Call Our HELPLINE: 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636)

Parkinson’s Foundation and Melvin Yahr International Parkinson’s Disease Foundation Announce Merger

Parkinson’s Foundation Establishes ‘Dr. Melvin Yahr Research Award’ to Fund Neurology Fellows, Promote Leadership Diversity in Parkinson’s Research

MIAMI & NEW YORK — The Parkinson’s Foundation today announced its merger with the Melvin Yahr International Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. The foundation, based in New York, is named after Melvin D. Yahr, M.D., a pioneer in Parkinson’s disease (PD) research whose work led to the adoption of levodopa as a revolutionary new Parkinson’s treatment.

“The Parkinson’s Foundation is honored to pay tribute to the many contributions Dr. Melvin Yahr has made to the Parkinson’s community,” said John Kozyak, Esq., chairman of the Parkinson’s Foundation board of directors. “We are proud to continue our long-standing tradition of supporting the next generation of Parkinson’s researchers.”

The Parkinson’s Foundation will honor Dr. Yahr’s legacy by establishing the “Dr. Melvin Yahr Research Award” to promote leadership diversity in Parkinson’s research. The two-year grant will be awarded to one neurology fellow every other year with the intent to fund individuals who have been underrepresented in Parkinson’s research at academic institutions. The foundation also will establish individual “Congress Awards” to help cover travel costs to attend the Congress of the International Association of Parkinsonism and Related Disorders - World Federation of Neurology.

“Dr. Yahr was an expert on Parkinson’s disease whose name is known around the world,” said Lice Ghilardi, M.D., president of the Melvin Yahr International Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. “He has launched many careers in neurology and we are happy to carry on this tradition by funding scholars in his name.”

Dr. Yahr (1917-2004) graduated from New York University and its medical school. He served as Professor of Neurology and Associate Dean of Columbia University’s medical school. With funding from William Black to construct a new research building at Columbia, Dr. Yahr was appointed head of Columbia’s Parkinson’s research team and Scientific Director of the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, which was founded in 1957 by Mr. Black and has since merged with the National Parkinson Foundation to become the Parkinson’s Foundation.

One of Dr. Yahr’s major career achievements was the development of the Hoehn-Yahr scale in 1967, the first widely used PD rating scale that is still in use today. He published more than 300 scientific papers and helped found the specialty of movement disorders.

The merger is subject to the approval of the Attorney General or the Supreme Court of the State of New York.

About the Parkinson’s Foundation

The Parkinson’s Foundation makes life better for people with Parkinson’s disease by improving care and advancing research toward a cure. In everything we do, we build on the energy, experience, and passion of our global Parkinson’s community. For more information, visit, or call 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636).

About Parkinson’s Disease

Affecting an estimated one million Americans and 10 million worldwide, Parkinson’s disease is the second-most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s and is the 14th-leading cause of death in the United States. It is associated with a progressive loss of motor control (e.g., shaking or tremor at rest and lack of facial expression), as well as non-motor symptoms (e.g., depression and anxiety A feeling of nervousness, worried thoughts and physical distress.). There is no cure for Parkinson’s and 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States alone.

Thursday, October 26, 2017
Parkinson’s Foundation Adds John D. Thomopoulos to its Board of Directors
Monday, March 19, 2018

MIAMI & NEW YORK – March 19, 2018 – The Parkinson’s Foundation today announced the election of John D. Thomopoulos to its board of directors. Thomopoulos is a partner at Ernst & Young.

In Memory of Edythe Kay Marsa
Monday, March 12, 2018

The Parkinson’s Foundation mourns the loss of emeritus board member, Edythe (Edy) Kay Marsa. From 1993 to 2014, she was a member of the Foundation’s board of directors and served on several committees. Edy is survived by her husband William Marsa, who founded the Herbert Kay Parkinson Chapter in honor of her first husband who passed away due to complications from Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s Foundation Announces New Genetic Initiative Connecting Parkinson’s Genetic Data with Clinical Care
Tuesday, March 6, 2018

MIAMI & NEW YORK—March 6, 2018—The Parkinson’s Foundation today announced a new initiative offering genetic testing and counseling to Parkinson’s patients within its Center of Excellence network.

Delegates From The Parkinson’s Community Converge On Capitol Hill To Advocate For Critical Research Funding
Monday, March 5, 2018

—2018 Parkinson’s Policy Forum Co-Sponsored by the Parkinson’s Foundation and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research—

Parkinson’s Foundation Appoints Jena E. Abernathy to Board of Directors
Tuesday, February 27, 2018

MIAMI – February 27, 2018 –  The Parkinson’s Foundation today announced the election of Jena E. Abernathy to its board of directors.

Parkinson’s Foundation Moving Day Walks Fund Local Parkinson’s Programs in Seven Cities for Spring 2018
Friday, February 16, 2018

NEW YORK & MIAMI, FEBRUARY 16, 2018 — The Parkinson’s Foundation is proud to announce that Moving Day, A Walk for Parkinson’s, has funded more than $17 million in mission services to make life better for people living with Parkinson’s disease (PD).

Terranova’s Stephen Bittel Donates $450,000 to Parkinson’s Foundation to Support Expansion of Centers of Excellence Network
Thursday, February 1, 2018

MIAMI – February 1, 2018 – The Parkinson’s Foundation today announced that Stephen Bittel, chairman and founder of Terranova, has made a $450,000 donation to support the expansion of the foundation’s Centers o

Largest Clinical Study of Parkinson’s Disease Reaches 10,000-Patient Milestone, Reveals Critical Learnings
Wednesday, January 10, 2018

NEW YORK & MIAMI - January 10, 2018 - The Parkinson’s Foundation today announced the enrollment of the 10,000th Parkinson’s patient and the discovery of critical new learnings in what represents the largest clinical study of Parkinson’s disease in history.

Parkinson's Foundation Mourns the Loss of Harold P. Kravitz and His Daughter, the Honorable Shelley J. Kravitz
Friday, January 5, 2018

Today we mourn the loss of two prominent figures in the history of the Parkinson's Foundation: Harold P. Kravitz, Esq. and his daughter, the Honorable Shelley J. Kravitz.

Parkinson's Foundation Mourns the Loss of Robert Burke, MD
Friday, January 5, 2018

The Parkinson’s Foundation mourns the loss of Robert Burke, MD, professor of Neurology at Columbia University, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence. He was a former member of the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) Scientific Advisory Board and led the PDF Research Center at Columbia.


mail icon

Subscribe to get the latest news on treatments, research and other updates.