Sierra Farris, PA-C

Director Deep Brain Stimulation Services

My career as a physician assistant in neurology focuses on the care of people living with movement disorders and deep brain stimulation. My work has been predominantly in a team environment along side neurology and neurosurgery specialists resulting in extensive experience in medical therapies, deep brain stimulation research and rehabilitation for individuals with movement disorders. My expertise in troubleshooting DBS problems or failures grew substantially while working at the Cleveland Clinic with a team of renown leaders in DBS surgery and research. Now after treating over 1000 patients with DBS since the year 2000, I have seen what was once a treatment of last resort become a treatment considered as part of the standard of care. My experience in neurology coupled with a background in exercise and fitness has fostered an integrative and seamless approach enhancing patient outcomes through a combination of patient empowerment, expert medical care and translating research into clinical care. During my time at the Cleveland Clinic, I studied philosophy and bioethics and earned a second master’s degree in Philosophy. Hobbies include moutaineering, cycling, and trail running.

Philosophy of Care:

There is both an art and science in caring for people living with a chronic progressive disease that can impact every moment of their lives. With any chronic condition the body continues to age and the importance of Exercise is Medicine becomes increasingly important. Taken together, my background as a health and exercise specialist has complimented my clinical skills as a physician assistant in providing the highest quality of care and life-style education for my patients. Empowering others to reconsider their perceived limitations has led to great satisfaction in my role in the care of individuals living with chronic neurological conditions.

Education:

2011     Master of Arts in Philosophy concentration in Bioethics, Cleveland State University

2001     Master of Science in PA Studies concentration in Neurology, University of Nebraska

1998     Bachelor of Science Physician Assistant Studies, State University of New York Stony Brook

1992     Certificate Clinical Laboratory Science, University of Louisville, Kentucky

1991     Bachelor of Science Medical Technology, Western Kentucky University of Louisville

1982     Associate Science in Business Management, University of Kentucky

Certifications:

2010     Clinical Exercise Specialist, American College of Sports Medicine

2010     Health Fitness Specialist, American College of Sports Medicine

1998     Physician Assistant by National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants

1988     Health Fitness Instructor, American College of Sports Medicine

1983     Group Exercise Leader, American College of Sports Medicine

Clinical Interest and Expertise:

Neurology, Movement disorders, Deep Brain Stimulation, Rehabilitation, Medical Fitness, Exercise Research, Bioethics

Professional Affiliations:

2014     Assistant Clinical Professor and Clinical Instructor, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver Colorado

2011     Medical Faculty, Parkinson’s Comprehensive Education Consortium, Toledo, OH

2008     Teaching Associate Neurological Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Community Appointments:

2011     Board Member, Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation, Seattle, WA

Awards and Honors:

2007      University of New York Stony Brook, Physician Assistant Alumni of the Year

2007     Paragon Award for exemplary teamwork in medicine, by the American Academy of  Physician Assistants.

2006      Cleveland Clinic Shining Star Award for outstanding PA-MD team of the year.

Patents:

Systems and Methods for Treating Medical Conditions by Stimulation of Medial Thalamic Region United States Patent SN 11/871.727, Issued October 12, 2007; Inventors: Sierra Farris, Cleveland Clinic, Patent held by several investigators

Online Patient and Professional Education

Faculty – PD in the Crossfire 2011 and 2012

Chairperson – Counseling Points 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

Selected Publications:

Monique Giroux, MD and Sierra Farris, PAC Every Victory Counts: An Essential Guide for Living Well with Parkinson’s disease. Davis Phinney Foundation; 2009

Life with a Battery-Operated Brain: A Patient’s Guide to Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery for Parkinson’s Disease, Langdon Street Press, 2009 – 150 pages 2009; Author: Jackie Hunt Christensen, Contributor:  Sierra Farris

Farris S, Giroux ML, Vitek J. Safety and efficacy of rivastigmine in Parkinson’s disease patients with dementia, a retrospective review. Movement Disorders 2004, S274.

Lee JYK, Machado A, Deogaonkur M, Kubu C, Farris S, Giroux M, Vitek J, Rezai A: Thalamic Deep Brain Stimulation for Tourette’s Syndrome. International Society of Reconstructive Neurosurgery, Seoul, South Korea, September 1-3, 2005.

Farris S , Giroux, ML. Gait changes after Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson’s Disease in a patient with cervical myelopathy. Neurorehabilitation 2008: Vol 23, No. 3 :263-265.

Rueda-Acevedo, M; Farris, S; Senatus, P; Giroux, ML. Controlling dyskinesias in Parkinson’s disease patients with STN DBS.  A new programming strategy.  American Academy of Neurology 2007.

Farris S, Giroux ML. Self-reported change in review of systems post bilateral subthalamic deep brain stimulation. Movement Disorders Conference, Chicago, 2008

Farris S, Zylstra A, Giroux ML: Change in exertional O2 saturation with deep brain stimulation in Parkinson’s disease. Movement Disorders Conference, Chicago, 2008

Giroux, ML, Farris, S. An Analysis of Hope and Wellness in various stages of Parkinson’s disease, World Parkinson’s Congress, 2008

Farris S, Giroux ML . Every Victory Counts: A patient centered self-management guide to enhance Parkinson’s QOL, World Parkinson’s Congress, 2008

Giroux ML, Farris, S.  Treating Parkinson’s disease: The impact of different care models on quality of life.  Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation 2008: 24:83-89.

