To encourage more diversity in Parkinson’s investigations and better capture how the disorder affects patients across racial, socioeconomic, and other lines, The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) has opened an international program to fund projects that promote greater inclusion in Parkinson’s research.
Awarded projects could receive from $50,000 up to $400,000 in support, depending on the scope of their work, over a term of 18 to 36 months. Pre-proposals are due by April 21, and selected applicants will be invited to submit full proposals by Aug 5.
Winners are expected to be announced by November, with project funding likely to start in December, the MJFF announced on a webpage.
The MJFF is looking for applications aiming to increase knowledge about Parkinson’s in populations that have been historically excluded from, or underrepresented in, scientific investigations.
“Our understanding of the cause, progression, and treatment of PD [Parkinson’s disease] is growing but remains far from complete,” the organization stated in its announcement. “Unfortunately, most of this research has not been inclusive of the broader community of people with Parkinson’s.”
It’s unclear, the notice continued, how the neurodegenerative disease impacts patients and families across racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, gender, sexuality, and geographic categories.
Such groups include Blacks, Asians, and Native Americans and other indigenous groups; Latinos; women; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual individuals; residents of areas underserved by current care and research efforts; and individuals of low socioeconomic status.
Scientists in non-profit and for-profit organizations globally, as well as some post-doctoral fellows, are eligible for the program. In particular, interdisciplinary teams of Parkinson’s scientists, community organizations, and researchers who focus on health disparities among seniors in underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply.
Applications should focus on one or more of these areas: disease burden, Parkinson’s risk and pathology within the social determinants of health and structural discrimination, assessment procedures across different cultures and differential response to treatment, how Parkinson’s progresses in different populations, and access to care.
“Though factors driving disparities in society are complex, researchers, doctors, and patient communities must make concerted efforts to eliminate inequities in healthcare,” the MJFF added.
“Making research more representative of the community will broaden our understanding of PD, which can only lead to strategies for reducing risk and developing treatments for all people.”
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