APDA Hosting Free Virtual Conference for Patients, Caregivers

25 speakers across Feb 15-16, interactive event aim to 'educate and engage'

Lindsey Shapiro, PhD avatar

by Lindsey Shapiro, PhD |

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The American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) will host a free, two-day virtual conference for people with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers on February 15–16. The program is scheduled to run from 12 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EST each day.

“The APDA Virtual Parkinson’s Conference will include an important mix of education, inspiration and fun for both people living with PD [Parkinson’s disease] and their care partners — no matter where they live,” Leslie A. Chambers, the APDA’s president and CEO, said in a press release announcing the conference.

“Our goal is to arm them with tons of information, useful tips, and a healthy dose of optimism,” Chambers added.

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Participants will hear from leaders in the field about advances in Parkinson’s research and treatment, and they will have opportunities to interact with one another, all in an effort to “educate, empower and engage the PD community,” according to the association.

A total of 25 speakers, ranging from medical experts to Parkinson’s patients, will participate.

Topics include less common Parkinson’s symptoms, gastrointestinal problems, anxiety and cognitive behavioral therapy, deep brain stimulation, stem cell therapy, and the science behind the potential benefits of singing, moving, and engaging in art. Many sessions will include a live Q&A with the speakers.

Panel discussions with Parkinson’s patients and caregivers will be held to offer varied perspectives. There will be also breakout sessions with opportunities for attendees to “sing, dance and draw,” as well as a virtual “meet and greet” with APDA staff and chapter leaders.

“APDA works tirelessly every day to provide the support, education and research to help everyone impacted by Parkinson’s disease live life to the fullest, and we’re so excited to bring this comprehensive two-day educational forum to our entire PD community,” Chambers said.

More than 1,800 people are reported to have registered to date for the free conference, and registration includes the option of donating to the APDA. The U.S.-based grassroots network association, founded in 1961, has raised and invested more than $226 million to support Parkinson’s awareness, patient care, and research efforts.

“Through our nationwide network of Chapters and Information & Referral Centers, we are serving and supporting local Parkinson’s communities every day,” Chambers said. “For this virtual event, we are able to introduce these folks, and so many others, to an exciting mix of experts they might never get to meet otherwise.”

Support for the conference was provided by Acadia Pharmaceuticals, which markets Nuplazid (pimavanserin), an approved treatment for hallucinations and delusions associated with Parkinson’s psychosis, and by the Simone Foundation of H.O.P.E., a nonprofit helping “those with extraordinary needs.”

A full agenda with speaker information and biographies can be viewed on the conference website.