Parkinson’s Foundation Invests Additional $10 Million for Research, Care and Education Programs

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Funding focuses on reaching historically underserved Parkinson’s communities

MIAMI & NEW YORK, May 4, 2021 – The Parkinson’s Foundation today announced an additional $10 million investment in research, care and education programs to make life better for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD). This investment includes expanding PD GENEration: Mapping the Future of Parkinson’s Disease to the Hispanic and Caribbean communities which have been historically underrepresented in PD clinical trials. PD GENEration is a global initiative that provides genetic testing and counseling at no-cost to people with Parkinson’s in both English and Spanish.

This additional investment allows the Parkinson’s Foundation to focus on diversifying the PD population involved in this first-of-its-kind study. Through PD GENEration, the Parkinson’s Foundation is offering genetic testing and genetic counseling to 15,000 people with PD, many of whom could become ideal candidates for groundbreaking clinical trials for PD. The Foundation is also expanding its research grants by funding additional Impact Awards, which are designed for new and established researchers in PD.

“The Parkinson’s Foundation has a longstanding commitment to removing barriers to care, making research more inclusive, and ensuring that information and resources are accessible,” said James Beck, PhD, Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of the Parkinson’s Foundation. “Our goal is to diversify the participants in the PD GENEration study so that we can accelerate clinical studies, improve Parkinson’s research and care and empower all people with Parkinson’s – regardless of their background.”

Part of this funding will support expanded access to improved care in communities and care settings across the U.S. This investment is allowing the Parkinson’s Foundation to partner across our Centers of Excellence Network to advance the role of nurse practitioners in Parkinson’s care; accelerate palliative care as a new standard of wholistic, team-based care; and test new models of hospital care delivery to improve the health and safety of people with PD.

“We are investing an additional $10 million towards mission programs that will help make life better for people with Parkinson’s disease by improving care and advancing research towards a cure,” said John L. Lehr, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Parkinson’s Foundation. “Our donors and volunteers stood with us throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and after a record-setting year, we are now accelerating funding to areas that are most important to the PD community.” 

This additional investment also includes $2 million in funding for Parkinson’s Foundation community grants, more than half of which will serve diverse and underserved PD communities. Community grants are awarded each year for health, wellness and education programs that address unmet needs in the PD community. Recently funded local programs include accessible health and research education for diverse populations living with Parkinson’s in hard-to-reach communities and increasing awareness, education and support for the LGBTQ community living with Parkinson's.

To learn more about the Foundation’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, visit Parkinson.org/DEI. For more about the Foundation’s commitment to research, visit Parkinson.org/Research.

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About the Parkinson’s Foundation

The Parkinson’s Foundation makes life better for people living 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 www.parkinson.org or call (800) 4PD-INFO (473-4636).

About Parkinson’s Disease

Affecting nearly 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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