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New Jersey teens headed to Yale to talk Tourette with resident physicians

The New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS) and its renowned Patient-Centered Medical Education (PCME) Program will take center stage during a”Tourette Syndrome Youth Advocates: A Patient-Centered Education Model in Action” grand rounds presentation at 1 p.m. Tuesday, October 8, at the Yale School of Medicine.

Giving the presentation — a collaboration between NJCTS, the Yale School of Medicine and Yale Continuing Medical Education — will be NJCTS Education Outreach Coordinator Melissa Fowler, MA, MEd; Stuart Green, DMH, LCSW, the associate director of the Family Medicine Training Program at Overlook Medical Center in Summit, N.J.; and three NJCTS peer advocates: 18-year-old Grace Hawruk, 14-year-old Tess Kowalski and 14-year-old Tommy Licato, each of whom has presented multiple PCME grand rounds over the past several years.

Patient-Centered Medical Education is a unique education program for pediatric and family medicine physicians and residents that provides an opportunity to hear directly from adolescents/young adults with Tourette Syndrome and their families. It fosters an understanding of the perspectives, stresses and needs of families living with TS and associated disorders such as OCD, ADHD and anxiety.

The PCME grand rounds format features a discussion led by adolescents/young adults with TS and their families that is augmented by an experienced medical clinician. The learning objectives include identifying and differentiating between the signs and symptoms of patients with varying tic disorder; describing and identifying the most common associated conditions in individuals with TS; giving the latest advances and comprehensive approaches for treatment for individuals with tic disorder; and presenting a patient-centered perspective of life with TS.

The PCME program has been presented at more than a dozen New Jersey hospitals over the past several years and has drawn a wide array of praise, including the following testimonials from Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J.; Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, N.J.; and Goryeb Children’s Hospital in Morristown, N.J.:

“The attendees gained valuable insight into Tourette Syndrome and came away with a dramatically expanded perspective on the difficulties patients and their families face. I would strongly recommend that you consider scheduling this type of grand rounds at your institution.” — Saint Peter’s

“It was great to learn about the day-to-day life experiences directly from the patient. Both Tommy and Sarah were bright, honest, articulate and courageous young adults. No one left the session unaffected.” — Newark Beth Israel

“Their ability to relate personal struggles and how physicians can improve their skills was well appreciated. It was refreshing to see two young men maintain a sense of humor with what is clearly a life-altering condition.” — Goryeb

More information about Tourette Syndrome, Patient-Centered Medical Education or the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders is available by calling 908-575-7350 or by visiting www.njcts.org.

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