Cure Parkinson’s and Van Andel Institute (VAI) are delighted to announce Dr Ray Dorsey, David Levy Professor of Neurology at the University of Rochester, and Dr Michael Okun, Chair and the Adelaide Lackner Professor of Neurology at the University of Florida, as joint winners of the 2022 Tom Isaacs Award.

Drs. Michael Okun and Ray Dorsey are presented with the Tom Isaacs Award by Prof. Patrik Brundin and Lyndsey Isaacs (Trustee of Cure Parkinson’s)

The award was presented on 29 September during the parallel annual Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease symposium and Rallying to the Challenge meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Drs. Dorsey and Okun, together with Todd Sherer, CEO of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and Professor Bastiaan Bloem, a previous Tom Isaacs Award winner, co-authored the hugely significant book Ending Parkinson’s, a breakthrough publication which highlights the urgent need for better education about Parkinson’s and sets out a plan to ‘Prevent, Advocate, Care and Treat (PACT) one of the great health challenges of our time.’

Since its launch, Ending Parkinson’s has triggered two exciting developments. Dr Dorsey has helped co-author a paper with the World Health Organisation (WHO) which addresses Parkinson’s as a global health priority and which builds upon many of the recommendations in the book. It has also been a catalyst for a huge step forward by the US Government and Congress has recently introduced legislation to ‘End Parkinson’s Disease’, a movement encompassing the principals of PACT recommended by the authors.

Drs. Dorsey and Okun are fabulous examples of the very essence of the Tom Isaacs Award, which was set up in memory of Cure Parkinson’s late co-founder and President, to recognise a researcher who has significantly impacted the lives of people living with Parkinson’s and has involved people with Parkinson’s in a participatory way in their work.

In addition to their inspirational work on Ending Parkinson’s and the movements for change that the book is catalysing, Drs. Dorsey and Okun continue to work tirelessly for the Parkinson’s community, striving for better opportunities for those living with the condition and driving forward the goal of ending Parkinson’s for good. Dr. Dorsey, who also directs the Center for Health and Technology at University of Rochester, has for the past decade pioneered technologies to improve care and speed up research for those living with Parkinson’s and other neurological conditions. Dr. Okun is the National Medical Director of the Parkinson’s Foundation, the largest Parkinson’s patient and advocacy group in the US; he has advanced surgical treatments for people living with Parkinson’s, and has authored over 500 publications including the book Parkinson’s Treatment: 10 Secrets to a Better Life, that has been translated into 20 languages and is a bestseller for people with Parkinson’s and their families.

We are so thrilled to present the 2022 award jointly to Ray and Michael for the incredible work they have inspired with the WHO and with Congress in driving towards ending Parkinson’s. Thank you both, for all that you do.

Helen Matthews, CEO, Cure Parkinson’s

A special recognition award was also presented to Professor Patrik Brundin as he steps down from his position as chair of the International Linked Clinical Trials Committee. Professor Brundin has guided the discussion for more than 250 detailed dossiers of drugs with the potential to change the progression of Parkinson’s, enabling the committee to prioritise more than 45 drugs for clinical testing. His inspirational leadership has been the backbone of the iLCT process to date, and has enabled iLCT to grow into the flourishing programme that it is today.

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