Webinar Series: Raising Awareness and Hope in the Black and African American Parkinson’s Community

Session One: Thursday, January 19 @ 11 am MST
Session Two: Thursday, February 16 @ 11 am MST
Session Three: Monday, April 24 @ 11 am MDT/10 am MST

In 2021, PD Movers invited a group of Black and African Amercian individuals with Parkinson’s and their care partners to develop an educational guide for Parkinson’s designed specifically for the Black and African American community. This group of “movers” includes doctors, researchers, and teachers from Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) and Teachers College, Columbia University. What came from those initial gatherings is a beautiful storybook filled with narratives of African American and Black individuals and care partners who are living and thriving with Parkinson’s. 

During this series of webinars, you will get to meet the “movers” of this storybook and advocacy coalition and learn how they have been removing the mysteries and misconceptions of Parkinson’s in their communities through storytelling and more. 

Session #1 - PD Movers: A Tool for Building Trust, Awareness, and Empowerment in the Black and African American Community

Session #2 - The Power of Story: On Using Narratives in the Black and African American Community to Connect and Inspire Those Affected by Parkinson’s

Session #3 - The Role of Faith-Based Leaders in Health Promotion and Outreach in the Black and African American Community.


Claudia Martinez headshot
Dr. Claudia Martinez

Dr. Martinez is the Hispanic Community Engagement Manager at the Foundation. She worked with underserved communities as a primary care physician for about 10 years and was the primary care partner for her father during the years that he lived with Parkinson’s. She also ran the Hispanic Outreach Program at the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center for 15 years. Claudia is passionate about building collaborations, sharing resources, and empowering the underserved Hispanic Parkinson’s community. 

Claudia will be joining us for all three webinars.

Wendy Lewis headshot
Wendy Lewis, MNPL

Wendy Lewis is the Chief Executive Officer at The Parkinson Council. Since her tenure, The Parkinson Council has re-invested over $5.5 million into the Greater Philadelphia region for research, comprehensive care, and quality of life initiatives.

Wendy will be joining us for the first and third webinars.

Robynn Moraites Headshot

Hiral Shah, MD

Dr. Hiral Shah is an assistant professor of neurology at Columbia University Medical Center in the Division of Multispecialty Neurology. Dr. Shah is most interested in learning how to overcome barriers of stigma and discrimination to improve care access for vulnerable individuals who suffer from mental health conditions and neurodegenerative disorders. This includes the assessment of cognition and mental health among those with neuropsychiatric conditions.

Hiral will be joining us for all three webinars.

Nia Mensah Headshot

Nia Mensah, PT, DPT, PCS

Nia Irene Toomer-Mensah advocates for children with disabilities and has been working with the pediatric population for over fifteen years. She is the Assistant Director of Clinical Education and Associate Professor at Long Island University Brooklyn's entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. Her areas of interest include physical activity measures and implementation, aquatic therapy, neuroplasticity, utilizing outcome measures, and motor skill acquisition for children with cerebral palsy and other brain-injured populations. Dr. Mensah is a board-certified specialist in pediatrics and is a certified practitioner of Neurodevelopmental Treatment (NDT), which promotes critical thinking and strategic recruitment of muscles to improve function through play for children and adults with neurological deficits. Dr. Mensah's most celebrated achievements include serving the Harlem and global community via medical outreach to underserved communities in Ghana, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Trinidad, and South Africa. She is currently a PhD candidate at Teachers College Columbia University, studying Kinesiology within the Motor Learning Program.

Nia will be joining us for the third webinar.

Nia Mensah Headshot

Randell Pearson

Randell Pearson is an independent illustrator and graphic designer with over four decades of professional experience in both the corporate and private sectors. He has garnered awards from the Art Directors Club of New York, The Society of Illustrators (NYC), The Type Directors Club (NYC), and the Society of Publication Designers. His work has been exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum of Art and Parke-Bernet Galleries in New York City. He has received special recognition from the late Coretta Scott King, actress Jane Fonda, and America’s Cup winning sailor and businessman, Bill Koch, to name just a few of many notable individuals who have encountered and appreciated his work. Randell has run his own creative business, Pearson Designs, for 15 years. He resides and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Randell was the illustrator of PD Movers.

