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Advocate for Research

Get involved in PDF's Parkinson's Advocates in Research (PAIR) program to help change research.

Hear the latest from PDF Research Advocates Todd and Paul, as they report from November's Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington, DC.


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 bring about better treatments at a faster pace 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.

  • 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 frontlines of research.


Get Involved: In-Person Trainings

The cornerstone of the PAIR program is a national network of more than 230 Research Advocates touched by Parkinson's from 44 states who are actively changing how research is done by:

  • Speeding drug development;
  • Increasing trial participation; and
  • Informing the Parkinson's community

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 five hours a month to research advocacy work.

Find a Training

Learn About Our Advocates


Get Involved: Take the Online Course

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 Started

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's trained Research Advocates are available to provide insights on your studies, increase study participation and bring the latest research information to your Parkinson's community. Contact us today to find Research Advocates in your community.

Contact Us


Background Information

Parkinson’s affects nearly one million people in the United States.  Although promising research is being conducted, there is neither a cure for Parkinson’s, nor are there medications that can reverse its course.  This is due in part to delays in clinical trials testing new medications, which can take several years to complete.  PDF believes that to speed this process, people with Parkinson’s must be primary partners in research alongside researchers, government and industry. 

Only people with Parkinson's and care partners know what it’s like to live with Parkinson’s disease. It’s important that researchers hear what they have to say. For example, PDF Research Advocates can raise issues that are all too often overlooked, and help to identify and solve barriers to Parkinson’s research. Most importantly, the presence of Research Advocates reminds scientists of the urgency to find new treatments and a cure for Parkinson’s as soon as possible.



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.