UConn Health this winter established New England’s first Cranial Nerve and Brainstem Disorder Program, bringing together a multidisciplinary team of experts to streamline care for patients with such conditions.
Led by esteemed neurosurgeon Dr. Ketan R. Bulsara and ear, nose, and throat specialist Dr. Daniel Roberts, the team collaborates with specialists from nearly a dozen departments and will encompass clinical care, research, and teaching.
“One of the core principles of patient care at UConn Health is a multidisciplinary approach to providing personalized care to optimize patient outcomes,” Bulsara says. “The Cranial Nerve and Brainstem Disorder Program extends that core principle by bringing together world-renowned experts in their fields. We are fortunate at UConn Health to have such an accomplished team across so many different specialties that is willing to work together to provide the best care for our patients.”
The program guarantees rapid evaluation of patients, regardless of whether they were diagnosed recently or long ago. Patients or practitioners can submit a request through the center referral portal, which is staffed by Bulsara and Roberts. For neurosurgical or ear, nose, and throat issues, the patient will be offered an initial evaluation appointment that is within a week of their request.
If the cranial nerve or brainstem issue is not related to the ear, nose, and throat or a neurosurgical issue, the physicians will connect the patient with the appropriate service.
“To have patients be able to access care in a very timely and expedited fashion is key,” Roberts says. “A patient can call us and we’ll say, ‘We’ll see you within a week’ to get the ball rolling and help direct them through this complicated process.”
Areas of care include acoustic neuromas; blood vessel problems including aneurysms, arteriovenous malformation, and cavernomas; brain tumors; hemifacial spasm; meningioma; neurofibromatosis; skull base tumors; trigeminal neuralgia; and taste and smell disorders.
“Brainstem and cranial nerve disorders are quite rare, and often require experts from different areas for complicated issues,” Roberts says. “We’re excited about the future of this.”
Care is offered at UConn Health’s Outpatient Pavilion in Farmington and at its community clinics in Southington and West Hartford.
Visit the Cranial Nerve and Brainstem Disorders Program website for more information.