The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s Edmond J. Safra Fellowship in Movement Disorders Selects Class of 2021

The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s Edmond J. Safra Fellowship in Movement Disorders Selects Class of 2021

NEW YORK (January 3, 2019) — The Edmond J. Safra Fellowship in Movement Disorders has selected six neurology physicians for the Class of 2021, the program’s fourth class, from top neurology programs across the world. This summer, these individuals will begin two years of training to become movement disorder clinician-researchers — experts in treating people with Parkinson’s and other movement disorders as well as advancing critical research.

Launched in 2014, The Edmond J. Safra Fellowship in Movement Disorders — a collaboration between The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) and longtime partner the Edmond J. Safra Foundation — bridges a funding gap to train much-needed movement disorder specialists. Annually, the program awards funding to five academic centers worldwide to each train a new movement disorder specialist over two years. With the enrollment of this fourth class and the recent graduation of its first, The Edmond J. Safra Fellowship in Movement Disorders is on schedule to graduate 21 new movement disorder specialists by the year 2021.

“The Edmond J. Safra Fellowship aims to train outstanding movement disorder specialists who can provide the highest level of patient care while pushing research advances forward,” says Todd Sherer, PhD, CEO of The Michael J. Fox Foundation. “We’re providing top-tier centers with the resources to connect with and train competitive candidates, enabling a future generation of leaders in movement disorders.”

 The Class of 2021 Fellows:

Once awarded, individual centers choose fellowship candidates from a pool of highly qualified applicants. Fellows come from varied institutions and backgrounds, but all demonstrate impressive clinical skills and broad experience in research, teaching and service to the community (both locally and internationally).

The Class of 2021 Edmond J. Safra Fellows and centers are:

  • Whitley W. Aamodt, MD, MPH

University of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • Christopher Y. Caughman, MD
    Emory University; Atlanta, Georgia
  • Neil Shetty, MD
    Northwestern University; Chicago, Illinois
  • Anne Weissbach, MD
    University of Lübeck; Lübeck, Germany
  • Judith van Gaalen, MD
    Radboud University; Nijmegen, the Netherlands
  • Amir Badiei, MD, MS

University of California; San Francisco, California (UCSF)*

*UCSF’s Class of 2019 fellow took a movement disorders position in an underserved area after one year of fellowship so the program is matching a second fellow in the Class of 2021.

During the fellowship, world-renowned movement disorder experts guide each individual’s education and career development. Fellows learn how to critically evaluate and optimally treat movement disorder patients as well as how to lead and interpret clinical studies.

“With each new class of The Edmond J. Safra Fellowship in Movement Disorders, we see enormous promise and hope,” says Lily Safra, chairwoman of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation and member of the MJFF Board of Directors. “This next generation of movement disorder specialists will meet critical needs in patient care and research advancement.”

Fellowship a Solution to a Growing Problem:

Seeing a movement disorder specialist, a neurologist with additional training in Parkinson’s and other movement disorders, is one of the keys to living well with Parkinson’s. But not everyone sees a movement disorder specialist, often because there aren’t enough of them. And this disparity between doctors and the patients who need them is growing — estimates indicate that 6 million people across the world are living with Parkinson’s today and this number will double by 2040.

The Edmond J. Safra Fellowship in Movement Disorders aims to address this need by providing critical funding to train more movement disorder specialists. The program is building an international network of clinician-researchers and is on schedule to graduate 21 new movement disorder specialists around the world by the year 2021.

Watch a video about the fellowship program.

A Commitment to Promoting Parkinson’s Research and Care:

Late banker and philanthropist Edmond J. Safra’s namesake foundation has long made Parkinson’s disease care and research top priorities. Mrs. Safra, chairwoman of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation, has been an MJFF Board member since 2001.

In addition to generous gifts to centers and programs providing direct care to people with Parkinson’s disease, Mrs. Safra and her foundation have driven vital scientific investigation into new treatments. The fellowship is the latest among many partnerships between the Edmond J. Safra Foundation and MJFF, including the Edmond J. Safra Core Programs for PD Research, which supports MJFF’s central grantmaking initiatives.




About The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research

As the world’s largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson’s research, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinson’s disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition today. The Foundation pursues its goals through an aggressively funded, highly targeted research program coupled with active global engagement of scientists, Parkinson’s patients, business leaders, clinical trial participants, donors and volunteers. In addition to funding more than $800 million in research to date, the Foundation has fundamentally altered the trajectory of progress toward a cure. Operating at the hub of worldwide Parkinson’s research, the Foundation forges groundbreaking collaborations with industry leaders, academic scientists and government research funders; increases the flow of participants into Parkinson’s disease clinical trials with its online tool, Fox Trial Finder; promotes Parkinson’s awareness through high-profile advocacy, events and outreach; and coordinates the grassroots involvement of thousands of Team Fox members around the world. For more information, visit us on the Web, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

About the Edmond J. Safra Foundation

Edmond J. Safra, one of the 20th century’s most accomplished bankers and a devoted philanthropist, established a major philanthropic foundation to ensure that individuals and organizations would continue to receive his assistance and encouragement for many years to come. Under the chairmanship of his beloved wife Lily, the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation draws continuing inspiration from its founder’s life and values, and supports hundreds of organizations in more than 40 countries around the world. Its work encompasses four areas: Education; Science and Medicine; Religion; and Humanitarian Assistance, Culture and Social Welfare. The Foundation has provided significant funding for Parkinson’s disease research and patient care at dozens of hospitals and institutes in places as varied as Natal (Brazil), Toronto, New York, Grenoble, Paris, London and Jerusalem. For more information, visit

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