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ALS Clinic

We are the only clinic of its kind in the region, we serve as a one-stop-shop of highly experienced providers in the field. Our team is committed to improving quality of life and delivering the highest quality care to patients with motor neuron diseases.

Hear Dr. Gwathmey talk about our ALS clinic and what makes it special.

Multidisciplinary and comprehensive care for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease)

We provide comprehensive care to patients with ALS and other motor neuron diseases. Our multidisciplinary team is an experienced and dedicated team of experts in neurology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, nutrition, respiratory therapy, social work, research, nurse navigation and genetic counseling to help you along your journey.

In addition to becoming the patient’s “home base” as they navigate the disease, our clinic provides disease-specific treatments and symptom management. We assist with obtaining necessary equipment and setting up additional therapies.

Access to clinical trials and resources

As a Northeast ALS Consortium (NEALS) clinic, it is a priority to provide clinical trial opportunities to our patients. We also partner with the ALS Association and Muscular Dystrophy Association to connect our patients to appropriate resources.

Clinical Trials

Fortitude-ALS
FORTITUDE-ALS is a Phase 2, double-blind, randomized, dose-ranging, placebo-controlled, parallel group study of reldesemtiv in patients with ALS. Reldesemtiv is a troponin activator that is designed to make weak muscles contract more forcefully. Reldesemtiv is an oral medication.
https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03160898?term=Fortitude&cond=ALS&draw=2&rank=1

Healey Platform Trial
The Healey Platform Trial tests several promising ALS therapeutics in parallel under a master clinical trial protocol. This platform allows more access to clinical trials, more options for patients, less patients receive placebo, and helps find an effective treatment sooner than traditional clinical trials. VCU Health will be participating in the Pridopidine study. This is an oral, sigma-1 receptor agonist that increases motor neuron survival.
Learn more about then Healey Platform Trial.

ALS/MND Natural History Consortium
The ALS/MND Natural History Consortium is conducting a natural history study at 10 academic centers in the United States and Europe. Over 1,500 people living with ALS are currently enrolled in this study.
Learn more about the ALS/MND Natural History Consortium

Primary Lateral Sclerosis Natural History Study
VCU will be participating in the Primary Lateral Sclerosis (PLS) Natural History Study. This study will study the disease progression of patients with PLS.

No clinicaltrials.gov posting yet.

Learn about Harper's Hope - our program to expand access and resources for Virginians living with ALS.

Support group | 4th Thursday of the month

Our ALS support group is a place to gather together as people with a shared experience. Together, we provide an opportunity to share encouragement, comfort, and advice from a variety of voices with the intention of supporting our patients and families throughout their journey with ALS.

Call (804) 360-4669 or (804) 828-0856 to schedule an appointment.

Meet Our Team

Kelly Gwathmey, MD, Chair Neuromuscular Medicine Division; Assistant Professor, Dept. of Neurology
Michelle Gebhardt, Nurse Navigator
Paula Brockenbrough, Respiratory Therapist
Rebecca Rhodes, Registered Dietitian
Kiera Berggren, Speech Language Pathologist
Amanda Butler, Physical Therapist
Kathryn “May” Gallanosa, Neuromuscular Nurse Practitioner
Kate Roberts, Occupational Therapist
Ashley Moneymaker, Occupational Therapist
Anne Shields, Social Worker
LaVon Smith, Clinical Research Coordinator
Chelsea Chambers, Genetic Counselor

Upcoming Events

Sedona Taphouse- Midlothian Dine Out For Charity
In the month of June, Sedona Taphouse-Midlothian will support our ALS program. Through their ‘Dine Out for Charity’ program, for every ‘Dine Out’ plate sold on Mondays during lunch and dinner- both dine-in and To-Go orders- at least $1 will be donated to our Harper’s Hope Fund for ALS.

Main Street Homes Charity Golf Tournament
For the fifth consecutive year, Main Street Homes is once again hosting their golf tournament to benefit Harper’s Hope! The event will take place at Brandermill on October 25th. More details can be found by visiting the event page. You can also view the past tournament's event story on the MCV Foundation's website.

Harper's Hope Funded Projects

VCU ALS Educational Symposium
September 19, 2020

On September 19, we hosted our first ever ALS Symposium. Due to COVID, we needed to move this to a virtual event, but still had strong attendance. The symposium provided a day-long series of lectures on the management of ALS. Attendees included patients, caregivers, donors, prospects and also local nurses, home health agencies, respiratory therapists, PT, and OT.

Visit the conference website 

This event was partially funded by Harper’s Hope and allows us to further our educational mission.

Embodied Empathy Research Project
Supported in part by Harper’s Hope, Embodied Empathy was a multi-faceted virtual reality embodiment and performance project by VCUarts faculty members John Henry Blatter, an installation artist, and Jill B. Ware, a dance artist.

The team, in collaboration with the Department of Neurology, created three embodiment virtual reality (EVR) experiences with three Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) patients. These EVR experiences provided caregivers, families, and staff the chance “to be in the shoes” of the three ALS patients. The EVR ALS experiences focuses on ALS participants, their families, and caretakers. This illustrates Harper’s Hope mission to research.

View photos from the event 

ALS Grocery Support Program
In April 2021, VCU Health’s ALS Clinic launched a grocery support program for our patients, utilizing Harper’s Hope funds!

During the pandemic, accessing groceries became difficult and more expensive for everyone. That problem was compounded for ALS patients and their families. Every patient was given the opportunity to request either a $100 gift card to Kroger, Publix, Food Lion, Instacart or Shipt. The response from our patients was overwhelmingly positive. This illustrates Harper’s Hope mission to further expand clinical care.