SAN DIEGO MOVEMENT DISORDER SPECIALISTS
DO YOU KNOW THE IMPORTANT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A GENERAL NEUROLOGIST AND A MOVEMENT DIS0RDER SPECIALIST?
General neurologists treat more than 100 neurological conditions. Movement disorder specialists are neurologists who must complete a two-year fellowship in movement disorders beyond general neurology and training specifically to treat patients with diagnoses of Parkinson’s and Huntington’s, essential tremor, dystonia, and various Parkinsonisms. They keep abreast of new and potential treatments and medications and can address each patient’s care needs with specialized expertise.
The Parkinson’s Association of San Diego encourages every person with a movement disorder to see a neurologist that specializes in movement disorders, at least annually.
THE PARKINSON’S ASSOCIATION OF SAN DIEGO (PASD) IS PROVIDING THIS LISTING OF MOVEMENT DISORDER SPECIALISTS AS A COMMUNITY RESOURCE ONLY. PASD DOES NOT ENDORSE A CERTAIN PHYSICIAN(S).
New physicians are added periodically. PASD is very appreciative of the support of our local physicians.
Scripps Clinic Movement Disorder Center
Melissa Houser, M.D.
Dr. Houser is the Director of the Parkinson’s disease and Movement Disorder Center at Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, CA.
She is a board certified neurologist with neurophysiology and movement disorders fellowships. She and her team specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson’s disease, parkinsonism, dystonia, myoclonus, tics, tremor and conditions requiring botulinum toxin injections. Her clinical focus is on an integrative team approach to treatment and her research interests lie in stem cell therapy and other bio implantable or bio mechanical therapies for Parkinson’s disease and dystonia.
Nelson Hwynn, DO
Nelson Hwynn, DO is a neurologist with Scripps Clinic. He treats a variety of neurological conditions and has subspecialty fellowship training in the area of movement disorders including tremors, Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, Tourette’s syndrome, and ataxia. He has had extensive training in administering botulinum toxin (Botox) injections for disorders such as cervical dystonia, blepharospasm, hemifacial spasm, and spasticity. Dr. Hwynn is the co-director of the Scripps Clinic deep brain stimulation (DBS) program with neurosurgeon, Dr. Adam Burdick, and has expertise in evaluating and managing patients with this surgery.
Sherrie Gould, NP
Sherrie Gould NP currently works as a Movement Disorders Nurse Practitioner at the Scripps Clinic Center for Neurorestoration in La Jolla, CA. She is currently an “expert nurse program educator” nationally and speaks to patients from around the country about DBS. She serves as faculty for Medtronic teaching the art and science of DBS to other professionals around the country.
She is on a number of Advisory Councils for Parkinson’s disease and speaks around the country to groups on Parkinson’s disease and various treatments.
Her passion is empowering people with Parkinson’s to reach lofty goals and as a consequence has lead trips around the globe with people with Parkinson’s and their loved ones to Kilimanjaro, base camp of Everest, Machu Picchu and more recently the Camino de Santiago in Spain.
She was awarded the Health Hero Award in both 2011 and 2013 for her commitment to the Parkinson’s community. Sherrie was recognized by CANP for her commitment to Parkinson’s research in 2014. She was given the NP Award of Distinction by the California Association of Nurse Practitioner in 2018.
Andrea Lee, PA-C
Andrea Lee, PA-C currently works for Scripps Clinic in neurology. She cares for patients with Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. She is experienced in management of deep brain stimulation as well as administration of botulinum toxin to treat a variety of neurologic conditions.
Andrea received her Master of Medical Science degree from Marshall B. Ketchum University in Fullerton, CA. She was the recipient of the Award for Academic Excellence and served as a peer tutor for her classmates. She continues to be involved in the education of PA students both in the classroom and in clinic.
University of California San Diego
Brent Wright, MD
Dr. Wright is a board-certified neurologist who treats people with movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, tremor, ataxia, chorea, tics, tardive syndromes and other rare diseases. He also conducts research on falls and balance in neurodegenerative diseases; clinical research in Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and other movement disorders; mechanisms and outcomes of deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery; and outcomes of continuous intraintestinal levodopa infusion. His research has been published in several peer-reviewed journals.
David Coughlin, MD
David Coughlin, MD, MTR, is a board-certified neurologist specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, tremor, essential tremor, progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), multiple system atrophy, corticobasal syndrome, dementia with lewy bodies, ataxia, dystonia, myoclonus, drug-induced movement disorders, and gait abnormalities.
He is experienced in the use of botulinum toxin for hemifacial spasm, blepharospasm, cervical dystonia, limb dystonias and sialorrhea (drooling or excessive salivation). Dr. Coughlin is also skilled in patient selection and post-operative management of deep brain stimulation.
