The foundation’s project, “Women and PD TALK,” comes out of a recognition that historically, PD research has been too focused on men. Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), which provided the grant, is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010 to fund comparative effectiveness research.
“As part of our groundbreaking work to advance treatments and care for a diverse global community impacted by Parkinson’s, we are proud to launch Women and PD TALK and lead the way in addressing the unique needs of women,” John L. Lehr, the foundation’s CEO, said in a press release. He noted that in the past, researchers have often neglected the fact that women might respond differently than men to certain medications.
“Research is beginning to prove what the medical community has long suspected: that women experience Parkinson’s differently as it relates to diagnosis, symptoms, progression, treatment complications and care,” said Allison Willis, MD, MS, a University of Pennsylvania assistant professor who is co-leading the initiative. “We applaud the Parkinson’s Foundation for putting the unique needs of women on the map with Women and PD TALK, a project that may lead to breakthroughs for women and men.”
The two-year project will establish a network of 10 regional forums nationwide to help communities identify priorities and possible solutions for women with PD. Based on that experience, expert multidisciplinary teams will then develop recommendations to advance Parkinson’s care for women.
“The Parkinson’s Foundation is engaging key stakeholders in Women and PD TALK to ensure that our recommendations for women’s health are not only developed, but are also implemented,” said Veronica Todaro, also a co-leader of the initiative. “First, we want to understand how to improve women’s lives, and then we want to make it happen.”