Mazza Foundation Neuromuscular Program

Neuromuscular disorders affect the muscles or nerves that control voluntary muscles, such as those in the arms and legs. These disorders can have an effect on the child’s walking, crawling, breathing, swallowing, and head and neck control. They are often chronic conditions that start in childhood and persist into the patient’s adult life. The Mazza Foundation Neuromuscular Program at Lurie Children’s provides specialized care to families and children with the medically-challenging neuromuscular conditions and advances research to find new therapies.

The Lurie Children’s Difference

Our program offers an advanced level of care for children suffering from muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy and other neuromuscular disorders. The program also trains future specialists, provides state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment resources, and advances cutting-edge research in this emerging field.

The program’s research coordinator provides information to families and facilitates participation in approved clinical research trials. We are part of several research consortia investigating different steroid regimens, heart medication and nutritional supplements to provide our families with an opportunity to participate in trials that may improve health for children living with neuromuscular conditions. 

We partner with Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Prentice Women’s Hospital and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago to bring together an unprecedented level of expertise, offering new opportunities for collaboration not only in clinical care, but also in research and education. These partnerships with adult specialists helps ensure our patients have excellent care throughout childhood and adolescence, and a seamless transition into adult care.

We now also have a Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Clinic, which lets us benefit from the MDA’s extensive range of support services, patient education materials and multicenter research studies.

Our Specialists

Nancy L. Kuntz, MD, is Medical Director of the Mazza Foundation Neuromuscular Program; Attending Physician, Neurology; Director, MDA Clinic; and Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology at the Feinberg School. Dr. Kuntz is board-certified in Pediatrics, Neurology with special qualifications in Child Neurology, and Neurology with special qualifications in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities.

Cindy A. Budek, MS, APN, CPNP, AC/PC, and Vamshi K. Rao, MD, assist Dr. Kuntz in this program.

Make an Appointment

If you’d like to request an appointment with one of our specialists, call 1.800.543.7362 (1.800.KIDS DOC®). You can also request an appointment online.

Learn More

The Mazza Foundation has been committed to improving the lives of Chicagoans for more than 50 years. It provides vital funding for programs in healthcare, social services and education, as well as for cultural and religious organizations.


Your support is important in helping us continue to make a difference in the lives of patients and families. Lurie Children’s relies on philanthropic funding to enhance its programs, services and research for children. To learn more, please contact the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation at, call 312.227.7500 or make a gift today.

First Treatment for Spinal Muscular Atrophy Submitted for FDA Approval

A major milestone was reached when nusinersen, an investigational treatment for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), was shown to significantly improve achievement of motor milestones in babies with infantile-onset SMA. Lurie Children’s had the highest patient enrollment in the study.

Learn more.

Nusinersen is Delievered to First Patient After FDA Approval

Alexandria has spinal muscular atrophy. Her family was given new hope when they received the very first dosage of nusinersen after it was FDA-approved.


Changing the Lives of Children with SMA

Learn how Dr. Kuntz and our multidisciplinary team make a difference for Ella and other kids with spinal muscular atrophy.

Read the story.


​CME: Update on Treatment of Common Inherited Neuromuscular Disorders

Healthcare professionals interested in earning continuing medical education credit can take our course, "Update on Treatment of Common Inherited Neuromuscular Disorders." Participants will learn strategies to:

  • Explain the clinical advantage of early diagnosis in common pediatric neuromuscular disorders such as spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD)
  • Describe the supportive and preventive care strategies that have improved quality of life and lifespan in SMA and DMD
  • Identify potential future treatment strategies for children diagnosed with SMA and DMD