The Parkinson's Disease Foundation welcomes 27 new members to its national network of research advocates who are influencing research and speeding the development of new and effective treatments for Parkinson's. This week in New Jersey, the members from the Northeast region are completing an intensive three-day training to prepare them to join the network, known as Parkinson's Advocates in research.
During the training, the newest PDF Research Advocates are taking part in rigorous sessions on the science of Parkinson's and the process that brings new treatments to market. They are doing so under the guidance of leaders from institutions such as the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. Armed with advocacy skills, they will return to their communities to take on research-related activities - including serving on research advisory boards and speaking about clinical research at conferences and support groups - through which they can share their unique perspectives as people touched by Parkinson's disease.
As PDF executive director Robin Elliott noted, "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 design, conduct and outcomes of clinical studies."
The diverse group of educators, scientists, lawyers and other professionals were chosen through a competitive application process open to those from the states in the Northeast region, stretching from Maine to Virginia. All PDF research advocates are living with or are care partners to those with Parkinson's. In the upcoming year, the Northeastern regional training will be followed by three additional trainings around the United States.