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Black and African American Connections to Parkinson's Disease (BLAAC PD)


This program seeks to expand understanding of Parkinson’s disease within the Black and African American community and contribute to a more holistic, global understanding of the disease.

The Black and African American Connections to Parkinson’s disease (BLAAC PD) study is seeking highly motivated research teams in the United States to join as a study site. 

BLAAC PD is an initiative of the Global Parkinson’s Genetics Program (GP2) in a dedicated effort to better understand the genetic basis of Parkinson’s disease (PD) among underrepresented populations by genotyping over 200,000 individuals from around the world. The study contributed to recent findings of a novel GBA1 variant in individuals with PD and African ancestry. 

BLAAC PD enrolls Black or African American individuals with PD and matched control volunteers during a single 1-hour study visit. The study team collects a biospecimen sample and completes questionnaires and a physical assessment with each participant. A copy of the BLAAC PD protocol is available upon request. All types of organizations (e.g., clinics, academic institutions, etc.) are invited to apply to be a study site. Applicants are encouraged to partner with local groups on a single application. Study teams will join an existing network of BLAAC PD sites across the United States and the GP2 global network. Learn more on the BLAAC PD website.

BLAAC PD sites receive funding to support:

  • Study visit costs (biospecimen collection, clinical evaluations, and physical assessment)
  • Supplies for blood sample collection and shipment (i.e., EDTA tubes, ice packs, shipping containers)
  • Community engagement strategies to support recruitment and address structural barriers/social determinants that impact participation 
  • Study team time (i.e., Project Lead/Principal Investigator(s) and Coordinator)
  • Participant incentives

Selected sites will also receive additional benefits and resources, including: 

  • The opportunity to be part of GP2, the largest PD genetics consortium in the world 
  • Virtual site activation and operational training and support 
  • Community engagement support from recruitment specialists 
  • Access to resources and media development support from The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (GP2’s implementation partner)
  • Frequent touchpoints and opportunity for collaboration with other BLAAC PD sites
  • GP2 resources and collaborative efforts, such as opportunity to join working groups, attend the GP2 Annual Investigators Meeting, and collaborate with researchers across the globe on analysis 
  • Raw genetic data generated from participants at your site 

BLAAC PD sites are expected to: 

  • Complete the IRB approval process (own institution or through partnership with an independent IRB) 
  • Have trained study team members who can deliver clinical exams, collect assessments (or get qualified to administer assessments), and perform a clinical exam to confirm a PD diagnosis
  • Dedicate time and personnel team to implement recruitment strategies and enroll participants
  • Enroll at least 5 participants per month for a minimum of 24 months
  • Have a dedicated space for sample storage and shipping

The BLAAC PD team will prioritize applications that include: 

  • Highly motivated and diverse teams
  • Geographic location(s) near Black or African American communities
  • Existing relationships with community leaders/organizations within Black and African American communities
  • Experience and/or partners experienced in community engagement 
  • Interest in research, including publishing research, within underrepresented populations

Pre-proposals will be reviewed based on the deadlines listed, then on a rolling basis after early August until all six site openings are filled. After review of pre-proposals, competitive applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal and to schedule a virtual meeting.

For more information about BLAAC PD, please visit our website: 

To receive emails about future funding opportunities, sign up here

Email Naomi Louie ( with any questions.

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