Advocate for Research

Despite promising research, there is neither a cure for Parkinson's nor are there medications to reverse its course. But there can be.

We can make research more efficient and effective by ensuring that people with Parkinson's and care partners are primary partners in research alongside scientists, industry and government. As a signature program of the Parkinson's Disease Foundation (PDF), Parkinson's Advocates in Research (PAIR) is making this partnership a reality. We are bringing together the people who live with Parkinson's and the people who are developing new treatments.

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How PAIR Works

  • Through in-person trainings and an online course, the PAIR program provides people touched by Parkinson's with the knowledge and skills needed to pair up with scientists and health professionals.
  • By collaborating with research institutions, the PAIR program facilitates partnerships between Research Advocates and professionals at the front lines of research.

Get Involved: In-Person Trainings

The cornerstone of the PAIR program is a national network of Research Advocates around the US. Since 2008, the program has trained more than 280 people with PD and care partners as Research Advocates, preparing them to work on the frontlines with the professionals seeking better treatments for their disease. Research Advocates are changing research by:

  • Prioritizing research;
  • Improving studies; and
  • Influencing stakeholders.

All PDF Research Advocates have completed a three-day training program, one of PDF's Learning Institutes, during which they are trained by leading experts from the field about the science of Parkinson’s and the development of new treatments.  (See our curriculum here).  Each person who completes a Learning Institute takes on the role of PDF Research Advocate.

The training is just the beginning of a Research Advocate's work and PDF's support of his or her advocacy. The entire network works closely with PDF staff and each other to identify advocacy opportunities, participate in ongoing education, share resources and network.

We recommend these trainings to individuals who can commit at least two to three hours a month to research advocacy work.

Find a Training

Learn About Our Advocates

Coming in 2018

Are you interested in playing your part in changing research, but have decided that an in-person training is not an option right now?

There's still a way to get involved. Take the PAIR online course, which offers the core components of our in-person trainings from the comfort of home.

When you complete the online course (approximately four hours of coursework), you will receive a certificate via email. You will then have the opportunity to work closely with PDF Research Advocates, PDF staff and local research centers to find ways to advance Parkinson's research in your community.

We recommend this course to anyone touched by PD.

Get Involved: I'm a Research/Health Care Professional

Are you a doctor, research professional, scientist, clinical trial coordinator or support group leader? We welcome your interest in this program. PDF can help to connect you with trained Research Advocates that are available to collaborate on study development and implementation by providing insights on your study, increasing study participation and bringing the latest research information to your Parkinson's community. PDF can also work with you in developing your patient engagement strategy.  Contact us today to find Research Advocates in your community.

Contact Us


If you would like to learn more about this program or if you would like to speak with PDF about partnering with a Research Advocate at your institution, clinical study or support group, please call (800) 457-6676 or email If you would like to learn more about future training dates, please visit our Learning Institute page.