A new nationwide event series aims to empower people with Parkinson’s (PD) and their caregivers to manage the disease, learn about research participation, and plug into local resources.
Called “Parkinson’s IQ + You,” the effort is presented by The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF). The events seek to support PD families in learning more about all facets of the disease — what a comprehensive care team looks like, how to achieve optimal communication between patients and physicians, the latest in treatments, and the benefits of joining clinical trials.
Kick-off events are slated this year for Atlanta on Sept. 14, and southern California, in Anaheim, on Dec. 14. More sessions will come next year, including one in Phoenix on Jan. 11. Registration is free. This year’s events will be hosted by Larry Gifford, a patient and host of the “When life gives you Parkinson’s” weekly podcast.
“Between its symptoms and progression, Parkinson’s can present unique challenges for those of us who live with the disease, but also for our loved ones who support us,” John L. Lipp, a writer, nonprofit executive director, and Parkinson’s patient, said in a news release.
“I often say, ‘I can’t control my Parkinson’s, but I can control how I respond to it.’ Parkinson’s IQ + You will offer people in the community, including me and my husband, an opportunity to learn from other patients and families and from experts in the field, so that we can turn education today into action tomorrow,” Lipp said.
Crafted to support care partners and people with Alzheimer’s at every disease stage, the series will feature a variety of panel participants, including patients and their caregivers, to reflect the community’s diversity and the disorder’s variability. The organizers note that PD symptoms and progression vary significantly, making each Parkinson’s experience unique.
Each full-day event will feature interactive programming, as well as an exposition of local resources. Called Parkinson’s Partner Expo, this portion will include representatives from movement disorder centers and patient advocacy organizations, speech and physical therapists, and clinical trial teams.
There also will be panels and sessions on topics such as understanding Parkinson’s and living well with it. During a related forum called “If I Knew Then What I Know Now,” a patient and caregiver will share experiences and strategies. There also will be a session on “Building Your Care Team.”
To help people with Parkison’s and their caregivers understand the advantages of seeing a specialist, what to expect during visits, and how to optimize each one, each event will feature a demonstration of what a typical appointment might be.
“Patients are the force driving our research priorities and our urgent mission to end Parkinson’s,” said Todd Sherer, PhD, the foundation’s CEO. “The foundation is committed to ensuring all people with Parkinson’s, and their families, are empowered to make decisions about treatment and care. And we want to work side by side in partnership with patients to advance Parkinson’s research.”
The series includes complimentary meals, and is funded by Acadia Pharmaceuticals, with additional support from MJFF biotech and pharmaceutical partners.
“The Parkinson’s IQ + You program has been uniquely designed to bring much-needed support and information to the Parkinson’s community,” said Rob Kaper, MD, Acadia’s senior vice president and global head of medical affairs.
“We look forward to this national series of events across the country, which will offer attendees the opportunity to interact with healthcare experts and other people with Parkinson’s and their families, and ask important questions about disease management,” he said.