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Vanderbilt Department of Neurology

General Neurology

CONSULTING PRACTICE

The Vanderbilt Neurology Consulting Practice is the general referral division of the Department of Neurology. The division’s physicians see patients who have unclear diagnoses, a general neurology problem of any type, and patients who have ongoing chronic neurological problems that require intervention in several different areas. They provide services ranging from diagnoses and medical treatment, to advice, counseling and ongoing patient care.

The Consulting Practice has experience with a breadth of neurological problems, and commonly provides consultation for stroke, seizures, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, inherited disorders of the nervous system, headache and other pain syndromes. Most often patients are referred for initial diagnosis of symptoms including passing out, paralysis, weakness, numbness, dizziness, visual loss, hearing loss, problems with speaking or swallowing, and memory loss.

Vanderbilt Consulting Neurologists help define the patient’s diagnosis and outline treatment options. Therapy with medication may be prescribed or recommended to the primary physician. Physical treatments, injections and medical devices, or referral for surgical treatment may be suggested, when appropriate.

In addition to patient care, the Neurology Consulting Practice is engaged in general, clinical research. Research studies involve clinical trials that deal with patient care issues – looking at medications and different types of treatments to improve outcomes for patients.

The division is also concerned with training the next generation of neurologists. Residents learn to diagnose and treat patients with varying levels of neurological problems, from mild to acute. The division also works with residents to develop the skills and knowledge needed to establish a successful neurology practice.

Faculty/ Staff

 

Danielle Cherdak, M.D>, is a board certified neurologist with special interest in dysautonomia.

Elizabeth Ferluga, M.D., has a special interest in movement disorders.

Heather Koons, M.D., is a board certified neurologist with special interest in movement disorders.

David Uskavitch, M.D., is a board certified neurologist with varied clinical interests. Dr. Uskavitch is Director of the Outpatient Clinic.

Judy Corfman, NP, has much experience in neurology as a nurse practitioner. She brings the special expertise of the nurse practitioner to bear on chronic illness. She functions under the direction of physicians in the general Neurology Division.

JoAnn Lundy, Secretary

Billie Rich, Secretary

The Neurology Consulting Practice
Vanderbilt University
3962 TVC
Nashville, TN 37232-5400

Appointments: (615)-936-0060

Information for Referring Physicians
Vanderbilt Neurologists in the Consulting Practice work closely with referring physicians to provide the optimum level of care to patients. When referring patients, it is important to provide Vanderbilt Neurologists with a complete set of medical records outliningprevious evaluations.

The Consulting Practice physicians then use the latest neurodiagnostic tools to provide the most accurate diagnosis, and relay this information to the referring physician. If possible, the division will refer their care back to the primary physician or will continue to work with the primary physician to assist in the management and care of the patient.

To refer a patient, please call (615)-936-0060. The Neurology Consulting Practice sees patients daily from 8 – 5.

For urgent care, referring physicians may contact neurologists via email or through the secretarial staff, and expedited care will be provided as needed.


Patient Care
Vanderbilt Consulting Neurologists are board certified and have years of clinical experience. They draw patients from Tennessee , Kentucky , Arkansas , Mississippi , Indiana and even overseas. The physicians understand that many patients have already been through multiple evaluations, and they work to make the process easier. By taking an individual approach and making an effort to explore the patient’s complete medical history, Vanderbilt Neurologists are dedicated to providing the highest level of care.

Before seeing the Neurologist
Prior to your visit, you should obtain all relevant medical record information about the problem you have. A questionnaire may be provided before or at the time of the office visit. This is in an effort to obtain all information that might relate to your problem. Please give the answers careful thought and complete the questionnaire fully. If you are on medication, please bring the medication bottles to the visit.

The Office Visit
The office visit will generally require about one hour or longer to complete, depending on the complexity of your problem. Based on the questionnaire, the Neurological nurses will obtain initial information about your reason for the visit, medications, past history and family history. Routine vital signs and standardized scales will be completed. These will be used as the starting point for review of your current problem. Please feel free to mention any item in your history, even if it seems irrelevant to your current problem. It is important that we know as much as possible about you and your other medical problems.

A Neurological examination will be performed. This is a painless procedure that evaluates all areas of the brain, spinal cord, nerves and muscles. The exam will probably include items unfamiliar to you from seeing other physicians. The exam involves more depth and detail than a standard physical exam and will take about a third of the visit time.

Following the exam, the problems will be summarized by the Neurologist and plans for further evaluation will be discussed. Additional tests, including CT scans, MRI scans, EEG, EMG and blood tests may be required to pin down the diagnosis. Please feel free to ask questions, but realize that the diagnosis may not be apparent after the first visit. Follow-up visits will usually be scheduled to review the test results, recommend further testing and evaluate the effectiveness of treatment.

It is important to discuss all of your concerns with the nurse or Neurologist. Laboratory results and x-ray reports are best discussed when all are available, and it is best done during a face-to-face office visit rather than over the phone. Pain medications would be obtained from your primary care physician. Neurological medications can be refilled by calling the office nurse during regular office hours. If you have an emergency, please call 911 or go to the emergency room nearest you.


Education
The Neurology Consulting Practice is dedicated to training future neurologists. Residents in the program are exposed to various clinical situations and work with Neurologists who have years of clinical experience. Residents garner knowledge of diagnosing and treating a wide range of neurological problems, from mild to acute.

The division also works with residents to develop the skills and knowledge needed to establish a successful neurology practice. A new teaching module will provide residents with insight into starting a practice, covering all aspects – economics, regulatory concerns, insurance companies, staff management – that make a clinic run smoothly. The program brings in speakers -- including attorneys, accountants, medical board representatives, and more -- to explain their respective areas of expertise. Upon completion of their training, residents should feel comfortable with the complexities of running a neurology practice.


Research
The Vanderbilt Neurology Consulting Practice is engaged in research to advance and improve the future care of neurology patients. The research conducted in this division is more general in nature and is concerned with clinical results.

Current research projects include a study evaluating treatment options for pain associated with peripheral neuropathy. In addition, there is an ongoing study to explore the treatment of pain associated with shingles.


Resources for Referring Physicians and Patients
Vanderbilt has created educational materials that provide information about the most common neurological problems. These materials will be made available to patients at their office visit but can be requested by phone or email, if desired. Specific information is available on stroke, headache, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and neuropathy.

 

Danielle Cherdak, M.D., has a special interest in autonomic disorders.

 

Elizabeth Ferluga, M.D., completed her residency in 2011, and has a special interest in movement disorders.

This page was last updated September 28, 2011 and is maintained by