Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Who We Are and What We Do

In 2017, the RLS Foundation will celebrate its 25th birthday!

This year alone, we have certified three Quality Care Centers, created a multidisciplinary Scientific and Medical Advisory Board, developed an RLS Children's Booklet (copies available soon!), undergone a massive website redesign (to be unveiled next month!), and reinvigorated our research grant program that awards up to eight new pilot grants totaling $200,000. And it's barely August!

We invite you to join us!

Our community is growing... learn how the Foundation can help you find the medical and social support you may need. After all, we are here to serve you!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Meet Karla Dzienkowski, RN, BSN:

Executive Director

In January 2014, Karla accepted the position of executive director. In two and a half short years she has made a huge impact on this organization.

Karla first learned about RLS in her dual roles as a mother and registered nurse when her daughter, then 11 1/2 years old, began to experience symptoms that doctors could not explain. Karla crossed the country looking for answers before finally finding a knowledgeable doctor, and shortly after, the RLS Foundation.

Eager for answers, Karla joined the Foundation’s Board of Directors in 2004 and served through 2009. As a board member, she encouraged pediatric RLS research, along with programs to increase awareness and education of RLS in the medical and school communities. Karla believes that much work has yet to be done in disseminating information about RLS to the public and the medical community, and that much more research into its cause and treatment is needed. Karla drives the mission of the Foundation with her leadership, and she is passionate about promoting research for better treatments and a cure.

Karla explains “The RLS Foundation serves as a beacon of hope, help and support for individuals and their families who deal with the daily impact that RLS has on their life. I want to thank each of our members for supporting the Foundation because you gave me and my family a life-line when we desperately needed one. With the help of the Foundation we were able to find the care my daughter needed and get back to living life.”

Karla has vast experience working with non-profits, including active participation for many years in Girl Scouts, Austin Children's Museum and three years serving on the Board of Directors for National Charity League, Inc., with one year as board president of the Capital of Texas Chapter. Karla, her husband, John, and their two daughters have recently welcomed a new Alaskan Klee-Kai puppy named Arrow into the family.

Karla is truly the Foundation’s #1 cheerleader. She always responds to difficult inquiries that come to the Foundation with genuine empathy, support and deep knowledge of RLS, drawn from her roles both as a family member impacted by the disease and as a nurse with over 30 years of medical knowledge and experience.

We recently received this note to Karla from someone with whom she was corresponding: “I also thank you for the empathetic warmth of your email. As you know, people in my situation feel very stressed and suffer from social isolation. It means a lot to feel contact with someone who understands. I think your organization is very blessed to have someone like you working in your position. I hope they appreciate you!”

Do we appreciate Karla? … Beyond measure!

Friday, June 3, 2016


Austin, TX June 3, 2016 – Scripps Clinic Viterbi Family Sleep Center in San Diego has been certified as a restless legssyndrome (RLS) Quality Care Center by the RLS Foundation. This certification recognizes Vanderbilt as a specialty center for treating RLS patients with a range of complexities and comorbidities.

RLS (also known asWillis-Ekbom disease) is a chronic neurological disorder affecting millions of people, with often devastating impact on quality of life; an estimated 2 to 3 percent of adults need clinical treatment for RLS.

J. Steven Poceta, MD, director the RLS Quality Care Center at Scripps Clinic, says, “At Scripps Clinic, we are honored to be recognized as an RLS Quality Care Center. This designation is not about us, however – it is about increasing awareness of RLS for people who are undiagnosed and about trying to improve the lives of patients who have RLS. We hope that this RLS Quality Care Center designation is the beginning of more research and better treatment of patients.”

The RLS Foundation coordinates a network of certified RLS Quality CareCenter to improve diagnosis and treatment of the disease worldwide. Centers must meet rigorous criteria that demonstrate a high level of expertise and experience treating patients who have RLS.
The program benefits patients and families through:
  • Recognition of RLS Quality Care Centers as leaders in the field and as specialty clinics for patients who are traveling or in search of knowledgeable healthcare providers
  • Availability of RLS Quality Care Center staff as resources for referring primary care providers
  • Patient educational offerings, print materials and connection with RLS Foundation local support groups

“We are pleased to welcome the distinguished and experienced RLS providers at Scripps Clinic to our Quality Care Center network,” says RLS Foundation Executive Director Karla Dzienkowski. “At the RLS Foundation, we receive calls every day from people who are seeking expert care to help manage their RLS symptoms. RLS Quality Care Centers provide access to certified providers who are experts in the diagnosis, treatment and management of RLS. This leads to improving quality of life for these patients as well as their families.”
Other certified RLS Quality Care Centers include:
·       Emory Sleep Center
·       Innsbruck Medical University, Department of Neurology, Sleep Lab and Sleep Disorders Outpatient Clinic

To learn more about the RLS Quality Care Center Program, visit

The RLS Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of men, women and children who live with restless legs syndrome (RLS, also known as Willis-Ekbom disease). Founded in 1989, the Foundation’s goals are to increase awareness, improve treatments and through research, find a cure for RLS. The Foundation serves healthcare providers, researchers, 4,000 members and an estimated seven million individuals in the United States and Canada who have RLS. The RLS Foundation Research Grant Program has awarded $1.6 million to fund medical research on RLS causes and treatments. For more information, visit
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