Nia Mensah Headshot

Bernard Coley

Mr. Coley is an executive with 50+ years of experience in the high technology Industry. He is also a Principal in Enable Your Vision, a firm that provides supplier diversity consulting to drive economic vitality for diverse businesses, corporations and the communities in which they reside. He is an experienced President & CEO with a demonstrated history of working in the information services, software development and internet industry. He is skilled in Management Consulting, High Tech Management, Nonprofit Organization Leadership, Strategic Planning, Strategy, Public Speaking, Financial Systems, and Fundraising. He is a business development professional with an AB in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University, an MBA from Stanford Business School, and a Doctor of Law (JD) from Stanford University Law School. He is an inventor and patent holder of the Time Sensitive Scheduling Data Delivery Network Patent. Mr. Coley has been a delegate on numerous international trade missions [China (2), Australia (14), UK (2), South Africa (2) & Canada]. Mr. Coley has received Distinguished Service Awards recognizing management leadership, community leadership and service contributions to his local community, Stanford University, and youth sports. He has served on many boards in senior leadership roles. He has a long career of volunteer work including community development projects, supporting the arts, youth development, business leadership development and facilitating/mentoring entrepreneurial development in underserved and indigenous communities. He is also an experienced facilitator and mediator. Currently, Mr. Coley is aiming his talents and time in support of those interested improving the lives of individuals and families impacted by Parkinson’s disease. He is a member of the Parkinson’s Foundation’s Research Advocates group and a Advisory Board member of the CA Chapter of the Parkinson’s Foundation. And finally, he is joining his wife, Denise in an outreach initiative to increase awareness of PD and PD resources in underserved communities of color. They co-chair a special interest group focused on bringing Black perspectives to PD research.

Bernard will be joining us for the first webinar.

Nia Mensah Headshot

Denise Coley

Denise Coley is the founder of Enable Your Vision, a firm that provides supplier diversity consulting to drive economic vitality for diverse businesses, corporations, and the communities in which they reside. Since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2018, she has been focused on a multidisciplinary approach: pulling together a team (medical, fitness (rock steady boxing, tai chi, personal training, yoga, etc.), myofascial therapy, sleep, breathing techniques, and support groups) to help navigate and manage the Parkinson’s journey.

Denise will be joining us for the first webinar.

Nia Mensah Headshot

Richard Huckabee

For Richard, it was a long journey to his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. After nine years of experiencing symptoms, several misdiagnoses, and even losing his job, he finally received a proper diagnosis. He feels strongly that there is no excuse for his prolonged diagnosis just because he, a young Black male, does not fit the typical PD profile of an “old white male.”

Richard will be joining us for the second webinar.

Nia Mensah Headshot

Kermit Smith

Kermit, a enthusiastic football coach and avid traveler, had his life upturned when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Through his faith and the help of a neurologist and psychologist, he finds the strength to continue doing what he loves.

Kermit will be joining us for the second webinar.

Sandra Collin Headshot

Sandra Coplin

Sandra Coplin is 66 years old and is living with Parkinson's and stage three chronic kidney disease. She was diagnosed with Parkinson's several years ago. Sandra is a proud member of PD Movers and contributed to the PD Movers book, which tells their stories. Sandra credits faith and family as the motivations that keep her moving through any trial she encounters.

Sandra will be joining us for the third webinar.

Anita Parker Headshot

Anita Parker

Anita Parker is the Director of Community Outreach at St. Luke A.M.E. Church. She is also a licensed social worker with over 30 years of experience working in multicultural communities with individuals and families. Additionally, she is a member of the PD Mover’s. She has served on several community boards that address health disparities and social justice issues that impact communities of color.

Anita will be joining us for the third webinar.

Fredericka E. Waugh, MSW

Fredericka E. Waugh is the Faith Based Liason with The Parkinson Council, Diversity PD. She is responsible for collaborations between The Parkinson Council and faith-based institutions. Fredericka retired in May 2020 from the Alzheimer's Association, Delaware Valley Chapter, where she worked as the Associate Director of Diversity and Inclusion. Fredericka is currently the Program Coordinator and Lifestyle Change Coach for the CDC Diabetic Prevention Program, Prevent Type 2 Diabetes.

Fredericka will be joining us for the third webinar.

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