Are you interested in sharing PD SELF with people newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s in your community?

Learn more by browsing answers to the questions most frequently asked by applicants. If you have remaining questions, please contact PDF at info@pdf.org.

[+] Applying to PD SELF

Q. Who is eligible to apply to the PD SELF Leader Training?

A. Applications are open to teams of two individuals with experience leading groups. Teams must consist of one person with PD and one PD professional

We have found that participants in the PD SELF program do best with team approach to facilitation. Further, we have found that it is best to utilize a team of two co-equal leaders, one with PD and a second being a PD professional.

If you are a person with PD: we recommend applying if you have experience in education or leading groups in your professional life or as a PD support group leader.

If you are a PD professional: we recommend applying if you are a professional passionate about serving the newly diagnosed and working closely with a patient leader. We accept applications from a variety of professionals including (but not limited to) researchers, doctors, nurse practitioners and social workers.

Please note: teams must submit only one application.

Q. Is there a recommendation about the length of time that the person with PD who is applying as co-facilitator has been living with the disease?

A. Not specifically. However, the program requires someone who:


  • Is extremely well educated in all aspects of Parkinson’s disease
  • Models self-efficacious behaviors in terms of their own disease management
  • Has the energy and focus to manage the preparation and delivery of the program over time
  • Is highly effective in front of a group

Q. I am interested in PD SELF, but do not have a partner. What can I do?

A. If you are interested in PD SELF but do not have a partner, here are a few suggestions for identifying the right person. If you are a person with PD, we recommend contacting local health leaders, such as nurses, movement disorder specialists, social workers or doctors, particularly those involved with local PD education. If you are a health professional, we recommend identifying a patient leader in your community, e.g., a leader of support group that meets at your hospital or health facility.

Please remember that after the PD SELF Leader Training, you and your partner will be expected to work together for three to nine months in co-facilitating PD SELF. We recommend initiating discussion about potential timelines and logistics in advance.

If you still have not identified a partner, PDF can provide limited assistance. Please contact us at info@pdf.org and we may be able to provide assistance in some cases.

Q. What does PDF look for in attendees for the PD SELF Leader Training?

A. Leaders will serve in the important role as models of self-efficacy behaviors and in the case of the leader with Parkinson’s, as a fellow person with Parkinson’s learning how best to manage the disease. While a solid grounding in Parkinson’s is important, equally important is the ability to establish a safe learning environment and the proven ability to lead highly interactive sessions engaging all participants.

Specifically, PDF looks for:

  • Ability to lead interactive discussions with empathy and respect for others
  • Sensitivity to the differing needs of people newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s
  • Ability to model self-efficacious behaviors
  • A learning mindset
  • Ability to facilitate with a positive orientation
  • Ability to promote a team spirit
  • Proven organizational skills and sense of responsibility to others
  • Demonstrated ability to facilitate as a co-equal with another leader in order to maximize the skills and abilities of both
  • Because teams will be expect to host PD SELF in their home communities, we seek teams that can attract sufficient numbers of people newly diagnosed with PD and have the financial means to support the monthly costs of room rental, material duplications, etc. (approximately $1,500 per program)

Q. If I require a care partner’s assistance on site, am I eligible to apply?

A. No. The demands of delivering a local program over the course of three to nine months is such that we do not believe those requiring care partner assistance are best suited for this role.

Q. What should I prepare before starting the online application process?

A. Please note: teams are asked to complete one application. The application can be saved, so you and your team member can both come back to your work. The application asks for similar information from both participants, including:

  • your answers to a few short essay questions asking how you see your professional and/or volunteer experience fitting the leader competencies sought and the requirements of the program; how you are currently involved in the Parkinson’s and local medical communities; and how you would go about reaching potential newly diagnosed participants for your program
  • a copy of your resume, or, if unavailable, a brief listing of your relevant positions and employers, volunteer experience and educational history
  • two references, preferably a colleague who can comment on your performance in helping to lead groups, facilitate discussions, etc.