As an assistant professor in the Department of Neurosciences, Dr. Coughlin trains medical students, residents and fellows at UC San Diego School of Medicine.
He completed a fellowship in movement disorders at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where he also did his neurology residency. He earned his medical degree from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Coughlin also holds a master’s degree in translational research from University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and completed a Healthcare Leadership and Quality Improvement Certificate Training program at Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Coughlin is a recipient of the 2019 American Academy of Neurology Healthcare Quality and Safety Award and the 2019 American Academy of Neurology/American Brain Foundation clinical research training scholarship in Parkinson’s Disease. His work has been published in several peer-reviewed journals.
He is a member of the American Academy of Neurology, the American Neurological Association, and the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.
Dr. Coughlin’s personal interests include running and rowing.
Stephanie Lessig, MD
Dr. Lessig is a board-certified neurologist at UC San Diego Health and the VA San Diego Healthcare System. She regularly treats patients for Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders, including administration of botulinum toxin and management of deep brain stimulation. Dr. Lessig is involved in both basic research and clinical trials, with a clinical research focus on Parkinson’s disease and Parkinsonian disorders.
Irene Litvan, MD
Dr. Litvan is an internationally recognized, board-certified neurologist and director of the Parkinson Foundation-designated Parkinson’s and Other Movement Disorders Center of Excellence at UC San Diego Health. Dr. Litvan treats diagnoses and conducts state of the art research and therapeutic trials in individuals with Parkinson’s disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, coricobasal degeneration, dementia with Lewy bodies and frontotemporal dementias. Throughout her career, she has played a pivotal role in advancing research and management of Parkinsonian and dementia disorders. As a result, she is frequently invited to lecture worldwide, received awards and played important roles in many professional associations. Currently, she chairs the American Academy of Neurology Movement Disorders Section.
Katherine Longardner, MD
Dr. Longardner is a movement disorders neurologist who evaluates and takes care of patients with conditions including Parkinson disease/parkinsonism, tremor, dystonia, chorea, ataxia, and tics. Her research focuses on parkinsonian non-motor symptoms, especially the relationship between orthostatic hypotension and cognition. She is also interested in using non-invasive electrophysiological techniques to diagnose tremor and other types of involuntary movements.
Caitlin Mulligan, MD
Caitlin Mulligan, MD, is a board-certified neurologist who treats patients with movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, tremor, dystonia, or other gait and balance problems. She has expertise and special interest in deep brain stimulation (DBS) as a tool to treat movement disorders, as well as botulinum toxin injections.
As an assistant professor of in the Department of Neurosciences, Dr. Mulligan trains medical students, residents and fellows. She recently co-authored a review on the diagnosis and management of Wilson’s disease and was a coauthor on a recent paper about developing a residency curriculum to teach resiliency skills to neurology residents.
Dr. Mulligan completed a fellowship in movement disorders at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, where she also did her residency and served as chief resident. She earned her medical degree from the UC San Diego School of Medicine.
She is a member of the American Academy of Neurology and the Movement Disorders Society (MDS).
In her free time. Dr. Mulligan enjoys nature and spending time with her family.
Kathy Huynh, NP-C
Ms. Huynh graduated from UCSD graduating in 2000 with a BS in biochemistry and cell biology. She was licensed as a registered nurse in 2007 and obtained her MS in Nursing in 2010 from Samuel Merritt University. She is board certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners as a Family Nurse Practitioner.s.
Sharp Movement Disorder Clinic
Vamsidhar Chavakula, MD
Medical School: Harvard Medical School
Internship: Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Residency: Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Fellowship: Munari Epilepsy Surgery Centre – Niguarda Hospital
The Neurology Center of Southern California
Irene Oh, M.D.
Dr. Oh joined the Neurology Center in 2009. She grew up and trained in Texas. She received her undergraduate degree at Rice University and medical degree at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas. She completed her residency in Neurology and fellowship in Movement Disorders at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. She is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.
Dr. Oh has a special interest in Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor. She is experienced in the management of deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, and dystonia. She also is experienced in using botulinum toxin injections for dystonia and spasticity and in managing intrathecal baclofen pumps for spasticity.
Dr. Oh has privileges at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas and Tri-City Medical Center at Oceanside. She works at our Carlsbad and Escondido offices. She is a member of the American Academy of Neurology and Movement Disorders Society.
The Neuron Clinic
Melanie Wu, DO
Melanie Wu, DO is a board-certified neurologist in Temecula and Chula Vista. After completion of her Movement Disorders Fellowship at UC San Diego, she joined The Neuron Clinic as director of the Movement Disorder and deep brain stimulation (DBS) program.
