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Movement Disorders Center Adds Clinic for Spanish-Speaking Patients

March 09, 2021

A language barrier will no longer prevent Spanish-speaking patients with movement disorders from accessing quality specialty care.

Dr. Joy Antonelle DeMarcaida, medical director of the Chase Family Movement Disorders Center, part of the Hartford HealthCare Ayer Neuroscience Institute, said her team has created the state’s first movement disorders clinic dedicated to Spanish-speaking patients.

According to research, she said, Hispanics have the highest rates of Parkinson’s disease,

“Treating people with Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders is about helping them live a life that is no less full, despite their neurologic condition,” Dr. DeMarcaida said. “Given our vastly expanding department, we are excited to announce the opening of our Movement Disorders Spanish Clinic.”

The clinic is headed by Dr. Maria Moro-de-Casillas, a movement disorders specialist and native Spanish speaker.

“We have lifted the language and cultural barriers and started a clinic that provides a comfortable environment, with every staff member being native Spanish speakers,” Dr. DeMarcaida said. “We continuously collect Spanish-language resources regarding diagnoses, procedures, assistive devices and other information to help promote each patient’s individualized plan of care.”

The need for such tailored care, she said, is highlighted in a research paper entitled “Incidence of Parkinson’s disease: Variation by Age, Gender, and Race/Ethnicity” published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Connecticut, she added, has the 18th-largest Hispanic population in the United States.

“We recognized a great need for specialized care for this community in our state,” Dr. DeMarcaida said. “It was the passion of Dr. Moro-de-Casillas to develop such a clinic to meet the needs of the Hispanic community and commit to their care and well-being.”

The Movement Disorders Spanish Clinic is at Hartford HealthCare Community Health (also known as the Brownstone Building), 79 Retreat Ave., second floor, in Hartford. The clinic offers expertise in the care of Parkinson’s disease, tremors, gait disorders, Huntington’s disease, dyskinesia and other movement disorders for Spanish-speaking patients.

If needed, patients can also be connected with neuropsychological and social work providers who can help in their native language.

For appointments at the Movement Disorders Spanish Clinic, which is open the first Wednesday of every month from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., call 860.870.6385. Complimentary valet parking is available.