Leading Tourette and Tic Disorder Non-profit and Neuroscience Institute Take Action to Improve Care, Research and Education for those Living with the Disorder

Online PR News – 05-May-2016 – Los Angeles, CA – On Thursday, May 5th, the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA and the Tourette Association of America will jointly host an awareness and networking event to celebrate the progress and accomplishments made since the launch of the Tourette Association Center of Excellence (CofE) program in 2015. The event will bring together leading Tourette Syndrome (TS) experts, families and supporters, for presentations on the latest treatment approaches and research in Tourette and Tic Disorders.

In 2014, the Tourette Association of America launched the pilot phase of its Center of Excellence program as part of its commitment to improve the quality of life of people with Tourette Syndrome and Tic Disorders by promoting the highest level of care, research, education and awareness, and outreach and advocacy in the United States. UCLA’s Semel Institute then became one of nine inaugural institutions to receive the Tourette Association Center of Excellence designation.

“The designation of Tourette Association Centers of Excellence in communities across the country, particularly in underserved populations, is crucial to our mission,” said John Miller, President and CEO of the Tourette Association of America. “For people living with Tourette or other Tic Disorders, there are currently vast inconsistencies in the level of care and treatment outcomes that they experience. Our goal is to collaborate with UCLA’s Semel Institute and other Centers of Excellence to set and maintain high standards in the TS community with increased access to evidence-based treatment, compassionate care and guidance.”

Designated centers like UCLA have made strides in the past two years to advance research, improve understanding and build awareness of the conditions among patients, care providers and the general public. The CofEs are focused on addressing problems with TS and other Tic Disorders such as common misdiagnosis, significant public stigma, poorly defined treatment methods, inconsistency of therapeutic recommendations, a need for greater scientific and clinical research, and a lack of training programs and opportunities for fellows in subspecialties.

"The Semel Institute CofE designation recognizes the high quality of our existing Tourette programs and will support the development of even more effective interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches to the recognition, treatment and scientific study of the disorder,” says Dr. John Piacentini, Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the new Center.

The May 5 event will be held from 10:00am to 12:00pm in the Tamkin Auditorium of the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and will open with an address by Tourette Association of America President and CEO, John Miller, and renowned psychiatrist and neuroscientist Dr. Peter Whybrow, the Director of the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA. Dr. Piacentini and the Semel Institute Co-Director, Dr. James McCracken, will provide an overview of the UCLA CofE, followed by remarks from patients and their families who have been touched by Tourette and have experienced positive outcomes at UCLA. A plaque will also be presented to Tourette Association Board Member Paul Devore and his wife, Anne Devore, in appreciation of their generous donation of $150,000 to the Tourette Association and the UCLA Center of Excellence to support the CofE program. The event will conclude with remarks on the national goals and future of the CofE program by Dr. John Walkup, Director of the CofE at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York and by Tourette Association Executive Vice President, Dr. Kevin McNaught.

About Tourette Association of America

Founded in 1972, the Tourette Association of America is dedicated to making life better for all individuals affected by Tourette and Tic Disorders. The premier nationwide organization serving the Tourette community, the Association works to raise awareness, advance research and provide ongoing support. To this end, the Tourette Association launched a model of comprehensive and coordinated care through our TAA Centers of Excellence program, based in our nation’s most prestigious healthcare systems. We also provide support in local communities across the country through our network of 32 Chapters and more than 80 support groups. For more information on Tourette and Tic Disorders or to join as a member, call 1-888-4-TOURET, visit, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

About the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA

The Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior is an interdisciplinary research and education institute devoted to the understanding of complex human behavior, including the genetic, biological, behavioral and sociocultural underpinnings of normal behavior, and the causes and consequences of neuropsychiatric disorders. In addition to conducting fundamental research, the institute faculty seeks to develop effective strategies for prevention and treatment of neurological, psychiatric and behavioral disorder, including improvement in access to mental health services and the shaping of national health policy. The Semel Institute is highly integrated with the Department of Psychiatry in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and with the Stewart and Lynda Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA; all three are devoted to research, teaching and patient care in psychiatry, neuroscience and related fields.
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