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National Parkinson Foundation Expands Expert Care Network in Italy

MIAMI — The National Parkinson Foundation (NPF), a division of the Parkinson’s Foundation, announced today a new partnership with the Fresco Institute Italia to improve the quality of Parkinson’s care in Italy. The NPF Center of Excellence global network embodies the world’s leading Parkinson’s specialists focused on changing the course of Parkinson’s disease (PD). 

“The NPF Center of Excellence program is more than just a designation, it represents a philosophy of care that focuses on achieving the best we can for patients today while working to improve care for tomorrow,” said Peter Schmidt, NPF’s Senior Vice President and Chief Mission Officer.  “Working with the Fresco Institute Italia, we hope to bring this philosophy of the best care for people with Parkinson’s today to the centers guiding care in Italy.”

NPF Centers of Excellence are designated after a rigorous application and peer-review process. They collaborate on a program of continuous improvement through the Parkinson’s Outcomes Project, the largest clinical study of Parkinson’s ever conducted. This network of over 40 academic medical centers link cutting-edge research to exemplar patient-focused clinical care.  By linking research and care, the Centers of Excellence network is both a proving ground for new therapies and creating the evidence that guides the care that today’s patients receive. The network reflects NPF’s ongoing commitment to promoting greater access to expert care.

Working together, NPF and Fresco Network leadership will develop and launch programs to improve patient outcomes in Italy that builds upon the unique insight and expertise of Parkinson’s experts in Italy together with leading clinicians from around the world.

“Bringing together our great teams offers us the opportunity to share our visions in developing a comprehensive plan to improve care in Italy, and also to share our unique insight with the world-wide NPF network,” said Paolo Fresco, Founder of the Fresco Institute Italia.

NPF’s Center of Excellence network features world-renowned Parkinson’s specialists focused on reaching across patient and professional communities to change the course of Parkinson’s disease. The network serves more than 100,000 individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s. In order to participate in the competitive designation process, centers must first meet strict criteria for research, comprehensive care, patient outreach services and professional education.  The NPF Center of Excellence network is widely credited with developing and promoting the modern Parkinson’s team model of care and ensuring patients the highest standards of care.

NPF brings all Centers of Excellence together annually to provide updates on care activities and research initiatives. Each NPF Center of Excellence must re-certify every five years in order to ensure that they maintain high standards of care. This process includes a review of achievements as well as a team-based peer evaluation including an on-site assessment.

About Parkinson's Disease (PD)

Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects nearly one million people in the US and over 10 million worldwide.  Parkinson's is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer's and is the 14th leading cause of death in the US.  It is associated with a 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.).  Although promising research is being conducted, there is currently no cure for Parkinson's disease.

About the Fresco Institute Italia

The Fresco Institute Italia was created in 2015 to coordinate the activities of Italian centers dedicated to research and treatment of movement disorders with the activities of the Fresco Institute at NYU Langone Medical Center. Its main aim is to build a network of excellence in Italy, creating highly qualified centers that meet the criteria established by the National Parkinson Foundation. This objective will be achieved through promotion of joint research projects, exchanges, transfer of scientific information and new clinical treatments, training opportunities for young neurologists and scientists who want to specialize in the field of Parkinson and movement disorders. The synergies and the collaborations that distinguish the Fresco Institute Italia were created thanks to the vision, passion and support of Paolo and Marlene Fresco. For information about the Fresco Institute Italia, visit

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