MJFF Policy Advocates Promote Awareness Month Across US

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by Mary Chapman |

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People joining their hands together in a show of support for one another.

To help mark Parkinson’s Awareness Month, members of the Michael J. Fox Foundation’s (MJFF) public policy team persuaded 17 local governments to issue proclamations and resolutions recognizing the annual event that brings Parkinson’s disease to greater attention.

Team members engaged legislators in their local areas, arguing in favor of the city, county, and state action and explaining its importance. Their efforts also helped in establishing relationships between the nonprofit organization and the lawmakers and their staffs, of likely benefit in future advocacy work.

Local governments in 13 states passed proclamations or resolutions this year, the MJFF reported. Those states are California, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Four cities and counties also joined in: Beaverton, Wilsonville, and Wood Village in Oregon, and Fluvanna County in Virginia.

On the national level, Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan joined Sen. John Thune of South Dakota in introducing a resolution proclaiming April 2022 as Parkinson’s Awareness Month in the United States.

“Stabenow and Thune are Senate co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Parkinson’s disease, which plays an important role in raising awareness about Parkinson’s disease on Capitol Hill,” the organization stated in the announcement.

This resolution supports scientific investigations into better Parkinson’s treatments and a potential cure, and recognizes patients who participate in clinical trials. It also applauds the commitment of organizations, volunteers, scientists, and others working to improve life for patients and their families.

Those interested in advocating for Parkinson’s with their elected officials are encouraged to learn more about MJFF advocacy work, and to receive “action alerts” by going to this site.

“Public policy is a critical piece to solving the Parkinson’s puzzle,” the MJFF notes on the webpage. “By helping policymakers understand what matters to people with Parkinson’s and sharing your story, you play a critical role in shaping legislation that affects the entire community.”

The organization’s current public policy priorities cover three key areas: research, including funding, data collection, access, and environmental risk factors; therapy development and approvals, which covers regulatory funding and the amplification of patients’ needs; and access to care and support services, which encompasses federal health programs, telehealth, access to affordable medications, mental health services, and care partner support.

MJFF supporters with their own proclamations or resolutions are asked to submit them via email to [email protected].