DEPARTMENTS AND CENTERS
A key strategic initiative for the RNI is developing multidisciplinary centers that focus on providing holistic patient care.
In its first year, the RNI expanded the centers listed below, integrating multiple disciplines and forming a team of specialists. This team coordinates a comprehensive approach, optimizing the diagnosis, management, and treatment of those impacted by neurological disorders. Planning is underway for future multidisciplinary centers.
Department of Neuroscience
The Department of Neuroscience is the RNI’s intellectual hub for basic and foundational research and translational applications. Chair Randy J. Nelson, PhD, says, “Building a new home for brain research and education is an incredibly exciting opportunity. We’re linking interdisciplinary resources in imaginative and creative ways.”
As an example of nimble translation of animal research at the RNI, our team published papers showing the negative effects of dim light at night on animal recovery after stroke or cardiac arrest.
“By integrating neuroscience research with other disciplines, we can help patients, create novel opportunities for our staff and students, and provide economic benefits for our state,” says Dr. Nelson. “Working closely with our clinical colleagues to translate basic research rapidly to the clinic is a major goal of the new department.”
Department of Neurology
Neurological care spans many disciplines. “If we can better manage pain through the combination of neurological care, psychological therapies, and neuromodulation techniques, we will have a positive impact in preventing the development of substance abuse problems,” says David Watson, MD, department chair.
In addition to serving West Virginians, our goal is that the RNI becomes a hub of excellence and a national center where people come to get the neurological care they need.”
Department of Neurosurgery
Rapid growth in Neurosurgery is providing exciting possibilities for patients, according to Department Chair Mark Lee, MD, PhD, MBA. “We’re creating multidisciplinary options in areas such as epilepsy, chronic pain, interventional neuroradiology, movement disorders, and degenerative conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease,” says Dr. Lee. New approaches to patient care are bolstering the program’s growth, as experts in neurovascular, epilepsy, neuromodulation, pediatric neuroscience, and complex surgical techniques are pioneering novel treatments. “For an increasing number of patients, we are the destination to help with difficult, chronic neurological conditions,” says Dr. Lee.
Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry
The RNI’s Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry team offers the full range of services from inpatient and outpatient programs, residential treatment, satellite clinics, and tele-psychiatry to patients across the lifespan from young children to elderly adults. In addition to direct patient care, it extends the reach of quality behavioral health treatment into rural communities using remote video-based consultation and mentorship to local providers. Groundbreaking research conducted by the team includes harnessing the power of emerging technology to combat devastating brain disorders. Such research includes focused ultrasound, deep brain stimulation, and transcranial magnetic stimulation for opioid use disorder.
Department of Neuroradiology
The newest division of the RNI, the Department of Neuroradiology is the first such department based in an academic center in the United States. Our primary mission is to provide high quality and comprehensive Radiology services for the people of West Virginia. We promote, develop, and integrate advances in imaging technology and imaging based therapeutic procedures to complement the clinical, education, and research missions of WVU. We strive to pass on our knowledge through excellence in teaching and through service to our community.
The department is dedicated to providing state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging and performing research that will enhance the detection and treatment of disease. The effectiveness of this technology and research is reflected through the center’s stroke survival rate that is twice the national average, putting the department in the 98th percentile in the country.
Human Performance Center
Our team is committed to discovering, developing, and delivering world-class human performance research, technology, and tools to the scientific community and the populations we serve.
The team applies advanced data analytics to help predict outcomes for individuals and groups across populations. Improvement: Using advanced recovery research, the team is able to prescriptively apply modalities that build resiliency, enhance performance, and accelerate recovery both acutely and chronically through advanced recovery strategies. The RNI is currently working with every branch of the US Military in research and technology development aimed at optimizing the performance, safety, recovery and health of 30,000+ service members.
Judi’s Journey with Alzheimer’s
Neurological surgeons, neurologists, and neuropsychologists at the West Virginia University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute were the first in the world to use focused ultrasound to treat a patient with Alzheimer’s disease. Judi is the first patient to undergo the phase II clinical trial.