I have a request to make of readers.
I have been invited – with Parkinson’s advocate AC Woolnough – to conduct a round table at the upcoming 2019 World Parkinson’s Congress meeting in Kyoto. The round table is a discussion involving 10-20 people sitting around a table. Our topic will be how can we better align the efforts of researchers and patients.
And this is where we would like your help. Or at least, we would like your input.
Specifically, we are seeking topics for discussion at the table regarding how we can better join the goals/focus of the community on the research side of things.
In today’s post, we look at what the World Parkinson’s congress is, how the round table topic came about, and what we are currently thinking regarding the structure of our roundtable session.
Yasaka Pagoda and Sannen Zaka Street. Source: JT
It was the capital of Japan for more than one thousand years (from 794 to 1869).
It sits 315 miles southwest of Tokyo and 25 miles east of Osaka.
It was the setting of the world’s first novel in the world (Shikibu Murasaki’s The Tale of Genji).
It has over 1000 Buddhist temples (including the hugely impressive Fushimi-Inari-Taisha), and more than 2,000 temples and shrines collectively.
Fushimi-Inari-Taisha. Source: Medium
It has the oldest restaurant in Kyoto, Japan (called Honke Owariya, which was founded in 1465).
It had its own civil war – referred to as “Onin no Ran” (Onin War) – in the 15th century. The war lasted 11 years (1467-1477) and focused on two families of samurai warriors seeking power in Kyoto.
It is the home of the video game company Nintendo and Nightingale Floors:
It has 1.5 million residents (and 50 million tourists per year).
It consumes more bread and spends more money on coffee than any other city in Japan (I wonder why?).
It has the longest train platform in Japan (at JR Kyoto Station – 564 meters long!).
It is Kyoto.
Kinkaku-ji. Source: AWOL
And in June of this year, the World Parkinson’s congress will be held in this beautiful city.
What is the World Parkinson’s congress?
According to Wikipedia, “The World Parkinson’s Congress, often referred to as the WPC, is a non-religious, non-political, and non-profit making organization concerned with the health and welfare of people living with Parkinson’s disease and their families and caregivers“.
“Founded in 2004, the WPC aims to bring the Parkinson’s community together, under one roof, to allow for cross-pollination of community leaders to create opportunities to generate more robust ideas around the science and care of Parkinson’s”.
The idea for the WPC originally came from a meeting in Washington, DC in 2002. Dr. Elias Zerhouni – the head of the National Institutes of Health at the time – suggested that the Parkinson’s community should create a meeting which was inclusive of all those whose lives were touched by Parkinson’s (patient participation is very plate du jour today, but this must have been pretty revolutionary stuff back then).
Dr. Elias Zerhouni. Source: WSJ
The idea was championed by Mr. Robin Elliott, President of the US-based Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) who asked legendary neurologist Prof. Stanley Fahn to help launch the World Parkinson Congresses.
Prof Stanley Fahn. Source: Youtube
In 2004, Dr. Fahn launched the World Parkinson Coalition – the organization that is responsible for setting up each congress meeting. He went on to organize the first three Congresses (WPC2006 in Washington, DC., WPC2010 in Glasgow, and WPC2013 in Montreal). He then stepped down as President in 2013, and Eli Pollard took over the management of the World Parkinson Coalition.
The amazing Eli Pollard. Source: Tmrwedition (interesting interview!)
Since then the congress was held in Portland (Oregon) in 2016 and the World Parkinson Coalition has been preparing for Kyoto since then.
And that preparation effort is enormous – click here to see all of the individuals involved with the organising of an event on this scale.
It is a massive team effort.
The WPC is a huge event – so big in fact that it conducted over 4 days.
And attendees come from all different parts of the globe. At the previous WPC meeting which was held in 2016 in Portland (Oregon), over 4,550 delegates from 65 countries attended.
In general, it is a coming together of the wider Parkinson’s community – from patients and their families to researcher (clinicians and basic scientists), and from stakeholders (support/charity groups) to government/regulatory organisation representatives.
All in one place to talk and learn about what is happening in the world of Parkinson’s and how we can plan for a better future.
Now, I can not speak to experience as I have never been to a WPC meeting before, but I understand that it is the event that everyone wants to be at.
I have previously been surprised at the level of importance most scientists in the field of Parkinson’s research put on this meeting – for many it is THE meeting of the year.
A full house. Source: Parkingsuns
Sounds interesting. What does the conference involve?
Something for everyone it seems (Click here to read the program).
There will be
- Lecture presentations from some of the best Parkinson’s researchers in the world – providing insights into what we know about the condition. In addition, prominent figures within the community will also be presenting lecture talks on important issues associated with Parkinson’s.
- Lots of workshops (everyday) discussing everything from the latest in wearable technology for Parkinson’s through to exercise and diet. Each workshop has very specific topics.
- Book corners where one can meet authors of books on Parkinson’s.
- Art and performances inspired by Parkinson’s, everything from painting & poetry through to quilting.
- Poster presentations regarding all things Parkinson’s – from research to resources.
- A Care partner lounge, where those involved with the difficult task of supporting loved ones can find support and useful tips/resources.
- And Roundtables
What do roundtables involve?
Round tables are discussion sesstions set around a table of 10-20 individuals. At the WPC, they cover all manner of topics. They are all in the afternoon session between 1:30-3:00 or 3:30-5:00.
The group has 90 minutes to brainstorm/share experiences/propose new ideas/whatever-you-fancy.
A roundtable. Source: ParkinsonsUK
And you are doing a round table?
Amongst other duties, yes.
And I will be conducting that roundtable with AC Woolnough.
Who is he?
