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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.

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