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Press Release

Parkinson's Disease Foundation Welcomes 25 Research Advocates from Southern Region Working to Speed New Treatments for Parkinson's

Posted on: 15 Mar 12

PR Newswire

NEW YORK, March 15, 2012

NEW YORK, March 15, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Parkinson's Disease Foundation® (PDF®) welcomes 25 new members to its national network, Parkinson's Advocates in Research.  Last week in Stone Mountain, GA, the newest PDF Research Advocates from the Southern region of the United States completed an intensive three-day training.  They have returned to their communities ready to partner with local medical institutions, such as Emory University, in influencing research and speeding the development of new treatments for Parkinson's disease.


During the training, Research Advocates took part in rigorous sessions on the science of Parkinson's disease and the process that brings new treatments to market.  They did so under the guidance of leaders not only from Emory, but also from other leading regional institutions such as the University of Alabama and Baylor College of Medicine.  In their respective communities, they will take on research-related leadership activities – such as speaking at conferences and support groups, and serving on advisory boards at nearby institutions – through which they can share their unique perspectives as people touched by Parkinson's disease.

The diverse group of educators, nurses, former military personnel and other professionals – all people with Parkinson's and care partners – were chosen through a competitive application process open to those from 14 states in the Southern region and Puerto Rico.

In the Atlanta area, one of these individuals is PDF Research Advocate James Travis, Ph.D., a former professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Georgia, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease five years ago.  Dr. Travis looks forward to partnering with Emory's Morris K. Udall Center of Excellence for Parkinson's Disease Research, including the center's Director Thomas Wichmann, M.D., and Director of Community Engagement Melanie A. Pearson, Ph.D.  Dr. Travis said, "The Southern regional training was a unique opportunity to listen to experts discuss the challenges of developing new and effective Parkinson's therapies.  Working with Dr. Wichmann's team, PDF Research Advocates can help inform the community about research happening in our own backyard and emphasize the critical role that people with Parkinson's play, the importance of which cannot be overstated."

Dr. Wichmann noted, "Progress in Parkinson's research will come about not from individual researchers or doctors, but from a team whose center is the people living with Parkinson's.  At Emory, we need many individuals who can tell us about their symptoms, priorities and experiences so we can successfully design and implement research that will improve their lives.  PDF's training has provided our institution with these community members whose perspectives are crucial and whose formal training has prepared them to partner with us to take research to the next level."

PDF Executive Director Robin Elliott also commented, "We believe that when members of the Parkinson's community are equal stakeholders, alongside research professionals, government agencies and private industry, their presence will improve the outcomes of clinical studies."

To speak with us about partnering with a PDF Research Advocate at your institution or support group, or to learn about our Western regional training in July 2012, please call (800) 457-6676, email or visit  The Southern training for Parkinson's Advocates in Research was made possible by educational grants from Abbott Laboratories and the Drug Information Association.

About Parkinson's DiseaseParkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects nearly one million people in the US.  Although promising research is being conducted, there is currently no cure for Parkinson's.

About Parkinson's Advocates in Research (PAIR)Parkinson's Advocates in Research is a growing network of 156 Research Advocates from 36 states who influence research and speed the development of new treatments for Parkinson's disease.  PDF Research Advocates are actively collaborating with research professionals, government agencies and private industry to ensure the unique perspectives of people touched by Parkinson's disease are included in research decisions and implementation.  PDF Research Advocates are key partners in PDF's mission to support the research and ideas that will improve the lives and futures of people touched by Parkinson's disease. 

About Parkinson's Disease FoundationThe Parkinson's Disease Foundation® (PDF®) is a leading national presence in Parkinson's disease research, education and public advocacy.  PDF is working for the nearly one million people in the US who live with Parkinson's by funding promising scientific research while supporting people living with Parkinson's through educational programs and services.  Since its founding in 1957, PDF has dedicated over $90 million to fund the work of leading scientists throughout the world and over $37 million to support national education and advocacy programs.

SOURCE Parkinson's Disease Foundation

PR Newswire

Last updated on: 15/03/2012

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