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Committing to Care, Access, Equity, and Research: NORD Announces 31 Rare Disease Centers of Excellence

NORD provides new designation to medical centers to define standards for high-quality specialized care for rare disease patients

Washington, DC, November 4, 2021— Today, the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) announced 31 NORD Rare Disease Centers of Excellence across the United States, establishing a unique network of medical centers, clinics, and institutions to advance care and expand access for rare disease patients. The program is being led by NORD to promote outstanding treatment for rare disease patients regardless of disease or geography, elevate collaboration, improve standards of care, advance research, and increase awareness about rare diseases in the broader medical and patient communities.

The average rare disease diagnosis can take six years and require up to 12 specialists and multiple medical tests. By designating and establishing a network of specialized centers and experts, NORD is bringing together leaders in the field from across the country to reduce the time to diagnosis and improve the availability and coordination of multi-specialty clinical care. These Centers of Excellence will strive to push the rare disease field forward by collaborating to develop new care guidelines, improve medical and family education, create safe and effective referral pathways, and innovate around new treatments, therapies, and research.

“Our belief is that the Center of Excellence program is the next big stride forward for rare disease treatment and patients – to improve health equity and create critical new connections to resources and specialists across our nation,” said Ed Neilan, Chief Scientific and Medical Officer, NORD. “NORD is committed to breaking down silos and building bridges so that people living with a rare disease can achieve their best health and well-being.”

Each Center for Excellence was selected by NORD in a competitive application process requiring evidence of staffing with experts across multiple specialties to meet the needs of rare disease patients and significant contributions to rare disease patient education, physician training, and research. The NORD Rare Disease Centers of Excellence program is formulated to achieve better outcomes for all members of the rare disease community.

The full list of NORD designated Rare Disease Centers of Excellence:


  • University of Alabama at Birmingham Medicine/Children’s of Alabama 


  • Children’s Hospital of Orange County/UC Irvine 
  • University of California, San Francisco & UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals 


University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus/Children’s Hospital Colorado/UCHealth


  • University of Miami Miller School of Medicine


  • Emory Division of Medical Genetics


  • Indiana University Health-Indiana University School of Medicine


  • University of Iowa Health Care 


  • Johns Hopkins Medicine/Kennedy Krieger Institute


  • Mass General Hospital/Mass General Hospital for Children/Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Boston Children’s Hospital


  • Mayo Clinic 
  • M Health Fairview Masonic Children’s Hospital


  • Washington University/BJC Healthcare


  • UNMC Munroe-Meyer Institute, Omaha Children’s Hospital and Nebraska Medicine

New York

  • Columbia University Irving Medical Center 
  • Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

North Carolina

  • Duke Health Rare Disease Center
  • UNC Children’s – North Carolina Children’s Hospital


  • Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center 
  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital/Ohio State University


  • OU Health/University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center


  • Penn Medicine/Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia 
  • UPMC Center for Rare Disease Therapy


  • Vanderbilt University Medical Center


  • Baylor College of Medicine/Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center/Texas Children’s Hospital 
  • McGovern Medical School
  • UT Southwestern Medical Center


  • University of Utah Medical Genetics

Washington, D.C. 

  • Rare Disease Institute at Children’s National Hospital


  • Children’s Wisconsin/Medical College of Wisconsin 
  • University of Wisconsin Center for Rare Diseases 

For more information on the NORD Rare Disease Center of Excellence, click here.

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