NEW YORK & MIAMI (June 6, 2023) — The Parkinson’s Foundation has received a grant from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation to expand genetic testing, genetic counseling and educational research opportunities for Black and African American people with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Through PD GENEration: Mapping the Future of Parkinson’s Disease, the grant supports efforts to increase community participation in research in collaboration with Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.
“We are grateful for the generosity of the Woodruff Foundation in helping us expand PD GENEration and provide further support to Black and African American people in the Parkinson’s disease community,” said Parkinson’s Foundation Chief Scientific Officer James Beck, PhD. “PD GENEration is designed to be inclusive and accessible to all populations and this grant allows us to elevate the study’s reach through our partnership with Morehouse.”
The initiative will provide free genetic testing and genetic counseling to Black and African American participants with PD, conduct educational seminars introducing the role of genetics in PD, and further empower people with PD by determining eligibility for relevant clinical trials. No two people with PD are identical, so ensuring participant diversity and inclusivity in research is critical to accelerating breakthroughs toward a cure.
Through PD GENEration, the Parkinson’s Foundation works to increase representation of marginalized population groups in research and aims to make no-cost genetic testing accessible to people with PD. Working in collaboration with Chantale Branson, MD, the first-ever movement disorder specialist at Morehouse School of Medicine, the Parkinson’s Foundation is committed to improving health disparities in the PD community.
“By making genetic testing, counseling, and education more accessible to Black and African American people with PD through this partnership, we hope to significantly improve clinical outcomes and increase research participation,” said Branson.
PD GENEration is a global genetics initiative that offers genetic testing for clinically relevant PD-related genes and genetic counseling at no cost for all people with PD. Genetic testing and counseling through PD GENEration are available in English and Spanish. Currently, participants are enrolled from all 50 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
Russ Hardin, president of the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, said: “The Woodruff Foundation is pleased to support the Parkinson’s Foundation and Morehouse School of Medicine as they join forces to extend promising genetic research to greater numbers of Parkinson’s patients in Georgia.”
To learn more about PD GENEration, call 1-800-4PD-INFO (1-800-473-4636) or email Genetics@Parkinson.org. For questions about PD GENEration enrollment at Morehouse, email ParkinsonStudy@MSM.edu or enroll directly by clicking here.
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. Since 1957, the Parkinson’s Foundation has invested more than $425 million in Parkinson’s research and clinical care. Connect with us on Parkinson.org, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or call 1-800-4PD-INFO (1-800-473-4636).
About Parkinson’s Disease
Affecting an estimated one million Americans, Parkinson’s disease is the second-most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s and is the 14th-leading cause of death in the U.S. 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). There is no cure for Parkinson’s and nearly 90,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the U.S.