Call Our HELPLINE: 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636)


Are you interested in sharing PD SELF (Self-Efficacy Learning Forum) with people newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) in your community? Browse answers to applicants’ most frequently asked questions to learn more about this innovative Parkinson’s Foundation health management program.

Applying to PD SELF

Q. Who is eligible to apply to the PD SELF Leader Training?
 Applications are open to teams of two individuals with experience leading groups. Teams must consist of one person with Parkinson’s and one PD professional. This team approach and co-equal leader combination — one living with PD and a second being a PD professional — is most successful.

  • If you are a person living with Parkinson’s: we recommend applying if you have experience in education or leading groups in your professional life or as a PD support group leader.
  • If you are a Parkinson’s professional: we recommend applying if you are a professional passionate about serving the newly diagnosed and working closely with a patient leader. We accept applications from a variety of professionals including (but not limited to) researchers, doctors, nurse practitioners and social workers.

Q. Is there a recommendation about the length of time that the person with PD who is applying as co-facilitator has been living with the disease?
Not specifically. However, the program requires someone who:

  • Understands all aspects of Parkinson’s disease
  • Models self-efficacious behaviors in terms of their own disease management
  • Has the energy and focus to manage the preparation and delivery of the program over time
  • Is highly effective in front of a group

Q. I am interested in PD SELF, but do not have a partner. What can I do?
If you are interested in PD SELF but do not have a partner, here are a few suggestions for finding the right person. If you are a person living with Parkinson’s, we recommend contacting local health leaders, such as nurses, movement disorder specialists, social workers or doctors, particularly those involved with local PD education. If you are a health professional, we recommend finding a leader in your community living with Parkinson’s (such as the leader of a support group that meets at your hospital or health facility).

Please remember that after the PD SELF Leader Training, we require you and your partner to work together co-facilitating PD SELF for three to nine months. We recommend discussing plans and potential timelines in advance.

If you still have not found a partner, Parkinson’s Foundation can offer limited assistance. Please contact us at Parkinson’s Foundation Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636) or and we may be able to provide assistance in some cases.

Q. What does the Parkinson’s Foundation look for in PD SELF Leader Training attendees?
Leaders will serve as models of self-efficacy behaviors and in the case of the leader with Parkinson’s, as a fellow person with Parkinson’s learning how best to manage the disease. While a solid grounding in Parkinson’s is important, equally important is the ability to establish a safe learning environment and the proven ability to lead highly interactive sessions engaging all participants.
Specifically, the Parkinson’s Foundation looks for:

  • Ability to lead interactive discussions with empathy and respect for others
  • Sensitivity to the differing needs of people newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s
  • Ability to model self-efficacious behaviors
  • A learning mindset
  • Ability to facilitate with a positive orientation
  • Ability to promote a team spirit
  • Proven organizational skills and sense of responsibility to others
  • Demonstrated ability to facilitate as a co-equal with another leader in order to maximize the skills and abilities of both

Because teams are expected to host PD SELF in their home communities, we seek teams that can attract sufficient numbers of people newly diagnosed with PD and have the financial means to support the monthly costs of room rental, material duplications, etc. (approximately $1,500 per program).

Q. If I need a caregiver’s aid on site, am I eligible to apply?
No. The demands of delivering a local program over the course of three to nine months is such that we do not believe those needing caregiver assistance are best suited for this role.

Q. What should I prepare before starting the online application process?
Please note: we require teams to complete one application. You can save the application so that you and your team member can come back to your work. The application requests similar information from both participants, including:

  • Your answers to a few short essay questions asking how you see your professional and/or volunteer experience fitting the leader competencies sought and the requirements of the program; how you are now involved in the Parkinson’s and local medical communities; and how you would go about reaching potential newly diagnosed participants for your program
  • A copy of your resume, or, if unavailable, a brief listing of your relevant positions and employers, volunteer experience and educational history
  • Two references, preferably one from a colleague who can comment on your performance in helping to lead groups, facilitate discussions, etc.

