In addition to the funding The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) provides for researchers working toward a cure for Parkinson’s, the federal government also funds research and supportive care through several channels.
Two that are timely right now, and where we are working toward an increase, are within the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
At the Department of Defense:
As part of a multi-year effort, MJFF advocates asked Congress to increase Parkinson’s research funding at the DoD. The DoD houses the only government-funded research program specifically dedicated to investigating the links between Parkinson’s disease (PD) and military service. It’s called the Parkinson’s Research Program (PRP), and we’re asking Congress to allocate $9 million in new funding to bring their budget up to $25 million. Annual funding has been stuck at $16 million for the past decade, and we think it’s time for a significant increase.
Members of Congress agree. So much so, they circulated what is called a “Dear Colleague” letter in the House and Senate to encourage all 535 members of Congress commit to working together to make this $9 million increase a reality. Our public policy team has been in meetings all year to lobby for this increase, and PD advocates from across the country urged their federal lawmakers to support it. Congress is telling us they need to hear from more people. Please continue reading to learn more and to lend your voice.
At the VA:
Veterans are the backbone of America, and they deserve the very best health care available. The VA estimates that 110,000 veterans have Parkinson’s, and that number is growing fast. The more veterans who serve overseas and are exposed to chemicals, open burn pits, and who experience traumatic brain injuries, the more veterans will be diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
We worked with Congress to include specific language in their budget report that asks the VA to substantially increase their investment in care for veterans with Parkinson’s. The good news is that they can easily do this through an existing system called the Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Clinical Centers (PADRECCs). We’ve assembled a remarkable team of leaders in the veteran, research and health care communities to make this happen.
In the coming months, we will need your help getting these initiatives over the finish line. Please sign up to be a part of our policy network so that you can receive updates on this and other critical issues that matter to people with and families with Parkinson’s.
Thank you for committing to be part of a movement toward change in the way the federal government funds research and supports the Parkinson's community.