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Karen J. Smith
“It seems my life up to this point has uniquely qualified me for my new purpose with PDF's Advisory Council: to do what I can to help spread awareness of the disease and to voice the concerns of people with Parkinson’s who live in smaller communities where resources are not available.”
Ms. Smith is a former quality control specialist with Bristol Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Company.
After she was diagnosed with young onset Parkinson’s disease at age 42, she focused her time on advocacy in the Parkinson’s community. In 2012, Ms. Smith was selected to serve on PDF’s People with Parkinson’s Advisory Council and in 2014, she was elected Vice Chair. In this role, she continues to help guide PDF’s programs and represents PDF in the community. In addition to volunteering as a PDF Research Advocate, she is also a committee member of PDF’s Women and PD Initiative, the first national coordinated effort dedicated to improving the health and well-being of women living with Parkinson’s.
In these roles, among her many activities, Ms. Smith works to educate both health care professionals and people living with Parkinson’s about the disease. She has presented to nursing students at local universities, partnered with libraries, formed and facilitated a young onset Parkinson’s disease support group and has organized fundraisers for PDF.