Parkinson’s Foundation and VA to Host Online Program for Veterans with Parkinson’s Disease

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MIAMI & NEW YORK – February 9, 2021 – The Parkinson’s Foundation and the U.S Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA), Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center will host a virtual symposium on Veterans and Parkinson’s Disease: What You Need to Know, Saturday, March 20, 2021 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EST. This online program will help veterans with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and their loved ones understand the latest treatment advances and available resources through the VA and Parkinson’s Foundation. The event is open to all veterans with PD across the U.S., in addition to care partners, family members, healthcare professionals and the broader PD community.

PD is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder in the U.S. after Alzheimer’s disease. Out of the one million people living with PD, it’s estimated that 110,000 are veterans. While the exact cause of PD is unknown, research suggests that its cause can be linked to genetic and environmental factors. In some cases, a Parkinson’s diagnosis can be linked to agent orange or other herbicide exposure from a veteran’s military service.

“We understand that most people with Parkinson’s develop symptoms at 50 years of age or older. As the population ages, so will the number of Americans living with Parkinson’s – including veterans,” said John L. Lehr, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Parkinson’s Foundation. “Serving those who have served our country is a priority of the Parkinson’s Foundation and we’re honored to partner with the VA to provide this online program to help veterans live better with Parkinson’s disease.”

This program will feature Parkinson’s disease and mental health experts from the Parkinson’s Foundation, Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, and other VA Medical Centers across the southeast. Participants will also hear from veterans who are currently living with PD. Topics include PD treatment and care, with a special focus on non-motor symptoms like anxiety and depression, interdisciplinary care through the VA, Parkinson’s Foundation and VA resources and caregiver support.

“Our VA understands the importance of partnerships, like the one with the Parkinson’s Foundation, to provide additional health care resources, support and opportunities for our veterans,” said Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center Director Scott Isaacks. “We are excited to host this first-of-its-kind event and continue helping our veterans with Parkinson’s.”

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Parkinson’s Foundation recently announced a partnership to improve the health, well-being and quality of life of veterans living with PD. This partnership will help expand awareness of VA and Parkinson’s Foundation resources provided to veterans with PD.  

“As a veteran with Parkinson’s disease, it’s important that I’m empowered with as much knowledge as possible so that I can better manage my Parkinson’s disease,” said Jay Phillips, a veteran with PD and Parkinson’s Foundation volunteer. “This online program is a valuable tool for all veterans with PD who have questions about the research, care and resources available to our community.”

This virtual program is open to people with Parkinson's, their family, friends and the community. There is no charge to attend, but registration is required. Register at www.parkinson.org/sevets or call 770-450-0792.

About the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center
The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center is a tertiary care teaching hospital providing the highest-level quality complex care from cardiology to neurology to primary and mental health care for approximately 80,000 Veterans along the South Carolina and Georgia coast. The medical center includes six community-based outpatient clinics, a 20-bed nursing home, women’s health, and the full range of inpatient and outpatient care, including medical and surgical intensive care. For more information, visit www.charleston.va.gov.

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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 $400 million in Parkinson’s research and clinical care. Connect with us on Parkinson.org, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or call (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). 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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