Karen Frank

St. Louis, Missouri

Karen was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at age 47 in 2018. Following her diagnosis, Karen had to retire from her beloved career as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist because of the challenges Parkinson’s presented when performing her job. Her unexpected early retirement opened the door for her to follow her passion to help others overcome challenges in their own lives.

No stranger to overcoming adversity, Karen proudly maintains longstanding sobriety after overcoming drug and alcohol addiction many years ago. Her own recovery experience set her on a path to become a peer advisor to other medical professionals experiencing similar life challenges.

Karen now spends her time helping physicians and nurses who struggle with substance abuse. She is an active public speaker with the Missouri Physician Health Program and the Missouri State Medical Association where she speaks to groups of physicians about overcoming trauma and adversity and recovering from substance abuse within the medical profession. Karen started New Directions Coaching, where she mentors physicians and nurses who battle addiction, alcoholism, and other disorders.

Karen brings this same passion for living well in her recovery to living well with Parkinson’s. She now serves as an Ambassador for the Davis Phinney Foundation and thrives when helping others embrace living well with Parkinson’s. More recently she has begun coaching people with Parkinson’s to improve their lives as they navigate living with chronic illness. Karen also formed and leads a YOPD support group for the St. Louis Chapter of the American Parkinson’s Disease Association.

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