ALS Clinic at the Penn Medicine Neuroscience Center
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• Alisa Brownlee, ATP

• Melissa Coll, LSW

• Brenda Edelman, LCSW, BCD

• Lauren Elman, MD

• Susan Gregory, MD

• Gail Houseman, RN, CNS-BC


• Mary Kelley, MSN, RN, CRNP

• Jennifer Klapper, RN, CNS-BC

• Shelly Lewis, MPT

• Leo F. McCluskey, MD, MBE

• Merisa Palovcak, MS, CCC-SLP/L

Alisa Brownlee, ATPAlisa Brownlee, ATP
Assistive Technologist

Alisa Brownlee, ATP, is an assistive technology specialist and is employed by the ALS Association, Greater Philadelphia Chapter. She oversees the Chapter's assistive technology program and has been an ALS Center team member at Pennsylvania Hospital since 1999. She has been doing assistive technology evaluations and trainings for the past nine years.

She received her Certificate in Assistive Technology from California State University, Northridge and is a certified RESNA (Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America) Assistive Technology Practitioner.

Melissa Coll, LSWMelissa Coll, LSW
Social Worker

Melissa Coll, LSW has worked with the ALS Association, Greater Philadelphia Chapter and the Penn Medicine Neuroscience Center at Pennsylvania Hospital ALS Center since 2008. She received her bachelor's degree in social work from Millersville University in 1992 and her master's degree in social work from Temple University's Advanced Standing Program in 1993. She has primarily provided social work interventions to patients and families coping with acute and chronic illnesses.

Brenda Edelman, LCSW, BCDBrenda Edelman, LCSW, BCD
Director of Patient Services

Brenda Edelman, LSCW, BCD, received her master's in social work at Bryn Mawr College. She has provided social work interventions primarily to patients and families that are faced with chronic illness and disability. She facilitated a resource group for the ALS Association, Greater Philadelphia Chapter from 1994 to 2003. She was hired as the Director of Patient Services in 2003.

Lauren Elman, MDLauren Elman, MD
Associate Medical Director of the ALS Association Center

Lauren Elman, MD, received her bachelor's in psychology from Cornell University and her doctorate from Cornell University Medical College. She completed her medicine internship, neurology residency and a two-year fellowship in neuromuscular disease and electromyography at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

She spends the majority of her clinical time treating patients with ALS and other neuromuscular diseases. Her main research interests include optimization of patient care and clinical application of novel therapeutics.

Susan Gregory, MDSusan Gregory, MD

Susan Gregory, MD is board certified in internal medicine, pulmonary medicine, and critical care medicine. She graduated magna cum laude from Duke University and earned her medical degree at the Medical College of Ohio. She completed her residency in internal medicine, as well as her pulmonary/critical care fellowship, at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently in practice with the Pulmonology Associates at Lankenau Hospital in Wynnewood, PA. She has been with the ALS Center at Pennsylvania Hospital since its beginning in 1999.

Gail Houseman, APRN, BCGail Houseman, RN, CNS-BC
Regional Nurse Coordinator

Gail Houseman, RN, CNS-BC, is the Regional Nurse Coordinator for the ALS Association, Greater Philadelphia Chapter. She earned her bachelor's degree in nursing at Pennsylvania State University in 1979. She went on to receive her master's in nursing at Temple University in 1998 and became a clinical specialist in psychiatry in 1999. She has been with the Chapter since the summer of 2000.

While managing the needs of the ALS patient, she is available to answer questions related to patients' health, assist in obtaining items/care necessary in the home, and facilitate communication between the patient and the other members of the care team.

Mary Kelley, MSN, RN, CRNPMary Kelley, MSN, RN, CRNP
ALS Center Coordinator

Mary Kelley, MSN, RN, CRNP, has worked at the ALS Center since October 2001. She received her BSN at West Chester University. She worked on a medical-surgical floor and critical care units for 10 years before returning to school. She attended the University of Pennsylvania where she received her MSN in the Gerontological Nurse Practitioner program. She worked in South Jersey for eight years as a Gerontological Nurse Practitioner prior to coming to the ALS Center.

Jennifer Klapper, APRN, BCJennifer Klapper, RN, CNS-BC
Mental Health Nurse

Jennifer Klapper, RN, CNS-BC, is the mental health nurse for the ALS Association, Greater Philadelphia Chapter and the Penn Medicine Neuroscience Center at Pennsylvania Hospital ALS Center. She has worked with the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the ALS Association since January 1999.

She received her bachelor's degree in nursing from Binghamton University in 1983, a master's in medical anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1987 as well as a master's in psychiatric nursing from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998. She is nationally certified as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Specialist in psychiatry and mental health.

Shelly Lewis, MPTShelly Lewis, MPT
Physical Therapist

Shelly Lewis, MPT, graduated in 1997 from the University of Evansville (Indiana) with her master's in physical therapy. She began working at Pennsylvania Hospital in 1997 and has been involved with the ALS Center since its inception in 1999. Shelly attends the Clinic weekly as the physical therapist.


Leo F. McCluskey, MD, MBELeo F. McCluskey, MD, MBE
Medical Director of the ALS Association Center

Leo F. McCluskey, MD, MBE is Medical Director of the ALS Association Center at the Penn Medicine Neuroscience Center and Director of the Electromyography Laboratory at Pennsylvania Hospital. He received his medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons/NYC. He completed his internship at the University of Michigan and his residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and University of Michigan.

Dr. McCluskey is a member of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Association of Electromyography and Electrodiagnosis. He was recognized in Philadelphia Magazine's May 2002 issue of Top Docs.

Merisa Palovcak, MS, CFYSLPMerisa Palovcak, MS, CCC-SLP/L
Speech-Language Pathologist

Merisa Palovcak, MS CCC-SLP/L, received both her bachelor and masters degrees at LaSalle University as a member of the first graduating class in the 5-year Undergraduate to Graduate Program in Speech-Language Hearing Science. As an outpatient therapist, she provides speech, language, swallowing and voice treatment for patients with neurodegenerative diseases. She joined the ALS Center in the summer of 2005.


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