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Sean M. Healey & AMG Center for ALS
ALS research at Mass General
Members of our team at the ALS Multidisciplinary Clinic in the Healey Center for ALS at Mass General are specialists dedicated to helping people living with ALS. We provide specialized care, a focus on quality of life and tight integration of clinical care with cutting edge research and access to clinical trials.
Accepting New Patients
Darlene Sawicki, NP, Co-Director of MGH ALS Multidisciplinary Clinic and the nurse team are available to answer questions regarding health concerns or issues related to your care and to assist you with prescription refills.
Physical therapists Katherine Burke, PT, DPT, NCS and Amy Swartz PT, DPT work with patients to prolong mobility and function. Recommendations may include exercises, assistive devices, adaptive equipment and outpatient or homecare therapy.
Our clinic's respiratory therapist, Purris Williams, RRT, works with patients to evaluate breathing concerns, provide education about their respiratory issues and recommend supportive equipment.
An occupational therapist helps evaluate function and makes suggestions for skills that are essential for independent functioning, health and wellbeing.
Our clinic's speech language pathologists, Paige Nalipinski, MA, CLL, SLP and Stacey Sullivan, SLP specialize in working with ALS patients to evaluate any speech and swallowing issues that ALS might cause. They can also help arrange for communication devices.
Neuropalliative Care Physician
Dr. Brizzi joined the ALS Multidisciplinary Clinic in 2017 and provides Supportive Neurology and Palliative Care. She is dually trained in Neurology and Palliative Care, which is an approach to care that is appropriate at any stage of illness and focuses on helping patients live well. Her goal is to improve quality of life for both patients and their families. In her role in the ALS multidisciplinary clinic, Dr. Brizzi works together with the team to help collaborate on the treatment of patients' physical and emotional symptoms as well as to help support patients in navigating treatment choices.
Cara is a licensed clinical social worker with several years' experience in case management and patient support. Most recently, she spent over five years working as a Renal Social Worker in outpatient dialysis, providing a large and diverse patient population with both psychosocial and resource-based support. Before this she worked with a youth/family population at Shriners Hospital, and an elder population at Windsor House Adult Day Health in Cambridge. She is passionate about supporting patients managing chronic illnesses, and very excited to be joining the Neurology team at MGH.
Cara holds a Master's degree in Social Work from Boston College, and an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Bryn Mawr College. In her free time, she enjoys following the local sports teams (a Boston native!), cooking, photography, and travel.
Diane Lucente, MS, LCGC worked as a research technician investigating the genetic cause of neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental conditions for several years before training to become a Genetic Counselor, a role that she has filled for almost 20 years. For the past 12 years, she has been a Senior Research and Clinical Genetic Counselor in the MGH Center for Human Genetic Research and a member of the FTD and Clinical Genetic Units. She provides clinical care to patients and families with neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental conditions, including diagnostic testing for patients with symptoms and pre-symptomatic testing for individuals with a 50% chance of inheriting a genetic condition. She recently "officially" joined the NCRI, providing genetic counseling to ALS patients and their families who are participating in research. She continues to be actively involved in research to determine the genetic causes and modifiers of many neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative conditions.
Spiritual Care Provider
As the ALS Clinic chaplain, Joe Meekins provides our staff, patients and their families with spiritual and emotional support. He lives on the North Shore of Boston where he completed his Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Counseling at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in 2014 after graduating from Wheaton College, IL. He and his wife have a 1 year-old daughter named Everlee. He enjoys spending time with his family, serving at his church in Lexington, surfing and wood-working.
Meet our research leadership and faculty team at the Sean M. Healey and AMG Center for ALS at Mass General.
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