Dr. Teshamae Monteith Elected President of Florida Society of Neurology
Dr. Monteith’s appointment is among the highlights for Miller School neurologists at the 2024 Florida Society of Neurology annual meeting.
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine neurology faculty took center stage at the Florida Society of Neurology meeting, January 5 and 6, in Orlando.
Teshamae Monteith, M.D., associate professor of clinical neurology and chief of the Headache Division in the Department of Neurology, assumed her elected position as president of the Florida Society of Neurology, a post she’ll hold for two years. Dr. Monteith also directed the educational program for this year’s meeting, at which Miller School neurology faculty were among the presenters.
It makes sense that the Miller School should play a big role in the society and annual meeting, according to Dr. Monteith.
“We have the largest neurology department in the state and are known for our care of patients—especially in South Florida,” she said. “We perform important, state-funded research, in addition to research and other leadership activities supported by national and international agencies and organizations. So, we’re stakeholders in the state and play a key role in serving people with both common and rare disorders across Florida.”
Dr. Monteith’s new leadership role is a testament to her excellence and recognition and reflects the impact that Miller School neurology faculty have regionally and nationally, according to Jose G. Romano, M.D., professor and interim chair of neurology, interim chief of service, neurology, for UM/Jackson Health System, and director, Comprehensive Stroke Program, UM/Jackson Memorial Hospital.
“Dr. Monteith’s appointment as president of the Florida Society of Neurology also reflects her commitment, and that of our department, to improving the neurological health of all Floridians,” Dr. Romano said.
Advocating for Florida Neurologists, Patient Care Through 2026
Dr. Monteith, the first president of the society from the University of Miami, served in several of the society’s leadership roles throughout the years and said she looks forward to impacting the community of Florida neurologists and their patients. These patients include Floridians suffering from stroke, epilepsy, movement disorders, headache and other common, life-altering conditions.
“Florida Society of Neurology is an established, respected organization with the ability to advocate for the needs of the state’s neurologists and patients,” she said. “Our goal is to make Florida one of the best places in the country for practicing neurology and for individuals suffering with neurologic disease.”
Her goals as president include advocating for support for Florida neurologists to address the specialty’s high burnout rate as well as provide opportunities for professional development and leadership. She aims to develop programs and initiatives that improve access to equitable and high-quality neurological care.
“I’ll also increase awareness of neurological disorders and their management in the Florida media, among policymakers and other stakeholders,” Dr. Monteith said. “And, as president, my aim is to assure that our society serves as a forum for neurology leaders, both program directors and department chairs, to support strategic initiatives for clinical, research and academic growth and development.”
Tackling Neurology’s Most Timely Topics
As education director of the recent annual meeting, Dr. Monteith said she set out to develop a program that addressed the biggest concerns on Florida neurologists’ minds.
Presenters, including those from the Miller School, presented three parallel sessions focused on stroke, neuropsychology and behavioral neurology, as well as general neurological disorders encompassing migraine, epilepsy, autoimmune disorders, traumatic brain injury, movement disorders and more.
“I outlined the impact of stroke on Florida’s population, as it is the fifth-leading cause of death. I talked about the pivotal role of the Florida Stroke Registry to measure, benchmark and improve stroke outcomes,” Dr. Gordon Perue said. “We also discussed the successes of the Florida Stroke Registry through its many collaborations, including improving door-to-needle times in the state and improving stroke defect-free care.”
Current Florida Stroke Registry initiatives that Dr. Gordon Perue described during the session included improving utilization of 911 for stroke emergencies, the Florida Stroke Registry hospital inventory survey examining various aspects of stroke program infrastructure and the registry’s transitions of stroke care projects.
Another member of the Miller School faculty, Corneliu Luca, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of clinical neurology, co-director of the Movement Disorders Fellowship and director of the Deep Brain Stimulation Program, presented hands-on workshop and didactics highlighting clinical indications of botulinum toxin with Dr. Monteith.
“During the didactic portion of the workshop, I spoke about the concept of migraine freedom and the use of neurotoxins in combination with other highly effective interventions, such as neuromodulatory devices and calcitonin gene-related peptide, or CGRP, inhibitors, to optimize outcomes,” Dr. Monteith said.
Dr. Luca also spoke about advances in movement disorders.
“During my update on movement disorders, I discussed new treatments approved for the past year, highlighting recently approved omaveloxolone for Friedreich’s ataxia, the investigational drug ecopipam for Tourette syndrome, subcutaneous use of the levodopa pump for Parkinson’s disease and ultrasound for essential tremor,” Dr. Luca said. “I also provided insights into the role of deep brain stimulation and focused ultrasound in the treatment of movement disorders.”
Erika Marulanda, M.D., M.S., associate program director of the Neurology Residency Program, presented on neurology and women’s health, with a focus on cerebrovascular disease.
“It’s crucial for neurologists to understand the bidirectional relationship of hormones and neurological disease throughout a women’s life cycle,” Dr. Marulanda said. “Neurologists should feel comfortable counseling women on the risks and benefits of hormonal use, including contraception, hormone replacement, assisted reproduction and gender-affirming therapy, and participate in shared decision-making with patients. I highlighted that adverse pregnancy outcomes, including gestational hypertension, preeclampsia and pregnancy loss, among others, are linked to increased risk in future cerebrovascular and cardiovascular disease. Thus neurologists have the opportunity to intervene, provide counseling and mitigate risk.”
Still other experts presented on such topics as brain health, artificial intelligence, myasthenia gravis and Parkinson’s disease. Ultimately, Dr. Monteith said she hopes more Florida neurologists become Florida Society of Neurology members to help advance the society’s mission and goals for the specialty and patients.