Chantale Branson, MD


Chantale Branson, MD

Name of Institution:

Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA

Project Title:

Understanding racial demographics of Parkinson’s disease among African Americans

Investigator Bio:

Dr. Branson is an Assistant Professor of Neurology in the Department of Internal Medicine at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. Her research interests include understanding and improving health disparities among African Americans with Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Dr. Branson is a medical graduate of Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts.  She completed her residency training in Neurology and subspecialty training in Movement disorders and Sleep Medicine at Boston University Medical Center.


To understand the prevalence of PD at a safety-net hospital, which may provide a more accurate prevalence ratio of African Americans with PD.


Early identification and optimal management of PD are crucial to preventing morbidity and mortality. Previous studies have shown racial disparities in the diagnosis and treatment of PD, with people of African descent having delayed diagnosis, more severe symptoms at the time of diagnosis, inadequate treatment, and worse clinical outcomes compared to their Caucasian counterparts. While the impact of disparities in PD is defined, the etiology of the differences is not well understood.

Morehouse School of Medicine focuses on providing care to medically-underserved populations, particularly African Americans at Morehouse Healthcare and Grady Memorial Hospital, a large safety-net hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. Understanding the factors that affect the diagnosis of PD in a large African American population will provide additional data on the etiology of disparities and the prevalence of PD in this population.


We will establish the first comprehensive PD database from patients at Morehouse Healthcare and within the Grady Memorial Health System.  We will obtain data from electronic medical records of patients seen at these healthcare facilities. We will also establish an educational program for patients.

Relevance to Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson’s disease:

Establishing a database geared toward African Americans will help determine factors that may contribute to delays in the diagnosis of PD and increase clinical trial enrollment of these patients. Moreover, the database will be useful in research to identify differences between racial or ethnic communities.  The educational program for patients will increase their knowledge of the disease and participation in PD clinical trials and translational research.