Parkinson’s Foundation Recruits 5 New Members to Its Advisory Council

Ana de Barros, PhD avatar

by Ana de Barros, PhD |

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The People with Parkinson’s Advisory Council of the Parkinson’s Foundation has five new members.

The council is made of people living with Parkinson’s disease and their caregiver partners who contribute with their personal perspectives and experience to ensure that all the foundation’s programs and services are based on real-world needs and evidence.

“One of the fundamental ways the Parkinson’s Foundation serves its community is through the People with Parkinson’s Advisory Council,” John Lehr, Parkinson’s Foundation president and CEO, said in a press release.

“We welcome our five new advisors who have the expertise and leadership within their communities to help us make life better for people with Parkinson’s,” he said.

The People with Parkinson’s Advisory Council’s newest members have diverse backgrounds with various and interesting professional and life skills.

  • Glenn Kasman, MS, of Mercer Island, Washington, is a retired healthcare executive and textbook co-author who has remained active within his local Parkinson’s support groups as a peer mentor since his own diagnosis in 2015.
  • Gretchen Rosswurm, MS, of Irving, Texas, is the vice president of philanthropy for the Celanese Corp., is a blogger who lives with Parkinson’s, and writer of short fiction stories.
  • Justin Fields, MBA, of Knoxville, Tennessee, is full-time worker who lives with young-onset Parkinson’s disease and is working to expand local Parkinson’s support groups to increase awareness and community outreach.
  • Karen St. Clair, of Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a retired chief executive officer for whom life with Parkinson’s was the inspiration to start a support group and join the New Mexico Parkinson’s Coalition as a board member.
  • Radhika D. Iyer, of Durham, North Carolina, is a social worker, lawyer, and healthcare technologist with Parkinson’s. She previously served as a board member on the Parkinson’s Foundation Western New York and now helps people with the condition use technology, such as mobile apps, to better manage their symptoms.

In addition to the five new members, the People with Parkinson’s Advisory Council will also have a new chair, Kelly Sweeney of Portland, Oregon, and a new vice chair, Leslie Peters of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“The People with Parkinson’s Advisory Council provides a vital perspective to the Parkinson’s Foundation,” Sweeney said. “As people living with Parkinson’s and care partners, our voice is represented, and our needs are understood through PPAC. Our input is aimed at improving quality of life and impacting science to slow or even cure this debilitating disease.”

In 2006, the Parkinson’s Foundation was the first to establish a formal patient leadership group to help prioritize activities in programs and research initiatives.

Today, a total of 15 members guide the foundation’s priorities through the People with Parkinson’s Advisory Council, assisting in the identification of unmet needs, providing input on specialized programs, and serving as liaisons to the community.

In March 2018, the Parkinson’s Foundation announced a new program offering genetic testing and counseling to Parkinson’s patients within its Centers of Excellence network to advance research, knowledge, and patient care.

For more information about the Parkinson’s Foundation, visit