduate of the Arcadia University Master of Science in Genetic Counseling program, Kaylee Faulkner says working in the HD Clinic is her dream job, allowing her to work with Huntington disease patients after specializing in the disease during her training. She says HD patients and families are among the best patients she has come across, and she is looking forward to helping patients in Iowa through the unique challenges that HD poses.

“I am here to be your point person,” Faulkner said. “I want patients to know that I will move mountains for them to ensure they get the most of their care. I am devoted to my patients and I am most excited to demonstrate that every day of my career.”

A fascination with genetics and a desire to work with people directly guided Faulkner to genetic counseling as a career choice. In addition to direct genetic counseling, she will also be helping patients with scheduling and making sure they have all their specialized needs covered during their clinic visit. Faulkner says this combination of duties will allow her the opportunity to do what she looks forward to above all else: Connecting with her patients.

“I’m most excited to build ongoing relationships with my patients and their families,” she said. “I can’t wait to meet each individual and help them in any way I can.”