A primary focus of our Healthy Parkinson’s Communities™ initiative is to increase leaders’ capacity to change how people live with Parkinson’s in their local areas. We do this by providing leaders with professional development opportunities to build knowledge and skills that support this work and by encouraging them to build relationships that lead to the exchange of ideas and a shared purpose.
We recently had the pleasure of gathering more than 100 of these leaders in Kansas City, MO, for two and a half days to do exactly that.
As a result of our Healthy Parkinson’s Communities Leadership Conference, 90% of attendees said they made new connections that will support their work in the Parkinson’s community, and 100% said they felt a sense of community and belonging with other Parkinson’s community leaders.
“Thank you to the staff for creating a safe space and environment to allow us to share and have these amazing and hard conversations with others.” – Attendee
It reminded us that while recent years have demanded we connect in productive and inclusive ways online (and we will continue to do so), it is still vital that we gather in person. There’s a depth of understanding we gain while face-to-face with each other that we simply can’t mimic online. Therefore, we will continue to invest in this as part of what we provide to our volunteer leaders. Next year, we’ll host the event in Minneapolis, MN, and we have plans to expand our offerings to include a Hispanic Leadership Conference in Phoenix, AZ, at the end of the year.
“The event was very enriching. I had the opportunity to meet so many people who share my vision and passion – connections that will improve the work I/we are doing.” – Attendee
As we looked around the room in September, we couldn’t help but marvel at how the initiative has grown over the years. For example, when we first gathered leaders for a training in Portland in 2016, we could fit around one table. Now, we pull people from nearly every state, Canada, and beyond, and these individuals are tackling issues from expanding local exercise and wellness resources to addressing health disparities. We are grateful to the sponsors and donors who have helped us grow this initiative over the years, especially our event sponsors Charco Neurotech, Acorda, Neurocrine, and the Rosina K. Sapir Fund supported by Louisana Walks for Parkinson’s.
If you want to learn more about this work or how you and your community can get involved, visit our HPC website at HealthyParkinsonsCommunities.org.
You can also immediately impact this work by donating to our annual giving campaign! All gifts will be matched up to $100,000 – double your impact by giving today.