Q. When is PD SELF Leader Training application deadline?
The application period is now closed.

Attending PD SELF

Q. Does the Parkinson’s Foundation cover any PD SELF Leader Training expenses?
We cover the following expenses for those selected to attend PD SELF Leader Training: round-trip airfare to and from Denver, transportation to and from hotel, hotel accommodation and meals.

Q. What is the PD SELF Leader Training?
The three-day PD SELF Leader Training trains qualified teams to deliver the PD SELF (Self-Efficacy Learning Forum) program to people newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s in their local communities. PD SELF is an innovative disease management program that not only teaches information and skills, but also asks people to tap into their own power. Participants receive a PD SELF Field Guide with all elements of the nine-module curriculum, as well as the information, training and tools needed to lead the program. The training provides a supportive, retreat-like setting and adapts to the needs of each individual, team and community. We expect attendees to start their first SELF Program and to co-facilitate the monthly training over a three- to nine-month period following PD SELF Leader Training.

Q. What topics does PD SELF Leader Training cover?
A. Teams learn self-efficacy (which the program is based on) and program management foundations, and to facilitate PD SELF in their communities. Teams receive instruction on how to present topics such as building the health care team, symptom and medication management, nutrition, exercise and effective communication with health care professionals. We focus on facilitation and program management skills, while adapting to individual and local needs. We also thoroughly review the SELF curriculum. Optional personal coaching is available.

Q. PD SELF is based on the concept of self-efficacy. What is self-efficacy?
A. Self-efficacy is the confidence a person has in his or her ability to influence an outcome or be successful in achieving a result.

Q. Why is self-efficacy important?
Self-efficacy beliefs determine how people think, feel and motivate themselves. The health care field increasingly uses self-efficacy for its effectiveness helping people adopt healthier behaviors. Helping people strengthen self-efficacy beliefs, thereby positively influencing the management of their disease, is a central focus of PD SELF.

Q. Who will lead the sessions at the PD SELF Leader Training?
PD Patient Advocate Diane Cook facilitates sessions led by specialists in the fields of psychology, medicine, neuro-linguistic programming, facilitation and self-care. Diane is a person living with Parkinson’s, member emeritus of the Parkinson’s Foundation People with Parkinson’s Advisory Council, Parkinson’s Foundation Research Advocate and Co-Investigator for the 2013 PD SELF clinical trial A research study in humans that aims to test a new intervention – this could be a drug, surgery or therapy like exercise or diet guidelines – to make sure it is effective and safe..

Expectations and Opportunities for Attendees

Q. What volunteer commitments are expected of attendees following the PD SELF Leader Training?
Teams accepted to training must commit to offering PD SELF in their respective PD communities over the next year, over a three- to nine-month time period, depending on individual and community needs. The coursework totals 18 hours.
In addition, applicants are expected to assume responsibility for local program administration tasks, such as:

  • Engaging and briefing speakers
  • Emailing monthly reminders
  • Reproducing monthly meeting materials
  • Identifying, negotiating with and serving as liaison with meeting facility
  • Maintaining up-to-date participant information
  • Conducting periodic assessments

Q. Can I take PD SELF and insert it into my existing PD support group?
No. Existing support groups have already developed norms of behavior which may or may not be consistent with the norms we strive to set for the PD SELF groups. The positive results that we have seen from the PD SELF program are the result of creating, from the beginning, affirmative interactions among people within three years of a Parkinson’s diagnosis, through goal setting and planned activities specifically designed to enhance self-efficacy skills and behaviors.

Q. What if I’m setting up a new support group for people with Parkinson’s at all stages of the disease? Can I use the PD SELF program?
No. We designed the program specifically for those within three years of diagnosis. Engaging people who have had PD a number of years likely requires a different approach, since it may mean creating new behavioral patterns for those individuals to replace those they have developed over their years with PD.

Q. After attending the PD SELF Leader Training, will attendees receive ongoing support from the foundation?
PD Patient Advocate Diane Cook and Parkinson’s Foundation staff will be available for consultation and for facilitation of communication among attendees to create a collaborative environment that will support the success of participants moving forward with their work. It is up to the local communities to support the local program cost of room rental (if necessary) and material duplications (approximately $1,500 per program).

Please contact the Parkinson’s Foundation Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636) or with additional questions.

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