Mentoring Profile: Jori Fleisher, MD, MSCE, Rush Medical College

Monday, September 30, 2019

The Rush Women Mentoring Program fosters professional development and a sense of community and collaboration among women faculty at Rush University. In this series, we highlight program mentors and mentees and learn more about how mentoring has impacted them.

Jori Fleisher, MD, MSCE, assistant professor in the Department of Neurological Sciences, Rush Medical College, joined Rush in 2017.

Tell us about your background.

I am a fellowship-trained movement disorders neurologist with a special interest in understanding the needs of individuals and families who are living with advanced Parkinson’s Disease and related disorders. I also have a special interest in designing new models of care to better serve this population. After three years on the faculty at New York University, I joined the Rush University Medical Center Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Program in 2017, where I see patients and conduct research.

I am supported by the National Institutes of Health and various non-profit foundations, and I have several research studies underway that are focused on interdisciplinary home visits and caregiver peer mentoring to improve the lives of patients and families who are living with these conditions. I am also studying the impact of karate on mobility, mood and cognitive outcomes in people with Parkinson’s disease.

I have a longstanding interest in global neurology and travelled to Zambia in spring 2019 to help create the first registry of people with Parkinson’s disease in that country. In addition, I have been recognized as an emerging leader and outstanding patient advocate by the American Academy of Neurology.

What inspired you to get into your field?

I had multiple family members who had neurologic conditions, and they all shared the experience of having neurologists diagnose them and provide little hope. I found neuroscience and psychology fascinating and resolved to enter the field in order to support patients and families, even in the setting of incurable diseases. I was encouraged to pursue a master’s degree in epidemiology in order to design and analyze my own research, and I fell in love with the field of movement disorders (Parkinson’s disease in particular) during my undergraduate studies.

What excited you about your work at Rush?

My colleagues are incredible. I feel honored and humbled to work alongside them every day. Furthermore, my research has been championed here, and I have found amazing mentorship.

What is your opinion of mentoring and sponsorship?

Mentoring and sponsorship cannot be overvalued; they are absolutely critical to success, particularly when you are an early career investigator. At Rush, I have been fortunate to find multiple, terrific mentors and sponsors.

Do you have tips or advice you would recommend for someone looking to enter your field of work?

Shadow in clinic. Stay on top of the literature. And explore the many ways that Parkinson’s disease care and research have changed in the past five to 10 years. This is a phenomenal time to join the field because we are making huge strides in improving the lives of our patients and their families..

What are your hobbies? How do you like to spend your free time?

I enjoy spending time with my husband, two small kids and our beagle mutt. I love to cook and bake, especially new recipes from all over the world. I also love to do art projects with my kids. I love being back in Chicago. I particularly enjoy the incredible theatre, jazz and restaurant scenes that can be found here.