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.

Vamshi K. Rao, MD, serves as Attending Physician, Neurology; Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Rao is board- certified in: Pediatrics, Neurology with special qualifications in Child Neurology and Neuromuscular Medicine​. 

Sara Zak, MD, serves as Attending Physician, Pulmonary Medicine; Instructor of Pediatrics (Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine), Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Zak is board-certified in: Pediatrics. 


If you'd like to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, call 1.800.543.7362 (1.800.KIDS.DOC®) or visit our Appointments page for more information.

About The Mazza Foundation

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 vital 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 e-mail the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation at or call 312.227.7500

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