American Parkinson Disease Association Opens National Center for Young Onset

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American Parkinson Disease Association ( opens a national center to address the unique challenges of young onset Parkinson’s disease patients, their caregivers, and families.

Because of the growth and identified needs of the young onset Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients, the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) has created a national young onset center at Glenbrook Hospital, Glenview, Illinois, to increase national awareness of the many services available to the younger PD population. Julie Sacks, LCSW, is the director.

APDA opened the country’s first Young Onset Information & Referral (I&R) Center in 1991, in Santa Maria, Calif. Arlette Johnson, a Parkinson’s patient, served as its coordinator until her retirement four years later. During that time, she initiated programs and services specifically for younger PD patients and their families including the first dedicated PD young onset Web site. In 1994, the center was relocated at Glenbrook Hospital and named the Arlette Johnson APDA Young Onset I&R Center with Michael Rezak, MD, PhD, its medical director and Susan Reese, RN, LCSW, its coordinator.

Dr. Rezak, who is the director of the Movement Disorders Center and Functional Neurosurgery Program at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, will serve as the new center’s medical director.

Ms. Sacks has extensive clinical and administrative experience as a social worker and has successfully developed programs and support for their growth. She also brings experience in advertising and marketing and will use both with current technology to increase awareness of PD and its effects on younger people. She has supervised master’s level social workers and has the professional experience to understand and support the psychosocial challenges young people with PD may face.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive degenerative neurological disorder affecting more than 1.5 millions American men and women, and, although the highest incidence is in those 60 years and older, an alarming number of cases in people under 50 years old is being documented annually. The cause is unknown, there is no definitive diagnostic test, and there is no cure.

APDA ( is the largest grassroots organization in the United States dedicated to fighting Parkinson’s disease focusing on research, patient and caregiver support, education, and increasing public awareness through a network of 56 Chapters, 57 Information and Referral Centers and more than 800 support groups nationwide.

K.G. Whitford
718-981-8001 ext. 125

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