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  • Russell Butterfield, MD, PhD

    Department of Pediatrics and Department of Neurology, University of Utah, UT, USA

    Russell Butterfield is Associate Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Neurology at the University of Utah, UT, USA. After receiving his BS in microbiology from Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, he joined the Medical Scholars Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, IL, USA. He completed his PhD training in mammalian genetics, studying genetic aspects of organ-specific autoimmunity. After finishing medical school, he moved west to the University of Utah School of Medicine, where he completed training in pediatrics and child neurology, including a fellowship in neuromuscular disorders.

    Dr Butterfield’s clinical interests include neurogenetic and neuromuscular disorders, with an emphasis on muscular dystrophies of childhood onset. His research interests are in understanding genetic aspects of these disorders. His current work is focused on newborn screening for SMA and understanding genetic modifiers of severity in various types of muscular dystrophy including Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), and collagen VI-related muscular dystrophies.

  • Thomas Crawford, MD

    MDA Clinic for Neuromuscular Disorders and Ataxia Telangiectasia Clinical Center, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD, USA

    Tom Crawford, MD, received his medical degree from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA. He completed a pediatric internship and residency at the Pediatric Pavilion of the Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Medical Center, followed by a pediatric chief residency. He completed his training in neurology with a special qualification in child neurology at the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital; he then traveled east to the laboratory of Dr John Griffin at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, ML, USA, for a fellowship in neuromuscular disorders. Prior to medical training Dr Crawford had majored in psychology and religion at Yale College, Newhaven, CT, USA.

    Dr Crawford has been a member of the Department of Neurology at Johns Hopkins since 1987, and is currently co-director of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Clinic for Neuromuscular Disorders and a neurologist at the Ataxia Center. His practice involves general child neurology, with a principal interest in caring for children with neuromuscular, neuromotor, and ataxic disorders. His primary research interests involve the basic science and clinical characterization of two important neurologic disorders that affect children: spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and ataxia telangiectasia. He is also actively involved in the biology of neurofilaments by characterization of transgenic animal models.

    Dr Crawford is on the medical and scientific advisory boards of Cure SMA, and on the medical advisory committee for the MDA. The Ataxia Center at Johns Hopkins has evaluated almost half of the known patients with ataxia telangiectasia in the USA. Additional specific clinical interests include evaluation and treatment of children with brachial plexus palsies, and he has a special interest and experience in electromyography studies in children and adults. Dr Crawford has published extensively and presented nationally and internationally, and plays an active role in teaching medical students and residents in neurology.


  • Richard S. Finkel, MD

    Richard S. Finkel, MD is Chief of the Division of Neurology at Nemours Children's Hospital, and Professor of Neurology at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine in Orlando, Florida. He received his medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and completed his pediatrics, neurology and neuromuscular training at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. Dr Finkel held positions at the Children’s Hospital Colorado and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia before starting his current position in Orlando in 2012. His clinical practice and research interests have focused on pediatric neuromuscular disorders, especially spinal muscular atrophy, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, inherited neuropathies and neurometabolic disorders. Dr Finkel has participated in numerous clinical trials, natural history genotype-phenotype studies and the development of standard-of-care guidelines; and has contributed to the development of outcome measures, clinical trial design, and biomarker identification for neuromuscular disorders. He has published over 150 peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters. He is an associate editor of two neuromuscular journals and a co-editor of the Swaiman pediatric neurology textbook. Dr Finkel delivered the Bengt Hagberg memorial lecture in 2017 and received the Sidney Carter Award in Child Neurology from the American Academy of Neurology in 2018 for his work in spinal muscular atrophy.

  • Julie A. Parsons, MD

    University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado, Aurora, CO, USA

    Dr. Julie Parsons is Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Neurology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, CO, USA. She also holds the Haberfeld Family Endowed Chair in Pediatric Neuromuscular Disorders and is Co-director of the neuromuscular clinic at Children’s Hospital Colorado. She was awarded her MD from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in 1989. This was followed by residencies in pediatrics and child neurology as well as a fellowship in neuromuscular medicine at the University of Colorado. Dr. Parsons held the position of Residency Training Program Director and has an enduring interest in medical education.

    Dr. Parsons’ clinical interests include a wide range of neuromuscular diseases, such as muscular dystrophies, spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), and myotonic dystrophies. She is an active participant and principal investigator for many clinical trials.

    Dr Parsons was named a Career Teaching Scholar in 2017. She is the recipient of several awards including the Patient Family Experience Five Star Excellence Award in 2013 and 2018, the Show of Strength Award from the Muscular Dystrophy Association in 2013, US News and World Report Best Doctor 2012 to 2018, and the 5280 Top Doctor in Denver Award in for fifteen years. Dr. Parsons is a member of the Child Neurology Society, American Academy of Neurology, Professors of Child Neurology, and the World Muscle Society.


Faculty Welcome

Richard Finkel, MD
Nemours Children’s Hospital
Orlando, FL



Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)

Spinal Muscular Atrophy

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