20 years of Parkinson's Academy: International reach - from the Academy across the globe

13 Dec 2022

From delegates flying across from Australia and New Zealand for in-person MasterClasses, to educating an entire Parkinson's team in Malta via a virtual MasterClass, the Academy is having a positive impact on the knowledge and practice of healthcare professionals across the globe, thus improving the experiences of people with Parkinson's.

Map showing distribution of attendees for Parkinson's Academy

In Italy…

One of our international delegates , Dr Francesca Manchini, developed a digital healthcare tool for managing Parkinson's as her intermodule project. The development of ParkinsonCare was supported by several Academy faculty and alumni, and at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the brand new digital tool was launched as a pilot project* in her patch of Italy as a remote-management solution amidst the crisis.

The pilot was presented at the 2019 International Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Conference (Mancini 2019), recognising the incredible value of this digital health solution, whilst a review of the tool in response to people with Parkinson's needs during the pandemic was published by the British Journal of Neuroscience Nursing (Thomas, 2020).

In Australia…

Geriatrician Dr Chandrasekhara Padmakumar initially attended a Foundation MasterClass as a junior whilst working in England. On moving to Australia, he found there was nothing similar to continue his education, and flew back to the UK to complete an Advanced MasterClass later in his career.

He is now a clinical leader for aged care and director for the Parkinson's disease service at the John Hunter Hospital in Australia. He has pioneered local education in Parkinson's and other movement disorders, supporting conferences in medicine for the elderly in conjunction with Newcastle University which has included a five day world congress.

He has also established the Hunter Parkinson's Society, which gathers virtually to discuss complex cases in Parkinson's and other movement disorders. Meeting for the eighth time this December, the Society exists to promote collaboration, cross-disciplinary learning, and to share clinical wisdom across the many disciplines that support people living with a movement disorder.

In Malta

After we developed our Parkinson's Advanced MasterClass for a virtual audience, we found a number of new international delegates joined the Academy - including a team from Malta. Twenty trainees, or professionals in junior roles or new to their posts enrolled together on the Advanced MasterClass, with support from Malta Parkinson's, part of Parkinson's Europe.

These areas of learning included:

  • Differential diagnosis
  • Early treatment options
  • Non-motor symptoms' impact on quality of life
  • Inpatients with Parkinson's
  • Managing late stage disease
  • Neuropsychiatric complications
  • Lewy body dementia
  • Palliative care

Our educational focus remains on the UK, yet it is wonderful to see the both impact of international delegates who have taken their learning home and affected change, and the opportunities for international attendance that virtual MasterClasses are now creating.

'The things you can't get from the books'

Parkinson's Academy, our original and longest running Academy, houses 20 years of inspirational projects, resources, and evidence for improving outcomes for people with Parkinson's. Led by co-founder and educational director Dr Peter Fletcher, the Academy has a truly collegiate feel and prides itself on delivering 'the things you can't get from books' - a practical learning model which inspires all Neurology Academy courses.