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02.20.2018 | Other

Taking the First Step in Enhancing Care for Canadians Managing Movement Disorder Dystonia Clinical Fellowship is Announced

TORONTO, ON – February 20, 2018 – The Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) Canada, in partnership with Allergan Canada, is pleased to announce the selection of the candidate for the first-ever Clinical Fellowship for Movement Disorders, with a specialty in dystonia: Karlo J. Lizarraga, M.D, M.S., of the Movement Disorders Centre, University of Toronto at Toronto Western Hospital. This is a one-year Fellowship intended to support the training of exceptionally qualified individuals in preparation for their clinical career in movement disorders, with a focus on dystonia and a special competence in the use of botulinum toxins.

Dr. Lizarraga has demonstrated an outstanding interest and commitment to the movement disorder community. Dr. Tony Lang, Director of the Movement Disorders Center at the Toronto Western Hospital, University of Toronto, who will serve as Dr. Lizarraga’ s mentor for this Fellowship said; “Dr. Lizarraga demonstrated a remarkable dedication and enthusiasm that we have rarely seen in even the strongest fellowship candidates.”

DMRF Canada is delighted to be able to award our first Fellowship to someone with Dr. Lizarraga’ s passion and expertise. “We know that proper evaluation by a movement disorder neurologist can make a significant difference in the treatment options available to dystonia patients and the corresponding benefit from treatment, and that is why we were so excited to announce this opportunity last year said Stefanie Ince, Executive Director, DMRF Canada. “Our hope when we partnered with Allergan Canada to launch this important initiative was that we would find a suitable candidate, but certainly Dr. Lizarraga’ s dedication to the movement disorder community – combined with the mentorship team that he has supporting him at Toronto Western who will be overseeing this Fellowship has exceeded our expectations”.

Dystonia is a neurological condition characterized by persistent or sporadic muscle contractions, causing abnormal repetitive movements or postures, at times resembling a tremor. Depending on the severity of the condition, patients are faced with varying degrees of disability or pain.

“I’m honored to be the recipient of the first ever Clinical Fellowship for Movement Disorders with a speciality in dystonia” said Dr. Lizarraga. “I look forward to working with a world-class team of physicians, nurses and research staff at the Movement Disorders Clinic at the Toronto Western Hospital, where I will learn from leaders in the field. I hope to become proficient in the diagnosis of dystonia, including the performance of electrophysiological studies, as well as in the art of treating this condition with botulinum toxin injections and/or deep brain stimulation.”

Dr. Lizarraga’ s publications even prior to formal residency training are a testament to his interest in movement disorders, and specifically - dystonia. As a volunteer in the Department of Functional Neurosurgery at the University of California Los Angeles, he participated in deep brain stimulation surgeries and programming, and went on to co-author his first book chapter on the “Applications of Nanotechnology in Movement Disorders”. During residency, he continued to foster his academic interests with additional experience and education in clinical research, which translated into several national and international presentations and publications. He is currently a board-certified neurologist and clinical neurophysiologist. “I will try my best for this DMRF Canada award to be beneficial for other clinicians, for the scientific community and most importantly for our patients.”

“We’re thrilled to continue demonstrating our support to the Canadian movement disorder community. By working together, we hope to help identify new opportunities to enhance patient care. We know it’s critical to encourage and support the growth of individuals who wish to focus on dystonia research or clinical care. As a collaborative partner, we are proud to support the DMRF Canada in establishing a fellowship for dystonia,” said Dr. Carmen Enciu, Chief Medical Officer, Allergan Canada.

DMRF Canada and Allergan Canada are certain this Fellowship is a positive step for the movement disorder community, and dystonia patients alike, and look forward to working with Dr. Lizarraga and his colleagues at Toronto Western Hospital to ensure he has the best level of training available, ultimately benefiting the 50,000 patients who are suffering from dystonia in Canada.

About the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) Canada

The Dystonia Medical Research Foundation was founded in 1976 by Samuel and Frances Belzberg of Vancouver, after their daughter was diagnosed with generalized dystonia. The mission of the DMRF Canada is to advance research for more treatments and ultimately a cure; to promote awareness and education; and to support the needs and well being of affected individuals and families. DMRF Canada is a registered non-profit Canadian charity governed by a volunteer Board of Directors.

About Allergan plc

Allergan plc (NYSE: AGN), headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, is a bold, global pharmaceutical company and a leader in a new industry model – Growth Pharma. Allergan is focused on developing, manufacturing and commercializing branded pharmaceutical, device, biologic, surgical and regenerative medicine products for patients around the world.

Allergan markets a portfolio of leading brands and best-in-class products for the central nervous system, eye care, medical aesthetics and dermatology, gastroenterology, women’s health, urology and anti-infective therapeutic categories.

Allergan is an industry leader in Open Science, a model of research and development, which defines our approach to identifying and developing game-changing ideas and innovation for better patient care. With this approach, Allergan has built one of the broadest development pipelines in the pharmaceutical industry.

Allergan’s success is powered by our global colleagues’ commitment to being Bold for Life. Together, we build bridges, power ideas, act fast and drive results for our customers and patients around the world by always doing what is right.

With commercial operations in approximately 100 countries, Allergan is committed to working with physicians, healthcare providers and patients to deliver innovative and meaningful treatments that help people around the world live longer, healthier lives every day.

For more information, visit Allergan’s website at

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