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2020: The South Georgian Bay Parkinson Disease Awareness Program

Parkinson’s has a significant presence in South Georgian Bay communities. The disease will have a much more prevalent presence in these rapidly growing communities. The projected aging demographics will also significantly accelerate the presence of this disease. The existing local Parkinson’s Support Group and the “Living Better with Parkinson’s” program teams are convinced that South Georgian Bay can and should become a Centre of Excellence for the early diagnosis and non-invasive fitness and lifestyle-based treatment of the disease. These community groups believe that a critical component of this “Excellence” is Parkinson Disease “AWARENESS” targeting healthcare practitioners, Persons with Parkinson’s (PWP) and families within these communities. Improving quality of life for PWP is the goal and AWARENESS is a critical component for the desired early diagnosis and meaningful treatment outcomes.

The CGMH/ROMP Navigator Research Program has accepted the “AWARENESS” challenge. Led by Dr. Michael Lisi and Michelle Hunter, researchers will do a base line study charting the incidence and trends in South Georgian Bay for Parkinson Disease. Navigator will then develop tools to educate and engage healthcare professionals, PWP and members of the Southern Georgian Bay communities. Navigator will conduct the required research, tool development and communication programs.

The Collingwood Squash and Fitness Centre-based “Living Better”team will provide background briefings, advice and linkages to major organisations in the Parkinson’s research and PWP support worlds, including: Parkinson Canada, Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson’s, Michael J Fox Foundation, Southwestern Ontario Society for Parkinson’s, Community Connection (Dial 211) and the Collingwood Parkinson Disease Support Group.

The Wellness Innovation Fund is providing the required monies to hire Navigator/ROMP medical student researchers for six-months of program development and to fund creation of AWARENESS materials and communication programs. Program currently on Covid-19 induced hold.