The Neuromuscular & ALS Center is a multidisciplinary program for the diagnosis, evaluation and long-term management of a host of neuromuscular diseases found in adults. The Center provides particular attention to patients with ALS and related disorders, and is one of only a handful of neurologic clinical centers in the U.S. specializing in ALS and certified by the national ALS Association (ALSA). The Center is enhanced by state-of-the-art diagnostic facilities of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, including a clinical neurophysiology lab for the performance of EMG and nerve conduction studies, and a neuropathology lab for interpretation of muscle and nerve biopsies. The hospital’s expert physicians are also available to patients on a consultation basis.
The Goals of the Center are:
Jerry Belsh, MD, Neurologist – Provides expert evaluation of the patient’s neurologic function, makes a diagnosis, and monitors the long-term course of the disease. also the Team Leader who provides a plan of overall management.
Ann Marie Coyne-West, RN, Nurse Care Coordinator – A registered nurse who coordinates patient visits to the Center, arranges for appropriate specialty consultations, helps to run clinical research studies, and acts as a resource person when patients have questions about their disease or plan of management.
Connie Lau, PT, Physical Therapist – A licensed professional who evaluates muscle strength, walking ability, balance, and endurance; recommends appropriate exercise programs, mobility aids, and orthotic devices.
Dana Stollar, OT, Occupational Therapist – A registered professional evaluates difficulties in daily activities (e.g., dressing, self-feeding, bed mobility and toileting); also assists patients in adapting to upper limb weakness and maintaining independent function.
Julie Glass, RD, Dietitian - A trained professional who evaluates nutritional and weight status, assists with eating and swallowing difficulties, and recommends foods and nutritional supplements.
Nancy Calamusa,SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist – Licensed professional who assesses speech and swallowing problems and provide strategies to overcome these problems; recommends alternative methods of communication, if necessary.
Philip Schiffman, M.D., Pulmonologist, - Evaluates and monitors respiratory function, treats pulmonary infections and breathing difficulties, and advises patients regarding major decisions about long-term respiratory and nutritional support.
Joan DeVelder, MSW, Social Worker - Trained professional who helps the patient utilize appropriate community resources and provides supportive counseling for patients and families.
Rev. Tiina Nummela, Team Chaplain, - Certified member of the clergy who counsels patients and families regarding spiritual and emotional difficulties and provides information about living wills and end-of-life issues.
Mary Wagner, Pharm. D., Pharmacist – Pharmacy consultant who is available to provide medication information to patients and staff.
Additional information about the services offered by our Center, including a descriptive brochure, can be obtained by calling Annmarie Coyne-West at the Neuromuscular & ALS Center at (732) 235-7331.