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Michael J. Fox Foundation Selects UC San Diego as Site for Parkinson’s Fellowship

Eshita Shah, MD, will receive training at UC San Diego School of Medicine under the Edmond J. Safra Fellowship in Movement Disorders, a collaboration between the Edmond J. Safra Foundation and The Michael J. Fox Foundation. Photo credit: The Edmond J. Safra Foundation, The Michael J. Fox Foundation

University of California San Diego has been selected by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) as one of eight international academic medical centers to train a new movement disorder clinician-researcher — a neurologist with additional training and expertise in diagnosing and treating Parkinson’s and related diseases — as part of the Edmond J. Safra Fellowship in Movement Disorders Class of 2026.

UC San Diego School of Medicine has selected Eshita Shah, MD, as the recipient of this prestigious award. Shah, who is completing her residency in neurology at UC Irvine, will begin her two-year training in 2024. 

For people with Parkinson’s, seeing a movement disorder specialist is key to living with the disease as best as possible. Today, an estimated 6 million people worldwide live with Parkinson’s. Due to an aging population, the number of people diagnosed is expected to double by the year 2040. With the number of people impacted by Parkinson’s increasing, there is an urgent demand and growing for more movement disorder specialists.

Since its launch in 2014, the Edmond J. Safra Fellowship in Movement Disorders has trained 27 new movement disorder specialists and is on track to graduate 72 by the year 2028. The program provides $180,000 to help fund two years of the fellow’s training. Now in its ninth year, the fellowship continues to make significant contributions in enhancing access to high-quality patient care and leading scientific advances toward better understanding and treatment of movement disorders.

An external review committee of movement disorder specialists, assembled by MJFF, selected the eight centers from a highly competitive group of applicants. Selection of awardees was based on several criteria, including their history of training successful movement disorder clinician-researchers; the breadth and depth of clinical care and research education; and training opportunities that equip fellows with the skills and knowledge to advance equitable access and diversity across clinical care services, research, education and community outreach.

"We are thrilled to be selected by the Michael J. Fox Foundation to train the next generation of Parkinson’s clinician-researchers through the distinguished Edmond J. Safra Fellowship in Movement Disorders,” said Irene Litvan, MD, Tasch Endowed Professor of Parkinson's Disease Research and director of the Parkinson & Other Movement Disorders Center at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “UC San Diego is dedicated to performing the most state-of-the-art research and providing the best diagnostic, therapeutic, palliative and supportive care to patients with movement disorders. This fellowship will support our trainees in driving that mission forward.”

The Edmond J. Safra Fellowship is made possible through the generosity and leadership of the late Mrs. Lily Safra, former chairwoman of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation and MJFF Board member. Mrs. Safra provided revolutionary support to hundreds of organizations around the world in the name of her late husband, Edmond J. Safra, who lived with Parkinson’s disease.

To learn more, visit the Edmond J. Safra Fellowship website.

Nicole Mlynaryk