Advocacy Update

From the desk of Joyce Barretto and Yvon Trepanier, Co-Chairs, National Advocacy Committee

Parkinson’s issues were front and centre, in early spring, when the federal Standing Committee on Health held hearings to conclude the work of the former Subcommittee on Neurological Diseases that had been suspended due to the 2011 federal election.

  • The committee also heard presentations from:David Simmonds shared his personal experience of living with Parkinson’s and undergoing deep brain stimulation surgery. Describing how Parkinson’s affects families, he pointed to the need for caregiver support.
  • Dr. Galit Kleiner-Fisman, Neurologist and Movement Disorders Specialist at Baycrest in Toronto discussed the value of multidisciplinary integrated care.
  • Joyce Gordon, Parkinson Society Canada President & CEO and Chair of Neurological Health Charities Canada (NHCC) raised the issue of educating front-line health workers and the general public about neurological conditions and expressed the need for better income security and caregiver support.
  • Dr. Bin Hu, Professor, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Calgary;
  • Dr. Edward Fon, Director, McGill Parkinson Program and National Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence, and Associate Professor, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University; and
  • Dr. Daniel Krewski, Director of the R. Samuel McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment at the University of Ottawa

who addressed the need for increased investment in neuroscience research and the importance of establishing a consortium of Parkinson’s Centres of Excellence in Canada.

NHCC member witnesses, including Parkinson Society Canada, made reference to NHCC key objectives such as a national brain strategy and the addition of neurological conditions to the Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System.

The Standing Committee on Health is expected to table the report on Neurological Diseases, along with reports on Chronic Diseases related to Aging and Canada’s drug shortage, before the House of Commons breaks for its summer recess on June 22, 2012.

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