- Fellowship - UT Southwestern Medical Center (2013-2014), Neurophysiology
- Residency - UT Southwestern Medical Center (2009-2013), Neurology
- Medical School - Ponce School of Medicine (2005-2009)
Marisara Dieppa, M.D.
Marisara Dieppa, M.D., is an Assistant Professor in the UT Southwestern Department of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics. She serves as the Associate Program Director of the Sports Neurology Fellowship Program and the Assistant Program Director of the Neurology Residency Program at UT Southwestern.
Dr. Dieppa earned her medical degree at the Ponce School of Medicine, and she completed her residency at UT Southwestern. She performed a clinical neurophysiology fellowship at UT Southwestern and went on to become the school’s first sports neurology fellow. She joined the UT Southwestern faculty in 2014.
Dr. Dieppa is a member of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Neurological Association. She is also a senator representing the Department of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics in the UT Southwestern Medical Center Faculty Senate, leader of the Women in Neurology Group, a member of the UT Southwestern Multidisciplinary Concussion Clinic Development Committee, and a member of the Program Evaluation Committee for the UT Southwestern Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Traumatic Brain Injury Fellowship.
Meet Dr. Dieppa
Epilepsy and Concussion Specialist in Dallas
Epilepsy specialist Marisara Dieppa, M.D., is one of the few neurologists with advanced training in sports neurology, which helps athletes who experience sports-related head injuries improve their day-to-day quality of life.
She was the first doctor at UT Southwestern to perform a fellowship in sports neurology, at a time when very few hospitals considered it a specialty.
Dr. Dieppa notes that both epilepsy and sports-related head injuries can have an enormous impact on a patient’s daily activities. Epilepsy can cause disruptive and painful seizures, while concussions and other sports neurology injuries can lead to chronic headaches, balance issues, mood disorders, insomnia, cognitive problems, and more. Dr. Dieppa adds, however, that new treatments and a better understanding of epilepsy, concussion, and related neurological conditions are improving results for patients.
Dr. Dieppa and UT Southwestern’s Epilepsy team offer medication, surgical options, and nerve stimulation treatments for inpatient and outpatient epilepsy patients. The National Association of Epilepsy Centers designated the UTSW clinic a Level 4 Epilepsy Center, its highest rating, signifying that Dr. Dieppa and her team provide truly comprehensive care in the treatment of the disease.
“Our main focus is to identify patients early on who are a candidate for surgery because we can actually cure epilepsy for many,” she says. “We do intracranial monitoring, and we are one of the few centers in Texas to offer stereo EEG, which helps us monitor patients and decide whether they would benefit from surgery.”
The team also takes a multidisciplinary approach to treating concussions and other sports-related head injuries, working with neuropsychologists, physical and speech therapists, physiatrists, and other experts to provide comprehensive care for patients.
“We have the best of the best, and we put our patients first,” Dr. Dieppa says. “Above all, our main interest is helping people get better.”
Personal Ties to an Emerging Field
Dr. Dieppa’s passion for sports initially piqued her interest in medicine. She was on course to become a professional volleyball player, but her career was cut short by an ACL injury.
That’s when she set her sights on helping others by becoming a doctor. Neurology was a natural choice. Because three of her four grandparents suffered from dementia, she had always been interested in how the brain works. By combining her interest in neurology with her love of sports, she saw an opportunity to make a real difference.
She jumped at the opportunity to focus on treating concussions and other brain injuries that cause debilitating – and often career-ending – symptoms such as chronic headaches, memory problems, and balance issues.
“As I was finishing my residency and first fellowship, I started getting more involved in sports neurology, and UT Southwestern saw the importance of creating a program for concussions and sports,” she says. “I really enjoy treating athletes because they’re a very highly motivated group of people who want to get better and go back to playing.”
Comparison of Psychiatric Comorbidities and Impact on Quality of Life in Patients With Epilepsy or Psychogenic Nonepileptic Spells
Abe C, Denney D, Doyle A, Cullum M, Adams J, Perven G, Dave H, Dieppa M, Hays R, Agostini M, Ding K Epilepsy Behav. 2020 Jan;102:106649. 2020
Traumatic brain injury history is associated with an earlier age of dementia onset in autopsy-confirmed Alzheimer's disease.
Schaffert J, LoBue C, White CL, Chiang HS, Didehbani N, Lacritz L, Rossetti H, Dieppa M, Hart J, Cullum CM. Neuropsychology. 2018 May;32(4):410-416. 2018
Reliability of self-reported concussion history in retired NFL players
Nyaz Didehbani, Kristin Wilmoth, Lindy Fields, Christian LoBue, Jeremy Strain, Jeffrey Spence, Marisara Dieppa, Munro Cullum and John Hart Annals of Sports Medicine and Research 2017 2017
Multiple Sclerosis Disease Progression and Paradichlorobenzene: A Tale of Mothballs and Toilet Cleaner
Hession RM, Sharma V, Spiegel DE, Tat C, Hwang DG, Dieppa M, Mahdavi Z, Marder E, Stüve O. JAMA Neurol. 2014 Feb;71(2):228-32. 2014
- Comparison of Psychiatric Comorbidities and Impact on Quality of Life in Patients With Epilepsy or Psychogenic Nonepileptic Spells
- Epilepsy & Seizures