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The mission of the UNC amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) Clinic is to accompany our patients through a challenging journey that changes their lives as well as those of their families. Our compassionate team is there at every step along the way to provide interdisciplinary care and support.

ALS is a neurodegenerative disorder affecting the motor neurons in the spinal cord, and their connections upwards towards the brain and downwards towards the muscles. Most patients have a sporadic form of the disease, meaning the cause or causes of the disease are unknown. However, we frequently discover distinctive genetic variants. Inevitably, this disorder leads to loss of function and independence over periods varying between months to years.


Patient Care

The ALS Clinic at UNC offers an expert group of dedicated neuromuscular physicians to diagnose the disorder with the aid of state-of-the-art technology. Once diagnosed, patients attend one of our monthly ALS interdisciplinary clinics, where a team of physicians, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, nutritionists, social workers and supporting specialties apply the standards of care to manage the disease and its associated progression.

Our clinic highlights the evidence-based foundations of ALS management, knowing that a combination of interdisciplinary care; pulmonary and nutritional support; pharmacologic agents; and supportive and mindful communications increase the lifespan and quality of life of our patients.

At UNC, we value our relationship with ALS patients and their families, knowing that the disorder affects the entire family unit. We strive to build rapport during all of our interactions with our patients and their loved ones as we prepare individualized care plans.

What to expect during your visit

During their first visits, patients and families will meet with one of our doctors for diagnostic testing and confirmation of the disease. Once this has happened, initial discussions about the disease take place, and patients are enrolled into our ALS Clinic. Initial ALS Clinic visits are when we start discussing goals of care, pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic therapeutic options, and exploration of immediate needs.

Over subsequent visits, patients and families undergo evaluation and management by our physicians, physical and occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, a nutritionist, a social worker and other team members. The clinic also provides outside support with a combination of referrals to other specialties, telehealth visits, electronic communications and phone calls.


Education and Research

Innovation and education are important components of the mission of our department and institution. We offer participation in clinical trials, basic sciences research and training of the next generation of ALS specialists. Our comprehensive Neurosciences Research Center and the Neurology Clinical Trials Unit provide access to patients who wish to contribute to future discoveries. As an example, we have been chosen as a clinical site for the AMX0035 study on ALS Patients (PHOENIX), and we expect to enroll patients once internal and regulatory reviews are completed. As part of our commitment to extramural academic collaboration, the UNC ALS clinic is a member of the Northeast Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Consortium (NEALS).


Our Team

Physicians

Jorge L. Almodóvar-Suárez, MD Jorge Almodóvar-Suárez, MD

Associate Professor, Director ALS Clinic

Deborah Gelinas, MD Deborah Gelinas, MD

Associate Professor

Vinay Chaudhry, MD Vinay Chaudhry, MD

Professor, Chief of Neuromuscular Division

Rebecca Traub, MD

Associate Professor, Director EMG Laboratory

Anahit C. Mehrabyan, MD

Assistant Professor

Eric Creed, DO Eric Creed, MD

Neuromuscular Fellow

Multidisciplinary Backbone

Manisha Choprah, MD Manisha Chopra, MBBS, CCRP

ALS Clinic Coordinator

Courtney Matrunick, DPT Courtney Matrunick, PT

Physical Therapist

Valerie Geller, MS, OTR/L Valerie Geller, MSOT

Occupational Therapist

Joseph Hall MS CCC-SLP

Speech Therapist

Natalia Adamson MPH, RD, LDN, CNSC

Dietitian

June Dixon, MSW, LCSW June Dixon, LCSWSocial Worker
Michael Garrett, CRT, RRT
Respiratory Therapist

Off-Clinic Support

Peter Bream Jr., MD Peter Bream Jr., MD

Professor, Interventional Radiologist
Expert on minimally invasive G-tube placements

Basic Sciences

Todd Cohen, PhD Todd Cohen, PhD – Associate Professor

UNC Neurosciences Research Center


Appointments

Ask your doctor to send a referral to our clinic. Referral information >


Location