In this end-of-year letter, I would like to talk with you briefly about what the Parkinson's Disease Foundation (PDF) does that makes us distinctive. We call this The PDF Way.
How does The PDF Way play out in our various programs?
In our research portfolio, The PDF Way means supporting the creative ideas brought to us by scientific teams and individuals — peer-reviewed and time-tested. We provide long-term support to research teams at major universities; we award short-term research grants to individual investigators; and we help to solve specific research challenges through the staging of meetings among experts. (For a profile of one such scientist, see "Spotlight on Research".)
In our educational initiatives, The PDF Way makes creative use of technology to bring authoritative, relevant information to our target audiences. This includes running PD ExpertBriefings, a series of educational webinars for people with Parkinson's and their families, now in its fourth year; and providing online professional education for nurses, physical therapists and other "first responders" to the needs of people with Parkinson's. (For a list of upcoming PD ExpertBriefings, browse our website here.)
In our advocacy programs, The PDF Way means harnessing the energies of individuals and families with Parkinson's. The most striking example of this is the signature program we call Parkinson's Advocates in Research (PAIR), in which we deploy lay advocates to play leadership roles in research. (For examples of how these advocates work, see photographs featured here.)
In all of these activities, we make certain pledges to our community.
To our donors, we promise accountability and efficiency. (For the fifth consecutive year, we boast both the four-star (highest) rating of Charity Navigator, the respected charity watchdog group, and the premier seal of approval of the Better Business Bureau.)
To people with Parkinson's, we promise a place at the very center of our operations — whether through our People with Parkinson's Advisory Council (PPAC), through PAIR (see above), or in the way we consult the community in the design and execution of each and every program and service.
And to our colleague organizations, we pledge collaboration — both to provide better service to people who are affected by PD, and to minimize duplication of effort.
I wish you a pleasant holiday season and a healthy and productive 2013!
Robin Anthony Elliott