Farris, S, Giroux ML. Deep brain stimulation hardware complications: The Role of Electrode Impedance Measurements. Movement Disorders 2008: Vol 23, Issue 5: 755-760.

Farris S, Ford P, DeMarco J, Giroux ML.  Deep Brain Stimulation and the Ethics of Protection and Caring for the Patient with Parkinson’s Dementia. Movement disorders. Volume 23, Issue 14, pages 1973–1976, 30 October 2008

Giroux, ML and Farris, SM. Patient Centered Care: Taking an Active Role. Parkinson’s Report Official Journal of the National Parkinson’s Foundation. 2009, 20,1, 2-4.

Giroux, ML and Farris SM. Basic aspects of deep brain stimulation programming in Parkinson’s disease. Editor: Mauricio Rueda Acevedo, MD and Luz Jaqueline Ruiz, MD. Assoc Colombiana de Neurologia, Chapter 27 Parkinson’s Disease: Update and Review, ISBN: 978-958-99088-2-2;2009.

Giroux, ML and Farris, SM.  Lead Wire Fracture associated with Normal Electrode Impedance Measurements in a Patient with a Kinetra neurostimulator. Neuromodulation Volume 13, Issue 1, pages 65–67, January 2010

Farris S, Giroux ML. Deep brain stimulation, A review of the procedure and the complications. Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, Review Article, February 14, 2011

Farris S, Gianola F. Ethical issues surrounding deep brain stimulation in Parkinson’s disease, Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, Feature Article, February 19, 2009

Widge AS, Agarwal P, Giroux M, Farris S, Hebb AO, Kimmel RJ. “Psychosis from Subthalamic Nucleus Deep Brain Stimulator Lesion Effect.” Surgical Neurology International; 4:7, 2013.

Farris S, Giroux ML. Retrospective Review of Factors Leading to Dissatisfaction with STN DBS during Long-term Management. 4:69,2013.

Michael H. Pourfar, Alon Y. Mogilner, Sierra Farris, Monique Giroux, Yufan Zhao, Hemant Bokil, Mark C. Pierre. The Graphical User Interface for DBS Evaluation (GUIDE) study explored whether a visual programming system could help clinicians accurately predetermine the ideal settings for stimulation in patients who received Deep Brian Stimulation (DBS) for management of their Parkinson’s disease. International Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Congress Abstract 2013

Michael H. Pourfar, Alon Y. Mogilner, Maria Gillego, Sierra Farris, Monique Giroux, Yufan Zhao, Hemant Bokil, Mark C. Pierre. Model Based Deep Brain Stimulation Programming for Parkinson’s Disease; The GUIDE Pilot Study, Submitted to Journal of Neurosurgery 2013. 


Research:

INTREPID – Deep brain stimulation for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease 2014; Sub-Investigator, Programmer

An analysis of Hope and Wellness throughout the stages of Parkinson’s disease 2010-2011; Sub-Investigator

Deep Brain Stimulation Troubleshooting Outcomes Project 2011-2012; Principle Investigator

Target Location of DBS (TARGET): A Retrospective Observational Study 2010 to 2010; Principle Investigator: Intelect Medical

TEVA PM 102 Investigation of the Occurrence of Serotonin Toxicity in PD patients treated concomitantly with Rasagiline and Antidepressants, Retrospective Review 2009 to 2010; Principle Investigator

Graphical User Interface for DBS Evaluation Software Study (GUIDE), 12 Month Software Evaluation 2009 to 2010; A Software Evaluation Study Version 1.0. Intellect, Inc. Evaluate the effectiveness of a computerized software system incorporating a mathematical model of stimulation efficacy for patients with Parkinson’s disease and Deep Brain StimulationPrinciple Investigator: Intelect Medical

Open-Label, 6-12 Month Safety and Efficacy Study of Levodopa-Carbidopa Intestinal Gel in Levodopa Responsive Subjects with Advanced Parkinson’s Disease 2008 to 2010; Co-Investigator: Solvay Pharmaceuticals Protocol S187.3.004,

Multi-center, double blind, randomized, placebo controlled, parallel group, induction study to assess the clinical effect of droxidopa in subjects with primary autonomic failure 2009 to 2010; Co-Investigator: Chelsea Therapeutics Protocol 301,

Using fMRI to Predict Therapeutic Response to DBS in Patients with Parkinson’s disease 2006 to 2007; Co-Investigator: Cleveland Clinic,

Electrical Stimulation of the Thalamic Intralaminar Nuclei (ILN) for Treatment of the Minimally Conscious State, 2005 to 2007; Co-Investigator: Cleveland Clinic, Cornell, JFK Rehabilitation Institute,

Pilot Study for Deep Brain Stimulation for Medically Refractory Tics in Adults with Tourette’s syndrome, 2005 to 2006; Co-Investigator: Cleveland Clinic,

CERE-120; Randomized, Double-Blind, Sham Surgery-Controlled Study of CERE-120 (Adeno-Associated Virus Serotype 2 [AAV2]-Neurturin [NTN]) to Assess the Efficacy and Safety of Bilateral Intraputaminal (IPu) Delivery in Subjects with Idiopathic Parkinson’s Disease. 2006 to 2007; Coordinator: Ceregene, Cleveland clinic,

 A randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled, parallel-group clinical trial to examine the efficacy and safety of early Pramipexole treatment versus delayed Pramipexole treatment in patients with new onset Parkinson’s disease, 2006 to 2007; Clinical Rater: Boehinger Ingelheim,


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