Q. What is the application deadline for the PD SELF Leader Training?

A. Applications must be submitted by Monday, February 29.

Q. When can I expect to hear if I have been accepted to participate in the PD SELF Leader Training?

A. Applicants will be notified by Monday, March 14 of their application status.

[+] Attending PD SELF

Q. Will any expenses for the PD SELF Leader Training be covered by PDF?

A. For those who are selected to attend the SELF Leader Training, the following expenses will be covered: round trip airfare to and from Denver, CO, transportation to and from hotel, hotel accommodation and meals.

Q. What is the PD SELF Leader Training?

A. The PD SELF Leader Training is a three-day meeting which is designed to train qualified teams of individuals to deliver the PD SELF (Self-Efficacy Learning Forum) program to people newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s in their local communities. PD SELF is an innovative disease management program that not only teaches information and skills, but also asks people to tap into their own power to create a personal experience of living with PD. Participants will receive a PD SELF Field Guide containing all elements of the nine-module curriculum, as well as the information, training and tools needed to lead the program. The training will provide a supportive retreat-like setting and be conducive to adapting the learning to the needs of each individual, team and community. Teams who are accepted to the training will be expected to initiate their first SELF Program by early fall 2016 and to co-facilitate the monthly training over a three to nine month period of time.

Q. What types of topics will be covered at the PD SELF Leader Training?

A. Teams will learn the foundations of self-efficacy (upon which the program is based) and program management, and will learn to facilitate PD SELF in their communities. Teams will receive instruction on how to present topics such as building the health care team, symptom and medication management, nutrition, exercise and effective communication with health care professionals. Focus will also be on facilitation and program management skills with an emphasis on adaptation to individual and local needs. There will also be a thorough review of the SELF curriculum. Personal coaching is also available (optional).

Q. PD SELF is based on the concept of self-efficacy. What is self-efficacy?

A. Self-efficacy is the confidence a person has in his or her ability to influence an outcome or be successful in achieving a result.

Q. Why is self-efficacy so important?

A. Self-efficacy beliefs determine how people think, feel and motivate themselves. Self-efficacy is increasingly used in health care for its effectiveness in helping people to adopt healthier behaviors. A central focus of PD SELF is to help people strengthen self-efficacy beliefs, thereby positively influencing the management of their disease.

Q. Who will lead the sessions at the PD SELF Leader Training?

A. Sessions will be facilitated by Diane Cook and led by specialists in the fields of psychology, medicine, neuro-linguistic programming, facilitation and self-care. Diane is a person living with Parkinson’s, member of the PDF People with Parkinson’s Advisory Council, PDF Research Advocate, and Co-Investigator for the 2013 PD SELF clinical trial.

[+] Expectations and Opportunities for Attendees

Q. What type of volunteer commitment is expected of attendees after taking part in the PD SELF Leader Training?

A. Teams who are accepted to the training must commit to offering PD SELF in their respective PD communities over the next year with an idea launch of fall 2016. The program can be conducted over a three to nine month time period, depending on individual and community needs. The coursework totals 18 hours.

In addition, applicants will be expected to assume responsibility for local program administration tasks, such as:

  • Engaging and briefing speakers
  • Emailing monthly reminders
  • Reproducing monthly meeting materials
  • Identifying, negotiating with and serving as liaison with meeting facility
  • Maintaining up-to-date participant information
  • Conducting periodic assessments

Q. Can I take PD SELF and insert it into my existing PD support group?

A. No. Existing support groups have already developed norms of behavior which may or may not be consistent with the norms we strive to set for the PD SELF groups. The positive results that we have seen from the PD SELF program are the result of creating, from the very beginning, affirmative interactions among people within three years of a Parkinson’s diagnosis, through goal setting and planned activities specifically designed to enhance self-efficacy skills and behaviors.

Q. What if I’m setting up a new support group for people with Parkinson’s at all stages of the disease. Can I use the PD SELF program?

A. No. The program is designed specifically for those within three years of diagnosis. Engaging people who have had PD a number of years is likely to require a different approach, since for those individuals it will mean creating new behavioral patterns to replace those they have developed over their years with PD.

Q. After attending the PD SELF Leader Training, will attendees receive ongoing support from PDF?

A. Diane Cook and PDF staff will be available for consultation and for facilitation of communication among attendees so as to create a collaborative environment that will support the success of participants as they move forward with their work. It is up to the local communities to support the local program cost of room rental (if necessary) and material duplications (approximately $1,500 per program).