The Parkinson Pandemic: A Call to Action

Parkinson's Advocacy

The Davis Phinney Foundation is dedicated to funding research to improve quality of life for people living with Parkinson’s. We are proud to have supported work by two prominent researchers: Dr. E. Ray Dorsey of The University of Rochester who has studied and implemented the use of telemedicine to improve access to care, and Dr. Bastiaan Bloem of Radboud University who has shown the positive effects of aerobic exercise for people with Parkinson’s.

Drs. Dorsey and Bloem recently co-authored an important article in the Journal of the American Medical Association outlining an impending increase in the number of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s, which they have termed “The Parkinson Pandemic.”

The article references data that predicts the world’s future population of people with Parkinson’s will double from 6.9 million in 2015 to 14.2 million in 2040. Parkinson’s is the fasting growing neurological disorder and a leading cause of disability in the world.

To address this growing health issue, the authors suggest ways that individuals, including people with Parkinson’s, can help fight the pandemic. For example, advocacy from people with Parkinson’s and caregivers can influence policies to increase access to care and affordable medications as well as to push for increased government funding for Parkinson’s. Today the National Institutes of Health devotes approximately $3 billion to HIV research while Parkinson’s, which affects about half the number of Americans as HIV, receives less than $200 million.

Based on increasing evidence that environmental influences, such as pesticides, contribute to the disease, Dorsey and Bloem support reducing and restricting use of these chemicals to help stem the spread of Parkinson’s. Increasing evidence also points to the importance of positive behavior change in managing Parkinson’s. In particular, exercise has been shown to have benefits to people with Parkinson’s, an area of research the Davis Phinney Foundation continues to strongly support.

We encourage you to join us in rallying behind this call to action by making the voices of the Parkinson’s community heard in support of increased federal funding for basic and quality of life research as well as increasing access to care. We can all do our part by advocating and embracing a healthy lifestyle, which includes exercise, to lessen the current and future impact of Parkinson’s. 


It’s not as difficult as you may think to make your voice heard. Call your congressional representative or senator at their local office or in their Washington, D.C. office. Some also maintain satellite offices around the state. All members of Congress can also be contacted by email, and most maintain a social media presence, as well. Visit for a complete list of elected officials and how to contact them. Be active and be connected, you can make a difference today. 

Share this post on social:

To receive our electronic newsletter and other updates, sign up now.

Related Posts

Back to top