Parkinson’s Nebraska RECEIVES A 2021 HEALTHY PARKINSON’S COMMUNITIES™ GRANT

Close up of hand holding television remote and watching television

The Davis Phinney Foundation is delighted to announce that Parkinson’s Nebraska has been named a 2021 recipient of our Healthy Parkinson’s Communities™ grants program.  

As an integral part of the Healthy Parkinson’s Communities initiative, the grants program aims to help us more fully realize our mission to help people with Parkinson’s live well today by funding programs and initiatives that are unique to the places and people they are designed to support, eliminating barriers, and expanding the possibility for all people to live well with Parkinson’s.  

Empowering Parkinson’s Communities

An initiative of Parkinson’s Nebraska, this project aims to address health disparities in Nebraska through statewide education and empowerment, with the goal of equitable access to Parkinson’s education and specialized care in rural areas. The organization plans to meet this goal through a NET Connects television program (in partnership with Nebraska’s statewide media service) and a robust community outreach program. These methods will help reach communities with limited internet access and ensure that all Nebraskans are aware of the symptoms of and strategies to manage Parkinson’s, as well as helping equip community leaders with the knowledge, tools, and resources to identify disparities and overcome local barriers. 

“The Net Connect program is part of the effort to make Parkinsons’s education more equitable in Nebraska,” says Dave Ciaccio, Board Chair of Parkinson’s Nebraska. “The program will provide a 30-minute television program for the ‘NET Connects’ series to be broadcast on the statewide, but it targets those in rural communities with limited internet access. NET is broadcast to 520,000 household subscribers and is viewed by more than one million Nebraskans each month in all 93 counties in Nebraska. This network program will eliminate the need to learn about Parkinson’s from the internet.” 

The project was inspired by a needs assessment led by the staff of Parkinson’s Nebraska and fellow wellness providers around the state. Working together, they surveyed many Nebraska communities in rural areas to better understand the limiting factors towards better education and wellness for people with Parkinson’s. They quickly discovered that the greatest limiting factor was the lack of high-speed internet connectivity. At the same time, they learned about the statewide public television network (NET Media). A solution was born: to use this highly watched public media to educate the greatest percentage of Nebraskans about Parkinson’s. 

Projected Outcomes 

The short-term goals of the “Empowering Parkinson’s Communities” project are to inform Nebraska’s Parkinson’s community that this educational resource will available in the spring of 2022. Through an announcement in their newsletter, social media, statewide press releases, and more, Parkinson Nebraska will share details about the program and let people around the state know what to look forward to.  

“To be able to produce an informative and interesting television program about a little-known subject matter is most exciting,” Ciaccio says.  

“The fact that this public television program will reach and educate those in rural areas who typically lack quality internet capabilities is very rewarding. Thanks to this grant by Davis Phinney Foundation, Nebraskans in rural areas may for the first time find hope in living with Parkinson’s.” 

Long-term, the project will help build a well-educated state who better understand the complexity of Parkinson’s, its symptoms, wellness activities to delay its progression, the benefits of a support group, and how caregivers can find meaningful resources. In short, Ciaccio says, the project’s goals are to foster to earlier diagnosis rates, healthier living, and a more educated Nebraska related to all things Parkinson’s. 

“Knowledge is power. The more knowledge we can provide those with Parkinson’s and their caregivers, the more they become empowered to help themselves and others. Helping others is fundamental to creating a healthy community.”
Dave Ciaccio, Parkinson’s Nebraska Board Chair 

Learn More about Our Healthy Parkinson’s Communities Initiative 

Healthy Parkinson’s Communities is an initiative led by the Davis Phinney Foundation to help support community leaders, volunteers, and advocates in the pursuit of making the places where we live, work, and play more inclusive and supportive for those living with Parkinson’s. Learn more here.

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