4/15/18

Carle neurology innovators gain Level 3 Epilepsy Center accreditation

Most people diagnosed with epilepsy find that a week spent at Carle’s Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) is worth every electrode, test and moment away from their daily life. Time spent in Carle’s EMU – one of the few such units in Illinois – helps Carle’s neurology team develop a clearer path for treating conditions marked by seizures and other complications that can occur without warning.

Graham Huesmann, MD, PhD, is a neurologist with a specialty focus in epilepsy care and has been a part of Carle Neuroscience Institute (CNI) for over four years. Since joining Carle, Dr. Huesmann has provided leadership for CNI’s epilepsy program and helped Carle Foundation Hospital achieve accreditation as a Level 3 Epilepsy Center from the National Association of Epilepsy Centers. The designation, four years in the making, recognizes Carle’s professional expertise, facilities and commitment to providing the highest level of medical evaluation and treatment for adults with complex epilepsy.

Accreditation as a Level 3 Epilepsy Center is rare. The only other hospitals in the state to achieve this designation are in Chicago, Peoria and Springfield.

Around-the-clock access to electroencephalogram (EEG) monitoring and Carle’s EMU served as key strengths in gaining the two-year accreditation, as did Dr. Huesmann’s epilepsy-focused fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital.

“Without the EMU, Dr. Huesmann and this team wouldn’t be able to care for our patients in the way they do,” said Luke Sullivan, Carle Neuroscience Institute vice president.

Time in the EMU focuses on monitoring the brain’s electrical activity to pinpoint where seizures happen so the patients and Carle team can work together to decide the best course of treatment.

“About one in 10 people will have a seizure during their lifetime, but seizures don’t always manifest in dramatic ways. Even seizures that manifest in small ways – like blinking eyes or pauses in conversation – do damage to precious brain tissue and functions,” Dr. Huesmann said.

“Our team employs advanced subspecialty training, clinical experience, research and collaboration to help people with epilepsy live the lives they want to live.”

Dr. Huesmann, a University of Illinois College of Medicine alumnus, now plays a key role in shaping the future of epilepsy care at the Carle Illinois College of Medicine, the world’s first engineering-based college of medicine. Recently added to the epilepsy team at Carle, Breyanna Grays, MD, completed her fellowship at Rush University in Chicago after medical school at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis.

“The relief we see on our patients’ faces is living proof of the difference epilepsy-focused care makes to mothers, fathers, teachers, restaurant owners and people from all walks of life in downstate Illinois,” Dr. Grays said.