Parkinson's Foundation adds new patient advisors
The Parkinson's Foundation welcomes five new members to its People with Parkinson's Advisory Council. The appointments reflect the foundation's ongoing commitment to engage with the community in its work to create a world without Parkinson's disease.
"The Parkinson's Foundation has a track record of listening and responding to the needs of the Parkinson's community," said John L. Lehr, chief executive officer, Parkinson's Foundation. "We look forward to partnering with our advisors to improve our programs and to ensure that people with Parkinson's live their best lives today."
The People with Parkinson's Advisory Council, established in 2006, is the first patient advisory council in the Parkinson's space. Its members have guided the foundation's work and driven improvements in research, care and patient support. For example, members have shed light on unmet needs, including under-recognized symptoms such as fatigue and constipation, and have prompted new programs, such as the Women and PD Initiative and the Community Choice Research Awards.
"As people who live with Parkinson's, our members represent a community of 10 million people worldwide. We commit ourselves to working on their behalf every single day," said Daniel Novak, Ph.D., of Fort Worth, TX, chair of the advisory council. "We applaud the Parkinson's Foundation for continuing to collaborate with people with Parkinson's and care partners. We are stronger together."
The advisory council's newest members, elected for a term of three years, represent a wide range of communities, professions and volunteer experiences. They include the following individuals:
- Caryn Balaban, M.P.H., of Phoenix, AZ: a retired healthcare marketing executive, who is care partner to her husband who lives with Parkinson's.
- Daniel DeWitt, Psy.D., of Grand Rapids, MI: a licensed psychologist who has expertise caring for individuals with chronic illnesses.
- David Malarkey, D.V.M., Ph.D., of Cary, NC: a veterinary pathologist and research scientist whose scientific career spans 25 years and 100 published papers.
- Dana Seyfried, M.A., of Roslyn, NY: a professional who works in animal welfare and a former marketing manager, who is care partner to her father who lives with Parkinson's.
- Robert "Kelly" Sweeney, of Portland, OR: a retired business development and program manager, whose career in the technology industry spanned nearly 40 years.
Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects nearly one million people in the U.S. and over 10 million worldwide. Parkinson's is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer's and is the 14th leading cause of death in the U.S. It is associated with a loss of motor control (e.g., shaking or tremor at rest and lack of facial expression) as well as non-motor symptoms (e.g., depression and anxiety). Although promising research is being conducted, there is currently no cure for Parkinson's disease.