April 12, 2007

The ALS Clinic at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston   
Certified As Center of Excellence by The ALS Association 

By Gary Wosk, Staff Writer
Baylor Front Entrance
The front entrance of
Baylor College of Medicine
The ALS Association has officially recognized the ALS Clinic at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston as its 30th Certified CenterSM.

After a thorough review, The Association concluded that the multidisciplinary team at the clinic, which opened on August 26, 2005, is offering people with ALS and their families state-of-the-art ALS care and deserved the Center of Excellence designation.

All 30 ALS Centers that The Association has approved devote resources to providing comprehensive outpatient care during each visit and to ALS research.

“Our significant growth in the number of centers during the past two years is due to the commitment of The ALS Association’s chapters and centers working together to enhance the quality of life for people with ALS and their families,” said Sharon Matland, The Association’s vice president of patient services. “The Association is dedicated to providing the highest level of care through the center’s multidisciplinary team.” 

The BCM clinic was founded by Yadollah Harati, M.D., professor of neurology at BCM and medical director of the clinic. Harati also is senior attending physician at The Methodist Hospital and St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Houston, Texas. Harati has conducted several studies on the efficacy of cyclosporin and the side effects of Riluzole as treatments for ALS, the efficacy, safety and tolerability of SR 57746A, and the occurrence of ALS among Gulf War veterans and veterans in Texas. 
 Baylor 2 Dr. Horati

Dr. Yadollah Harati is the medical director of the ALS clinic that he founded at Baylor College of Medicine.    

The center’s multidisciplinary team includes a clinic coordinator, nurse clinician, physical and occupational therapists and dietitian. Other members include a speech and language pathologist, social worker, orthotist, pulmonologist, gastroenterologist for PEG and psychiatrist/psychologist.

"I am pleased that in collaboration with The ALS Association we have been able to put an outstanding team of healthcare providers together for the ALS Clinic at Baylor College of Medicine,” Harati said.

On each clinic day, a member of The Association Greater Houston Chapter patient services team also participates and collaborates with the multidisciplinary team.

“We are thrilled with the progress that the Baylor clinic has made and the positive impact that it has had on ALS patients, their families and the community. Clinic days enrich the lives of all involved,” said Linda Richardson, executive director of the chapter.

The center also will conduct ALS research with the goal of uncovering a cause and finding a cure.

“We have assembled a number of scientists and physician-scientists to address the basic molecular and genetic aspects of ALS,” Harati continued. “We are extremely hopeful that as a result of our coordinated and tireless efforts, we will be at the forefront of discoveries in ALS. I am grateful for the support of generous philanthropists and countless individuals who have extended their aide to our program.”

Baylor 3 Dr. Harati with patient
Dr. Harati (R) and Dr. Justin Kwan check reflexes of Bob Vincent, who has ALS. 
The ALS Clinic at Baylor College of Medicine is the 30th ALS Center certified by The Association with nearly 33 percent of the facilities certified in the last two years, growth that will continue into the foreseeable future. The Curt and Shonda Schilling ALS Clinic at Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Mass., was certified as the 29th center by The Association earlier this year.

BCM, the only private medical school in the Greater Southwest, was founded in 1900 and is today an internationally respected medical and research institution known for excellence in education, research and patient care. Located in the Texas Medical Center, a 700-acre complex housing 42 member institutions, BCM has affiliates with seven teaching hospitals.

“It is an accomplishment for a clinic to be certified in less than two years from the time it first opened its doors,” said Gary A. Leo, the president and CEO of The Association. “This fast track is a prime example of what is possible when a chapter of The ALS Association and a clinic work closely together and are committed to providing the best care possible to people with ALS. The Greater Houston Chapter and the ALS Clinic at Baylor College of Medicine are to be congratulated. We look forward to a long, successful and collaborative relationship with this fine institution.”