Legacy Care Program Improves Access to Parkinson’s Care

A new program at the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center is providing hope to its patients who have advancing Parkinson’s disease. The new Lonnie and Muhammad Ali Legacy Care Program provides patients with access to palliative care and remote visits through telemedicine.

Parkinson’s disease, which afflicts more than 1 million Americans, is a chronic and progressive movement disorder that has no known cure.  April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month.

The Legacy Care Program was created through a $4-million donation from the Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation to provide multidisciplinary, comprehensive care to people living with advancing Parkinson’s disease and support for their care partners.

“Parkinson’s may be incurable, but that’s no reason to give up hope,” says Holly Shill, MD, director of the Center. “Many patients live active and productive lives after being diagnosed if they follow their medical care and do what they can to stay active. It’s essential that we educate both patients and caregivers throughout the disease process, because battling Parkinson’s is a team effort.”

photo of phoenix neurologist holly shill
Barrow Neurologist Holly Shill, MD

As part of the program, patients and their caregivers meet in a single visit with a coordinator, a dietician, a physical therapist, a social worker, and their neurologist. Between visits, patients in this program are provided with tools to achieve a better quality of life with access to technology for remote access to medical care through telemedicine, as well as various lectures, trainings and support groups.

This type of program has long been the vision of the Champ’s widow, Lonnie Ali.

“Parkinson’s disease can take a lot away from a person, but the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center is continuing to find new ways of helping patients and their caregivers have a better quality of life,” says Lonnie. “That’s exactly what Muhammad and I loved about this center; their dedication to ensuring all patients with Parkinson’s receive the same kind of high-quality treatment that Muhammad always received.”

The Center’s treatments and innovative surgeries, along with its extensive and unique outreach programs, are what attract Parkinson’s patients from all over the world. Established in 1997 by Muhammad Ali, Phoenix philanthropist Jimmy Walker, and renowned neurologist Abraham Lieberman, MD, the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center has grown into the most comprehensive Parkinson’s disease center in the world. It is located at Barrow Neurological Institute which is part of Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in central Phoenix.