She treats patients with many neurological conditions and specializes in the care of patients with Movement Disorders including Parkinson’s disease, other Parkinsonian disorders, ataxia, dystonia, tremor, chorea, tics, and balance and gait problems. She has extensive training in the management and programming of deep brain stimulation (DBS) for Parkinson’s disease and tremor patients. She is also trained to administer Botox injections for dystonia, blepharospasm, facial spasm, spasticity and migraines.
She completed her neurology residency at Loma Linda University, where she served as chief resident. She then completed her fellowship in Movement Disorders at UC San Diego. She is a member of the American Academy of Neurology and Movement Disorders Society.
Dr. Wu is available for new patients. Her locations are as follows.
The Neuron Clinic Chula Vista:
450 4th Street., suite 214
Chula Vista CA 91910
The Neuron Clinic Temecula
44045 Margarita Rd, suite 106
Temecula CA 92592
The Neuron Clinic San Marcos
833 Nordahl Road Ste 200
San Marcos, CA
Rupa Lekh Nanavati, MD
I was born in England, where I also grew up and did all my undergraduate medical training. People are often surprised to hear my British accent on seeing that I am an Indian woman living in the U.S.! I moved to the U.S. to do my residency. I was in Houston for my neurology residency and epilepsy fellowship. My husband and I moved to San Diego and I did my second fellowship in movement disorders at UC San Diego. When I am not working, I love to travel and enjoy all the wonderful leisure activities San Diego has to offer. My husband and I enjoy eating out and I am always happy to get people’s recommendations on their favorite eating spots!
I specialize in treating movement disorders, and so I spend much of my time treating patients with Parkinson’s disease. I am also trained in the management of patients who have had deep brain stimulation surgery. Another area of interest for me is the management of patients with epilepsy. However, I enjoy seeing patients with a wide variety of general neurological problems, as it keeps my day interesting.
Rita Ceponiene, MD
I graduated from medical school in Vilnius, Lithuania, attending one of the oldest universities in Europe. After brief post-graduate training in neurology in Vilnius, I moved to Helsinki, Finland, to complete a Ph.D. in neuroscience, which I defended in 2002, graduating magna cum laude. My post-doctoral training brought me to UC San Diego, and although I was very successful in research, I missed the feeling of helping patients. So I re-did an internship at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan (loved it there!) and a residency in adult neurology, followed by a movement disorders fellowship at UC San Diego Medical Center, lead by one of the top specialists in the nation, Irene Litvan.
Although my main expertise lies in the field of movement disorders, I welcome patients with any neurological condition. I serve, respect, and do my personal and professional best to every person who comes through my office door. I maintain ties with UC San Diego Movement Disorder Center via research studies as well as shared learning via professor video rounds and case discussions.
Frederick De La Vega, MD
Areas of Expertise
- Cerebrovascular Disease
- Movement Disorders
- Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla
- American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology, Neurology, 2004
- Creighton University School of Medicine, MD, 1998
- Creighton University, Internal Medicine, 1999
- Mayo Clinic, Neurology, 2002
- Barrow Neurological Institute, Movement Disorders, 2003
Kaizen Brain Center
Khashayar Dashtipour, MD, PhD
Khashayar Dashtipour, MD, Ph.D. is a board-certified Neurologist sub-specializing in a variety of the movement disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease, Tremor, Dystonia, Restless Legs Syndrome, Huntington’s Disease, Tardive Dyskinesia, and Spasticity. Dr. Dashtipour is an Associate Professor of Neurology and Basic Sciences and serves as the Director of the Division of Movement Disorders at Loma Linda University.
In addition to his accomplishments as a highly respected clinician treating movement disorder patients, Dr. Dashtipour has authored or coauthored over 100 original journal articles, review papers, book chapters, and he has presented abstracts at the international congresses.
Dr. Dashtipour has been the principal investigator or sub-investigator of over 40 clinical trials. He is an active member of the Parkinson Study Group, The American Academy of Neurology, and the Movement Disorders Society. Since 2017, he has served on the Movement Disorders Society CME Committee. A focus of Dr. Dashtipour’s research has been about lifestyle modification in Parkinson’s disease such as exercise, finding a biomarker for Parkinson’s disease, and developing new medications for managing movement disorders.
At Kaizen Brain Center, Dr. Dashtipour shares his passion for helping patients with the following conditions: Parkinson’s Disease, Tremor, Tardive Dyskinesia, Gait Impairment, Huntington’s Disease, Tic Disorders, and Abnormal Movements. Part of Dr. Dashtipour’s treatment arsenal includes botulinum toxin injections for a variety of clinical therapeutic indications such as Cervical Dystonia, Spasticity, Drooling (Sialorrhea), Blepharospasm, Hemifacial Spasm, Dysphonia, Jaw Dystonia, Limb Dystonia, and Tremor.