Grand Rapids, Mich. (Sept. 4, 2014) – Van Andel Research Institute is excited to announce the panelists for Rallying to the Challenge, a meeting focused on people with Parkinson’s and their contributions to clinical trials.
Rallying to the Challenge will address barriers to clinical trials and examine how people with Parkinson’s can work with scientists and clinicians to improve the clinical trial process. The panel is made up of some of the world’s leading Parkinson’s disease advocates and will have representatives from some of the most well known Parkinson’s disease organizations in the world.
“By getting everyone—people with Parkinson’s, scientists, doctors, caregivers and advocates—in one room, we have a unique opportunity to have real and impactful discussions,” said Dr. Patrik Brundin, VARI Associate Director of Research and Director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Science. “These discussions will inform the development of a toolkit to aid in the design of clinical trials, which we hope will have a positive impact on patients and scientists alike.”
Rallying to the Challenge will include breakout sessions that will focus on three areas—practicalities, perceptions and teamwork. The last point—teamwork—will be the focus of a talk given by Brian Grant, a retired professional athlete who played 12 seasons as a power forward in the NBA. Grant founded the Brian Grant Foundation after he was diagnosed with young onset Parkinson’s disease in 2008.
The panel includes:
David Ashford-Jones—Parkinson’s disease advocate
Cherise Bjornsgard—Executive Director, the Brian Grant Foundation
Jean Burns—Co-founder, PDPlan4Life; Co-chair of the Parkinson’s Advocates Committee, World Parkinson Congress 2016
Jill Carson—ParkinGo Wellness Society founder, Canada
Ken Cater—Parkinson’s Association of Alabama president
Polly Dawkins—Executive Director, Davis Phinney Foundation
Steve DeWitt—Parkinson’s Movement Steering Committee member; founder and CEO, Connecticut Advocates for Parkinson’s
Brian Grant—Founder of the Brian Grant Foundation, retired NBA star
Sam Hafield—CEO, The Cure Parkinson’s Trust
Tom Isaacs—Co-founder of The Cure Parkinson’s Trust and Parkinson’s Movement
Alan Lewin—Project associate, The Cure Parkinson’s Trust
Bruce Mabee—Parkinson’s Disease Foundation research advocate; Lead facilitator and president, Ann Arbor’s Parkinson’s Support Group
Claudia Marshall—Research Partnership Assistant, Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
Helen Matthews—Trust Coordinator, The Cure Parkinson’s Trust
Dr. Soania Mathur—Parkinson’s disease advocate; Patient Council member, Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
Samuel Ng—President and co-founder, Perak Parkinson’s Association (Malaysia)
Dr. Jon Palfreman— Award-winning author, journalist and documentary film producer
Eli Pollard—Executive Director, World Parkinson Coalition
Israel Robledo—Parkinson’s Movement Steering Committee member
Ron Rutkowski—Parkinson’s disease advocate
Dr. Peter Schmidt—CIO and Vice President, Research and Professional Programs—National Parkinson Foundation
Dr. Jon Stamford—Director and co-founder of Parkinson’s Movement
Ryan Tripp—Canadian ambassador for the World Parkinson Congress
Dr. Claire Stephenson—Research Support Network Manager, Parkinson’s UK
Bill Wilkins—Charter member, Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research Patient Council; charter member, Emory University’s Morris K. Udall Center of Excellence for Parkinson’s Disease Research Community Outreach Board
Peggy Willocks—World renowned Parkinson’s ambassador and clinical trial participant; assistant director, Parkinson’s Action Network-Tennessee
Richard Windle—Research Support Network Advocate, Parkinson’s UK
Rallying to the Challenge is hosted in conjunction with U.K.-based Parkinson’s research organization The Cure Parkinson’s Trust, and Parkinson’s Movement, a global task force of influential patient advocates committed to demonstrating the value of proactive roles for people with Parkinson’s in the clinical trial arena.
“Rallying to the Challenge represents a rare opportunity for key people with Parkinson’s from around the world to pool resources and to establish innovative ways to help accelerate progress in clinical trials for Parkinson’s,” said Tom Isaacs, co-founder of The Cure Parkinson’s Trust and Parkinson’s Movement. “The meeting will also give us a chance to discuss these ideas with the scientific community so that the barriers to development on new therapies can be overcome without delay.”
Rallying to the Challenge will be held during VARI’s Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease symposium on September 24-25 at Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids, Mich. Registration for Grand Challenges is open until Sept. 15. Registration for Rallying to the Challenge is currently closed. Please contact Kim Cousineau at Kim.Cousineau@vai.org or at 616.234.5684 for more information.
For more information on Rallying to the Challenge and Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease, please visit www.grandchallengesinpd.org.