In a recent visit to Capitol Hill, a UF Health child psychiatrist and researcher highlighted her ongoing work with Tourette syndrome.

Carol Mathews, the director of the UF Center for OCD, Anxiety and Related Disorders, attended a congressional briefing alongside the Tourette Association of America on Oct. 18.

“Our goals were to make our senators and representatives aware of the importance of TS, and in particular, of the importance of continuing funding for education about TS through the Centers for Disease Control and funding for research from the National Institutes of Health,” Mathews wrote in an email.

She said she advocated for the continued funding of $2 million to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which works with the Tourette Association of America. The funding provides education for schools, pediatricians and other health care professionals, she said.

Mathews said Tourette’s research has allowed for better treatment options, better care guidelines and the use of global networks to coordinate research.

After meeting with legislative aides and congressional members to discuss recent research, Mathews said feedback was positive.

Mathews, who has been researching Tourette’s for 20 years, works alongside Michael Okun, the UF Department of Neurology chair, at the Tourette Association of America, she said.

“Tourette syndrome is among the most mysterious medical curiosities on the planet,” Okun wrote in an email.

Okun said it’s important for Congress to fund Tourette’s research and education so the general public can understand it.

“A secret in medicine is not always a pill, procedure or behavioral therapy,” he said. “A secret can be wisdom on a topic relevant today or any day in the future. We must do a better job to educate TS patients and families.”