At our NYC Partners in Parkinson's event last weekend, one of the over 1,000 attendees asked how healthcare providers stay up to date on Parkinson's research and drug development when it seems like there is so much going on. This can certainly be a daunting task. Between caring for patients, completing paperwork and keeping up with professional requirements, it can be difficult to keep track of the field and get engaged in research.
To help, The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) has piloted efforts to educate busy practicing clinicians about ongoing research and ways in which they can partner with their patients to get involved. As part of this, MJFF hosts local gatherings for healthcare providers so we can learn about the challenges they experience with regard to participating in research. The most recent event was held in New York City on September 29. Participants represented multiple stakeholders in the Parkinson's community: a patient and loved one; physicians and physician-researchers (a movement disorder specialist, general neurologists and a neuropsychologist); a physical and exercise therapist and industry professionals.
Rachel Dolhun, MD, movement disorder specialist and vice president of medical communications at MJFF, first shared a Parkinson's research update. She spoke about symptomatic treatments in late-stage development and promising disease-modifying therapies, as well as progress toward biomarker discovery. A moderated panel discussion followed, featuring a physician-researcher movement disorder specialist, a person with Parkinson's who is an active research participant and a physical therapist with a specialty in neurology who conducts clinical research. The conversation focused on potential barriers healthcare providers face when it comes to engaging themselves and their patients in research; examples include time limitations, significant distance from trial sites (or associated transportation issues) or lack of awareness of opportunities for trial participation. Together, the group brainstormed possible solutions, including ways in which MJFF can help busy care providers stay informed of ongoing research and recruiting trials and provide them and their patients with educational resources.
If you are interested in getting involved in critical research to speed a cure, register for Fox Trial Finder.
For clinicians or healthcare providers looking for additional resources, visit our clinician webpage.