Episode 50: Encountering Gender Differences: Women and PD Initiative

Given the differences women may encounter when dealing with their Parkinson’s Disease (PD), the Parkinson’s Foundation is leading the first national effort to address gender disparities in Parkinson’s research and care as part of an overall Women and PD Initiative. The Women and PD Teams to Advance Learning and Knowledge project (Women and PD TALK, for short) aims to develop new patient-centered recommendations to improve the health of women living with PD.

Over the two-year term of the project, a national network of ten sites is engaging experts in the patient, research, and health care communities to identify women’s needs, prioritize solutions, and create the recommendations. Using these insights, the Parkinson’s Foundation and leadership teams will develop action plans to improve Parkinson’s care for women. In this podcast, Megan Feeney, a Senior Manager in the Community Engagement Department of the Parkinson’s Foundation, and Jessica Shurer, Clinical Social Worker and Center Coordinator of the Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, discuss the reasons for the project, the personnel involved in it, how it will run, and its goals. While the project is just starting, it is already producing actionable insights.

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About This Episode

Released: March 12, 2019

Megan Feeney, MPH

Megan Feeney, M.P.H. is Senior Manager, Community Engagement at the Parkinson’s Foundation. In this role, she manages several national patient leadership programs that engage the community in addressing critical unmet needs in Parkinson's. She manages the Women and PD Initiative, an innovative program that addresses long-standing gender disparities in Parkinson's. Within the Women and PD Initiative, her team received a $250,000 Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Engagement Award titled, Women and PD Teams to Advance Learning and Knowledge (Women and PD TALK). Throughout her work, Megan collaborates closely with people with Parkinson’s, care partners, allied health professionals, researchers and industry representatives to promote patient engagement and involvement in Parkinson’s research and care. She received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Master of Public Health from the New York University, School of Global Public Health.

Jessica Shurer, MSW, LCSW

Jessica Shurer is the Center Coordinator and Clinical Social Worker of the Movement Disorders Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence and a CurePSP Center of Care. She graduated from Penn State University with a bachelor’s in psychology and minors in Human Development & Family Studies and Gerontology. She received her Master of Social Work from UNC Chapel Hill in 2012, where she also obtained a Certificate in Aging and was a participant in the Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education. In her current role, Ms. Shurer works as a team with the movement disorders specialists to address patient and care partner psychosocial needs, mood and coping, as well as offers short-term problem-solving counseling and connection to community resources. In addition, Ms. Shurer works to grow a referral network of Parkinson’s-specialized rehabilitation clinicians across the state, coordinates two specialty interdisciplinary clinics, one for Parkinson’s and one for atypical Parkinsonism disorders, facilitates both the Chapel Hill Parkinson’s support group and a PSP & CBD support group, and organizes educational programs for patients and care partners.

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