29 September 2023

Cure Parkinson’s and Van Andel Institute (VAI) are delighted to announce Dr Natasha Fothergill-Misbah, Research Associate at Newcastle University, as the winner of the 2023 Tom Isaacs Award. The award was presented on September 28 in Newcastle, as part of the annual Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease symposium and parallel Rallying to the Challenge meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Dr Fothergill-Misbah’s research focuses on Parkinson’s in sub-Saharan Africa, and she has dedicated her career to improving the lives of people living with the condition in these regions. She is currently a Research Associate on the NIHR (National Institute for Health and Care Research) Global Health Research Group on Transforming Parkinson’s Care In Africa, which works across seven African countries to improve the diagnosis, treatment and care of Parkinson’s. In 2018 she established a support group for people living with Parkinson’s in Mombasa, Kenya which still runs today, and has published papers on stigma and the lived experience of Parkinson’s in the country. Dr Fothergill-Misbah is working with the World Health Organization to improve access to affordable medications for people with Parkinson’s across the globe, and she contributed to the recent Technical Brief which outlined a public health approach to Parkinson’s and the crucial need for global action. She also recently produced a film on life with Parkinson’s in Kenya, and co-chairs the PD Avengers wellness group, where she helps to facilitate the establishment of new support groups around the world.

Dr Fothergill-Misbah is a shining example 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. Dr Fothergill-Misbah’s work centres around giving voice to a community previously underrepresented in academic research and understanding their stories.

Helen Matthews, CEO of Cure Parkinson’s said:

We are thrilled to present the Tom Isaacs award for 2023 to Tash. She has made a significant difference to the lives of people living with Parkinson’s particularly through her work in Africa. We hope that by presenting Tash with this award, we can celebrate her passion and commitment to the Parkinson’s community and spotlight the way she is helping to address the inequalities people with Parkinson’s face globally. This award is hugely deserved.”

Dr Fothergill-Misbah said:

I am delighted to be the recipient of The Tom Isaacs Award 2023 from Cure Parkinson’s and Van Andel Institute. It’s an honour to be recognised for my work on Parkinson’s disease in Kenya and I’m grateful to the international Parkinson’s community for their continued support in raising awareness of the challenges facing people with Parkinson’s in Africa.”

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