Parkinson’s advocate extraordinaire. He really requires no introduction, but for the sake of newbies:
A former teacher & high school principal for 37 years, AC was diagnosed in 2014. Rather than simply accepting his situation, AC has thrown himself at Parkinson’s:
- participating in more than 25 studies
- training as a Research Advocate with the Parkinson’s Foundation
- being a member of their People with Parkinson’s Advisory Council
- serving on the OHSU (Oregon Health and Science University) Parkinson’s Patient Advisory Council
- reviewing Parkinson’s research grants for various organisations
- participating in numerous fundraising efforts
- chairing his local Parkinson’s support group
- AND writing a monthly magazine column about living with Parkinson’s.
Oh, and he’s also one of the official Ambassadors of the WPC 2019.
His experience makes him intimately familiar with the topic of discussion at our round table.
And remind me what the topic of your round table is?
Our round table will be on Wednesday 5th June at 1:30 – 3:00 PM, and is titled:
Round Table 12: Planet Patient vs Planet Researcher: How do we align instead of collide?
Planet Patient vs Planet Researcher?
This part of the title stems from a blog post written by another Parkinson’s advocate – Mariëtte Robijn:
Mariëtte keeps a great blog that I follow and a while back she who wrote a wonderful piece called “Planet Patient vs Planet Researcher” – she was asking ‘are we really so very different, we patients and researchers?‘. Her answer is ‘Yes‘ and she listed 10 areas where the differences are apparent.
The SoPD responded to this post – click here to read that rant.
And then others joined in the discussion (Click here to read Prof Frank Church’s post – he has a special perspective on this matter being an inhabitant of both planets).
I see. So what did you want help with?
Not so much help, but rather input.
AC and I are planning on starting the round table session by introducing ourselves and sharing our stories (and introducing our fantastic interpreter Hisashi Kamido).
We will then invite attendees at our table to introduce themselves.
And then we will start discussing the topic of how we can better align the efforts of researchers and patients, before opening up the discussion for everyone at the table to share ideas/thoughts.
Sounds very straight forward. So why do you need my input? How can I possibly help?
AC and I would like to open this discussion up to a wider audience, particularly for those who are unable to attend the WPC.
While readers will not be able to actively partake in the discussion, they can still potentially contribute to it and provide some interesting ideas that could be discussed.
And all of that said:
- Do you have some thoughts on this topics that you think we should discuss by the group at the round table? (Credit will be given to each contributor)
- Do you have any specific ideas for encouraging better alignment of the efforts of researchers and patients?
- What barriers do you see in these efforts? And are there proactive steps that could be taken to address them?
- What tools/resources/initiatives are you aware of in your part of the world that have helped in this endeavour of bringing researchers and patients together?
This request for input is not because AC and I are afraid that we won’t be able to fill the 90 minutes with discussion (just try and shut me up!). We just thought it might be interesting for attendees if we opened up the discussion to a global audience to get different perspectives.
By doing so, folks in Kenya, Mongolia or anywhere could help structure the discussion and perhaps provide examples of how they are encouraging the collaborative efforts of researchers and patients in their part of the world (and those examples could also be things that didn’t work as well).
And yes, we are being purposefully vague here to see what kind of responses we get.
Interesting idea, but if I’m not there how will I know what was discussed?
Our goal is to provide feedback on topics that are discussed in the form of a post here on the SoPD website (and maybe on the WPC website – though we haven’t discussed that with them yet). We will try and re-tell as best we can what was discussed.
If you would like to contribute, you can leave a message in the comments section below or contact me directly.
Please have a think about it.
You don’t need to answer immediately, we have a few weeks before the big day.
And please don’t feel shy about sharing what you might consider obvious or perhaps silly ideas. What is obvious to one person, might not be so obvious to another (especially when they apparently live on different planets).
I am really looking forward to the World Parkinson’s Congress in Kyoto.
As I said, it will be my first WPC. I am very excited about it, but I have no expectations (except that it will be exhausting).
Sage wisdom. Source: Unitystone
I am also looking forward to Kyoto. I am lucky enough to have visited the city once before and it is truly wonderous (and the food!!! Where do I start?!?).
My Japanese is a bit rusty though, and I remember most of the road signs etc were in Japanese characters. So I have downloaded a couple of Japanese character translator apps for my cell phone. Waygo and the Google translate apps seems to work rather well (not an endorsement, just what I have found in my investigations). The locals are lovely people though and very helpful so we should be fine.
I will be at the WPC for the 4 days of the meeting. And if you are attending and you see a ridiculously tall, freakishly good looking guy standing in a corner madly typing on his laptop, please feel free to go up and disturb him to say Hi.
He will be happy to chat.
I don’t get back to New Zealand very often.
In fact, in the 18 years I have been away, I have been back all of 4 times – much to my poor mother’s disappointment. In my defense, it is a long (27 hours one-way) and expensive trip to make in rather cramp quarters for one of XXXXL proportions.
I know. That’s not much of an excuse.
And yes, I am a terrible son.
As a result of this terrible neglect, anytime I fly anywhere outside of Europe my mother will tell me that my destination is half way to NZ (whether it is or not), so I have to come home and touch base. And in the case of Kyoto, she has a point.
Anyways, on route to Kyoto I will be making a slight (11 hour) detour to NZ. And during that detour, I will be making a presentation at an event in Auckland that has been organised by the good folks at Parkinson’s NZ.
The event, entitled “Advances in Parkinson’s Research in New Zealand & Around the World” will be held on the 28th May (starting at 10:30am).
The chair of the event will be Dr Barry Snow and the list of speakers includes Sir Prof Richard Faull and Prof Maurice Curtis.
Prof Maurice Curtis & Sir Prof Richard Faull. Source: Neurovalida
If you are in the area and interested in attending, please click here to learn more.
The banner for today’s post was sourced from WPC