2023 Tom Isaacs Award honors Dr. Natasha Fothergill-Misbah

NOTE: This release was originally published by Cure Parkinson’s.

GRAND RAPIDS (Mich.) Sept. 29, 2023 — Cure Parkinson’s and Van Andel Institute (VAI) are delighted to announce Dr. Natasha Fothergill-Misbah, Research Associate at Newcastle University, as the winner of the 2023 Tom Isaacs Award. The award was presented Sept. 28 in Newcastle, UK, as part of the annual Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease symposium and parallel Rallying to the Challenge meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Credit: Courtesy of Cure Parkinson’s

Fothergill-Misbah’s research focuses on Parkinson’s in sub-Saharan Africa, and she has dedicated her career to improving the lives of people living with the condition in these regions. She is currently a Research Associate on the NIHR (National Institute for Health and Care Research) Global Health Research Group on Transforming Parkinson’s Care In Africa, which works across seven African countries to improve the diagnosis, treatment and care of Parkinson’s. In 2018, she established a support group for people living with Parkinson’s in Mombasa, Kenya, which still runs today, and has published papers on stigma and the lived experience of Parkinson’s in the country. Fothergill-Misbah is working with the World Health Organization to improve access to affordable medications for people with Parkinson’s across the globe, and she contributed to the recent Technical Brief which outlined a public health approach to Parkinson’s and the crucial need for global action. She also recently produced a film on life with Parkinson’s in Kenya, and co-chairs the PD Avengers wellness group, where she helps to facilitate the establishment of new support groups around the world.

“I am delighted to be the recipient of The Tom Isaacs Award 2023 from Cure Parkinson’s and Van Andel Institute. It’s an honor to be recognized for my work on Parkinson’s disease in Kenya and I’m grateful to the international Parkinson’s community for their continued support in raising awareness of the challenges facing people with Parkinson’s in Africa.”Dr. Natasha Fothergill-MisbahResearch Associate, Newcastle University

Fothergill-Misbah is a shining example of the very essence of the Tom Isaacs award, which was set up in memory of Cure Parkinson’s late co-founder and president, to recognise a researcher who has significantly impacted the lives of people living with Parkinson’s and has involved people with Parkinson’s in a participatory way in their work. Fothergill-Misbah’s work centres around giving voice to a community previously underrepresented in academic research and understanding their stories.

Helen Matthews, CEO of Cure Parkinson’s said:

“We are thrilled to present the Tom Isaacs award for 2023 to Tash. She has made a significant difference to the lives of people living with Parkinson’s particularly through her work in Africa. We hope that by presenting Tash with this award, we can celebrate her passion and commitment to the Parkinson’s community and spotlight the way she is helping to address the inequalities people with Parkinson’s face globally. This award is hugely deserved.”


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Further information at cureparkinsons.org.uk

Cure Parkinson’s is the operating name of The Cure Parkinson’s Trust. The Cure Parkinson’s Trust is a registered charity in England and Wales (1111816) and Scotland (SCO44368) and is a company limited by guarantee – company number 5539974 (England and Wales).


Van Andel Institute (VAI) is committed to improving the health and enhancing the lives of current and future generations through cutting-edge biomedical research and innovative educational offerings. Established in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1996 by the Van Andel family, VAI is now home to nearly 500 scientists, educators and support staff, who work with a growing number of national and international collaborators to foster discovery. The Institute’s scientists study the origins of cancer, Parkinson’s and other diseases and translate their findings into breakthrough prevention and treatment strategies. Our educators develop inquiry-based approaches for K-12 education to help students and teachers prepare the next generation of problem-solvers, while our Graduate School offers a rigorous, research-intensive Ph.D. program in molecular and cellular biology. Learn more at vai.org.