Women’s Neurology Spotlight

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A women’s life course is complicated and can be further challenged by managing a chronic neurological disease. There are some specific considerations which start in adolescence and young adulthood as a women with migraines or seizures considers the safest contraception options. If a woman desires to conceive, pre-conception counseling is very important to consider the safety and monitoring of conditions and medications prior to pregnancy and during her gestation. As she considers delivery of her baby, her neurological disease needs to be considered to achieve the safest delivery option for mom and baby. In the post-partum period and lactation, there is the safety of restarting of medications and monitoring. As a woman moves beyond her reproductive years and into a post-menopausal phase of life, neurological diseases can change and need monitoring.

Dr. Amy Hessler is a national leader in the field of Women’s Neurology. Dr. Hessler is a triple boarded neurologist: Neurology, Clinical Epilepsy and Headache Medicine. Her passion is Women’s Neurology and career goal, in conjunction with her nationally mentors, is to develop Women’s Neurology into a recognized subspecialty within neurology. In the social media space, Dr. Hessler is the co-founder of the Women Neurologists Group which has grown to 3900 women neurologist around the world.

Dr. Hessler relocated from Lexington, Kentucky where she was an Associate Professor of Neurology and Clerkship Director at the University of Kentucky for the last 12 years. She established an Obstetrical Neurology Clinic integrated in the obstetrics clinic for several years before leaving Kentucky. Dr. Hessler attended medical school at Nova Southeastern College of Osteopathic Medicine then completed two years of Internal Medicine residency before transitioned to a neurology residency at Tufts Medical Center followed by a Clinical Neurophysiology fellowship at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Hessler is very involved in the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) as a named fellow and as the former Women’s Issues in Neurology section chair. Currently she is a national subcommittee chair and serves on two national committees. At the national AAN meeting, she has severed as the course director for Case Studies in Pregnancy. Dr. Hessler is thrilled to join the excellent team at Universal Neurological Care (UNC) and to join Dr. Syed Asad in caring for individuals with neurological disease across Northeast Florida. UNC offers a very unique expertise to Jacksonville and the surrounding communities while still
offering the highest level of general neurological care to patients. Dr. Syed Asad is the founder of Universal Neurological Care and is one of two physicians in the greater Jacksonville area who is board certified in brain injury and takes pride in providing meticulous care to brain injury patients and helping them return to baseline function. Additionally, Dr. Asad trained at Harvard medical school in Nuclear medicine and is board certified in that area. If a clinical diagnosis of brain injury is made, additional diagnostic testing with objective state of the art modalities are used in the clinic and is coordinated by Zlatan Pecar RN who specializes in running these diagnostic tests by an extremely standardized

The UNC team also includes Dr. Georgia Gianakakos, a triple board certified Epileptologist who interprets all of the electroencephalograms (EEGs). Additionally, UNC employs highly qualified technicians and therapists to best serve patients. The associate providers, Angelo Cappobianco, PA-C, Mollie Wolfe PA and Kenneth Ryan DNP complement the UNC team in providing timely, meticulous and compassionate care to neurologic patients.

Dr. Kendra Cagniart will join UNC in fall 2023. Dr. Cagniart is board certified in neurology and Headache Medicine. She is transitioning from serving as a Navy neurologist over the last 11 years and 4 years in the Air Force. Dr. Cagniart looks forward to joining the greater Jacksonville community and helping patients understand and treat their neurological conditions. At Universal Neurological Care, we look forward to best serving patients with neurological disease. Dr. Hessler looks forward to working in close collaboration with specialists across specialties including, but not limited to, obstetricians and maternal fetal health specialists, women’s health and obstetrical anesthesiologists to best serve women in Northeast Florida across a women’s life span.

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