Webinar Series: Health Disparities and Parkinson’s

Presented in Partnership with Dance for PD®, a program of the Mark Morris Dance Group

We began our Health Disparities and Parkinson’s Webinar Series on August 6, 2020, as part of our commitment to understanding and working to change deeply rooted inequities in healthcare that black, brown, and indigenous communities; LGBTQ+; immigrant, and refugee communities; and people of color experience.

Sign up for the next webinar, watch the recording of our panelists, and learn more about the series below.

Webinar Recordings
Health Disparities and Parkinson’s: Inequities in Parkinson’s Research

This webinar was recorded live on December 2, 2020.

When it comes to advancements in the care and treatment of Parkinson’s, research is a key component to inform and influence the way therapies are trusted, adopted, prescribed, and followed. But what happens when access to participation in research and even the design of investigations neglects to consider a diverse audience?

In this conversation between Jonathan Jackson, PhD, and Nabila Dahodwala, MD, we will explored:

  • Why diverse participation in research matters
  • What researchers get wrong about designing and recruiting for diverse participation
  • What leaders in health disparities and Parkinson’s research are focusing on right now
  • What role research can play when it comes to changing equity and access to Parkinson’s care
Health Disparities and Parkinson’s: Understanding the Issue

This webinar was recorded live on August 6, 2020.

We will begin this series by identifying what health disparities look like in the Parkinson’s community. Our expert panelists, who have extensive experience in research, medical care, hospital management, community outreach, and community programming, will help define the problem and share their experiences to help us root our understanding and identify future actions.

In this webinar, our panel will discussed:

  • The definition of health disparities
  • The personal and professional experiences that led them to do this work
  • Their experience observing and then implementing efforts that have shown promise to change this issue
  • Their call to action for all of us – where they see the most urgent needs and when, where, and how we can help bring about change
About the Series

Black, brown, and indigenous communities; LGBTQ+; immigrant and refugee communities; and people of color experience disproportionate inequities in healthcare. In the Parkinson’s world, we know that the people we see at events, classes, support groups, and programs do not fully represent our nation’s diversity, no matter the demographics of the surrounding areas. For too long, many of us have noticed this, wondered why, and moved on.

But we recognize that this absence is not by accident. It is not by chance. It is the result of deeply rooted systemic health and cultural inequities. And we are not satisfied with merely noticing this absence. We want to understand it and change it.

Please join us for our Health Disparities and Parkinson’s Webinar Series, starting August 6, so we can begin to understand this issue better. We will learn from thought leaders and pioneers in this area so that we may see this problem more clearly and begin to understand how we can change our communities.

We express gratitude and acknowledge the work of the Black Lives Matter movement and the social justice work of countless others whose years of dedicated advocacy have led us all to this tipping point. We honor their work by doing our own.

Presented in partnership with:


Director, Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center, University of Pennsylvania

Founder and Executive Director of the Community Access, Recruitment, & Engagement (CARE) Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital

Director, MGH Neurology Diversity and Community Outreach Initiatives, Massachusetts General Hospital

Hispanic Outreach Coordinator, Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute

Altaf Saadi

General Academic Neurologist and Associate Director of Asylum Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital


Program Director, Dance for PD®, Mark Morris Dance Group, and Board of Directors, Davis Phinney Foundation

We are a community of learners. We are not here to come up with all the answers, but instead to be deeply curious. We are here to listen.

As ideas come to me, I will capture them. I will notice when I have only questions and no answers and capture these as well. I will take time to process what I learn today and consider how I can approach the world in ways that challenge the status quo, broaden the horizon, and create new pathways for my community.

Organizations recommended by our panelists addressing health disparities, social determinants of health, and more:

Families for Justice as Healing
“As a center, we have chosen to amplify the work of Families for Justice as Healing, a grassroots organization based in Roxbury, MA and led by incarcerated women, formerly incarcerated women, and women with incarcerated loved ones. Families for Justice as Healing leads advocacy, organizes in the most incarcerated communities in Massachusetts and works to end incarceration of women and girls through participatory defense, transformative justice, and legislation.”
– Jonathan Jackson

The Parkinson Council
“Our local Parkinson’s organization, The Parkinson Council, is spearheading an effort in Philadelphia to improve education and clinical care for underserved populations and reduce inequities in Parkinson’s care. From my experience, the most successful programs to reduce Parkinson’s disparities will need to be tailored to each community. This is the approach The Parkinson Council is taking to make change for Philadelphia.”
– Nabila Dahodwala

Physicians for Human Rights
“I have been working with Physicians for Human Rights as a medical expert for the past three years. I received training to become an asylum medicine practitioner through this organization—which was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1997—and now conduct both medical and psychological evaluations of asylum-seekers who have fled persecution, violence, or torture in their home countries. PHR supports a national asylum network of over 1700 clinicians. I have also conducted evaluations of conditions of confinement in immigration detention centers with the support of PHR (alongside other human rights organizations), as well as advanced research focused on asylum-seekers and the creation of safe spaces of immigrants in the healthcare context. This organization is meaningful to me because it promotes the use of evidence and forensic expertise to document human rights and humanitarian law violations and prevent abuses, protect survivors, and promote human rights.”
– Altaf Saadi


Additional organizations you might be interested in:

AARP Livable Communities

Asylum Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital

CARE Research Center

Diverse Elders Coalition


Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute

National Civic League