Jersey Shore University Medical Center physicians receive Tourette education in just 90 minutes

Collaborative Partnerships for the Tourette Syndrome Community

Robert Zambrano, Psy.D., and the Kowalski family presented NJCTS’ Patient-Centered Medical Education Program to 40 medical professionals at a March 12 Grand Rounds

NEPTUNE, N.J. – In many cases, resident and practicing physicians at hospitals all over New Jersey have very little experience with Tourette Syndrome because scant attention is paid to the inherited, misdiagnosed, misunderstood neurological disorder during their time in medical school.

The 40 Jersey Shore University Medical Center residents and doctors attending the March 12 Grand Rounds Patient-Centered Medical Education (PCME) Program presented by the NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS), however, learned more about TS in 90 minutes than they had at any other point in their education process.

Presented by Robert Zambrano, Psy.D., and the Kowalski family, the Grand Rounds PCME offered a general overview of Tourette Syndrome, which affects 1 in 100 children and adults. Dr. Zambrano’s portion of the presentation discussed symptoms, diagnostic criteria, different treatment options and some common therapy-based treatments.

Photo by NJCTS

Robert Zambrano, Psy.D., presents the NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders’ Grand Rounds Patient-Centered Medical Education Program to resident and practicing physicians March 12 at Jersey Shore University Medical Center.

Fourteen-year-old Tess Kowalski then gave an honest, open assessment of what it is like to live with TS and cope with the diagnosis.

“Tourette Syndrome used to hold me back, but it doesn’t anymore because I’ve learned better how to handle it – thanks to my family, my doctors and the training I’ve received from the New

Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome,” said Tess Kowalski, who also discussed how Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) has affected her life. “My experience as a Youth Advocate has taught me that I wouldn’t trade the disorder at this point in my life for anything because it makes me who I am.”

Tess’ father, Tim Kowalski, then captivated the audience with a heart-wrenching account of what it is like to be a dad to two daughters – Tess’ sister Paige also has TS – struggling with a neurological disorder.

“I had many fears when they were first diagnosed, and I have fears now,” he said. “These fears have affected every aspect of my life, but through it all, I have learned as a father and we have learned as a family how to cope with Tourette Syndrome. But it is so vitally important for doctors to better understand this condition so that children and families come after us don’t have to endure the same type of fears.”

The goal of the Patient-Centered Medical Education program is to help residents and physicians enhance their understanding of the perspectives, stresses and needs of those with neurological disorders such as TS to improve patient encounters. NJCTS works with hospitals throughout New Jersey to present these education sessions. In addition to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, PCME presentations have been facilitated at the following hospitals:

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick

Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital in New Brunswick

Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Brunswick

Overlook Medical Center in Summit

JFK Medical Center in Edison

Goryeb Children’s Hospital in Morristown

Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick

Monmouth Medical Center in West Long Branch

Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark

CentraState Medical Center in Freehold

Cooper University Hospital in Camden

More information about the Patient-Centered Medical Education Program is available by calling 908-575-7350 or by visiting www.njcts.org.

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NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders, Inc. Collaborative partnerships for the TS community.