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A Fresh Look at PDF

Robin A. Elliott, Executive Director

Sometimes sprucing up the way an organization looks is just that-modernizing a design, updating a typeface, freshening a color combination. At other times, the process reflects a deeper rethinking of what the organization is all about: its goals, its programs, its operating style. The recasting of PDF's "image"-our new logo-is of the second kind. As PDF approaches the anniversary of its half-century (2007), we are busy recasting our programs and our style, and we want to invite you-our readers, friends and contributors-to share in that process.

For more than a year now, our Board of Directors has been asking itself an important question: how can we work smarter, better and more effectively to advance the cure for Parkinson's and to help raise the quality of life for those who live with Parkinson's today? Our discussion has centered on four principles-each of which, in a different way, is reflected in the shape, color, design and text of our new corporate identity.

First, identify your strengths. For PDF, our oldest and greatest strength has been the movement disorder program at Columbia University, the world's most venerable and influential center for Parkinson's research and leadership training. Our commitment to the excellence of Columbia's leadership and programs is as solid today as it was when William Black founded the organization in 1957. And we are building on this experience, by supporting additional centers at Rush University in Chicago and Cornell-Weill Medical Center in New York.

In our new corporate identity, this commitment to the good science is reflected in the simple dignity of the bold, solitary tulip, a symbol of birth and re-birth and in a restrained tone of green, our accent color.

Second, seek opportunities to build on those strengths. Our expertise in scientific research gives us a solid base for developing authoritative informational materials-publications, audiovisual media and the website-to serve the Parkinson's community. Our aim is to provide the best and most accessible portfolio of materials on managing Parkinson's. By early fall, we expect to have completed a whole new line of such materials-stay tuned!

Another area of opportunity is working to increase participation in clinical trials. No new therapy will make its way into the medicine cabinets of PD patients unless the community participates sufficiently in the research that makes these interventions possible. At last count, less than one-half of one percent of the people with Parkinson's were participating in trials. This has prompted a new initiative which we have dubbed "Advancing Parkinson's Therapies" (APT): a community-wide initiative to increase public awareness, raise participation rates and help to accelerate the drug development process (see APT article).

This commitment to people, to the people who live with Parkinson's, is visually reflected in the gold of our tulip-the color of the warming sun, the comfort and inspiration of brightness and hope.

Third, learn to collaborate, then collaborate more. We need to learn to work with those of our colleague organizations that are doing important work in research, in patient services, in public advocacy. This means supporting our colleagues in areas in which they have special expertise-for example, our support of the Parkinson's Action Network in public advocacy and our joint ventures with the Michael J. Fox Foundation in certain areas of research.

It also means inviting other organizations to join with us in our own ventures. A leading example of this collaboration is our new initiative to coordinate a World Parkinson Congress, scheduled for Washington, D.C., in February of 2006. The event will be a great opportunity both to share information on everything from basic science to so-called "quality-of-life" issues and to inspire action through in-creased public visibility and awareness.

In our corporate identity, this commitment to collaboration is expressed in the very idea of the tulip-for many years now the symbol of Parkinson's in places as disparate as Australia, Europe and Canada, and now being introduced in the United States as the PDF logo.

Finally, look your best! We come back to where we began. Our "new look" is an attempt to put a graphic, colorful face on these aspirations I have just described. Our insignia, the tulip, is a sign of life and a symbol that is used widely throughout the Parkinson's community around the world. Our new colors, a regally-dark green and a rich gold, symbolize our "go-ahead" spirit. Our slogan-"hope through research, education, advocacy"-represents, in capsule, all that we do as an organization to serve the Parkinson's community, and is reflected in the three segments of the tulip emblem, each one representing one of the three dimensions of hope.

We hope you like it. We thank you for all you have done to support our work in the past. And we invite you to join us on the next stage of our journey to ending Parkinson's. May that journey be quick.