Local Organizing Committee
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Co-chair: John G. Nutt, MD (USA)
Co-chair: Matthew Brodsky, MD (USA)

Dan Baker (USA)
Pat Baker (USA)
Holly Chaimov (USA)
Bobby Heagerty (USA)
Fay Horak, PhD (USA)
Katrina Kahl (USA)
Joseph Quinn, MD (USA)
Richard Rosenbaum, MD (USA)
John Stuart (USA)
Judi Stuart (USA)
Kelly Sweeney (USA)
Steve Wright (USA)

John G. Nutt, MD (USA) has provided care for people with PD since his fellowship in 1976 -1978 and have been learning from patients and their families ever since. John's research interests are in experimental therapeutics of Parkinson’s disease and in gait and balance disorders, particularly in Parkinson’s disease. He is the Emeritus Director of the OHSU Parkinson Center of Oregon.
Matthew Brodsky, MD (USA) has been working to help improve the lives of people with Parkinson’s disease since his residency and fellowship training at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City over 15 years ago.  Since moving to Portland and joining the faculty at OHSU in 2002, Matt has been fortunate to develop wonderful longstanding relationships with many people with PD and their families, friends and other caregivers. He remains active in PD research, with a particular interest in developing methods to diagnose PD earlier than is currently possible - with the hope that this will lead to a cure for PD. In collaboration with other PD researchers around North America (such as the Parkinson Study Group) Matt continues efforts to evaluate possible neuroprotective treatments for PD, and at OHSU he serves as the medical director of the deep brain stimulation program. Along with his colleagues in the movement disorder group, Matt plays an integral role in our fellowship training program, teaching other physicians to become experts in the care of people with PD. He has enjoyed organizing regional educational meetings such as the annual Pacific Northwest Basal Ganglia Coterie and an annual course on deep brain stimulation, and look forward to helping make the 2016 World Parkinson Congress the best one yet!

Dan Baker & Pat Baker (USA) have been active in the Parkinson’s community since Dan was diagnosed in 2002 with PD. They are both retired teachers and school administrators who have used their experiences and skills to become involved in activities that support the Parkinson Center of Oregon. Both Dan and Pat have used their organizational and facilitative skills throughout their careers in planning staff development activities and community events and are eager to participate in the planning process for The World Parkinson Congress. They are currently in their third year as Co-Chairs of the Paws for Parkinson’s Committee, an annual event that has successfully raised funds to support the mission of the PCO. Both Dan and Pat have participated in research studies and have used their personal knowledge as well as training as PD Research Advocates from the Parkinson Disease Foundation to make presentations in support of the recruitment of patients for clinical studies. Dan has also been a panel member at Parkinson’s symposiums and has presented to Neurology interns at OHSU. They are also involved with the Brian Grant Foundation as members of the advisory committee.

Dan and Pat understand the importance of giving back to the community which has provided them with opportunities and support. Their mission is to raise awareness of PD and they will talk with anyone at any time about PD and how others can become involved to support the Parkinson’s community.

When they are not involved in Parkinson’s activities, you will find them somewhere in the world as they enjoy traveling and experiencing other cultures. They have been married for 43 years and enjoy the support of their two daughters and their extended family. Their involvement in an event also means that you will find their immediate family as well as many relatives and friends also contributing to the success of that event.

Cherise Bjornsgard (USA) has been working with the Brian Grant Foundation for the last 3 years; the past two of which she have served as the Executive Director. From the beginning the Brian Grant Foundation has been committed to developing and implementing the most effective resources and programs in the areas of exercise, nutrition and emotional support. They believe early intervention and a strong interdisciplinary approach is key to ensuring the best quality of life. Additionally, the Brian Grant Foundation team is working hard to provide a community of support to patients and their loved ones, especially those who are newly diagnosed, so that no one will feel isolated and alone.   

Holly Chaimov (USA) has been working at Parkinson’s Resources of Oregon (PRO) for 15 years now, helping to transform a small grassroots organization into a thriving community resource for the PD community here in the NW.  While she has a background that has supported new program development, her MBA in Marketing also comes in handy now and then. Holly tends to be a pragmatist (sometime to a fault) but hope that this trait can be used as an asset to help our work group set and achieve substantive and realistic goals.

Bobby Heagerty (USA) has been with neuroscience education and advocacy since 1979 when she, as Education Coordinator for the Neurological Sciences Center (NSC) at Good Samaritan Hospital & Medical Center, started an Education Program for the NSC which included professional conferences, scientific symposia, workshops, public education lecture series, support groups (the first one being the Parkinson’s Disease organization in 1981) newsletters, several caregiver programs (respite care, legal-financial planning, resources centers, caregiver self-efficacy training) and fund-raising.  She came to Oregon Health & Science University in 1999 and has continued to expand her education/outreach efforts to help create the OHSU Brain Institute and the most extensive (according to the Society for Neuroscience, which awarded her the Science Educator Award for 2013) Brain Awareness array of activities in the country. Most recently, she has helped initiate the Congressional Neuroscience Caucus with Congressman Earl Blumenauer; the briefings of this Caucus (16 in the past 3 years) bring a standing-room-only audience on Capitol Hill and are helping connect many of the national organizations involved in neuroscience outreach and advocacy.

Fay Horak, PhD (USA) is a physical therapist and neuroscientist who has studied the gait and balance problems of Parkinson’s disease with a very sophisticated laboratory measuring numerous aspects of gait and balance.  Her laboratory is also studying the brain circuits involved in balance using MRI. She is currently interested in converting what she knows about balance and gait into improved physical therapies for Parkinson’s disease.

Joseph Quinn, MD (USA) has been practicing neurology in Portland since completing his residency in 1994, and have been spending a portion of my time focused on Parkinson's dementia since joining the faculty of the Portland VA Medical Center Parkinson's Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Care Center (PADRECC) in 2006. John is presently the director of the Northwest PADRECC and the OHSU Parkinson's Center. He sees patients at both OHSU and the Portland VA Medical Center, and his research is focused on the understanding of cognitive decline.

Richard Rosenbaum, MD (USA) is the Medical Director of the Portland Parkinson's Program, a collaboration between Legacy Health and The Oregon Clinic. He is a board member of Parkinson's Resources of Oregon and wrote Understanding Parkinson's Disease: A Personal Professional View based on his teaching lectures and on watching his father's experiences with Parkinson's.

John Stuart & Judi Stuart (USA): John's personal relationship with Parkinson’s Disease began approximately two and one half years ago with his diagnosis. Prior thereto he was only familiar with PD from a professional perspective as I had spent the vast bulk of my business career immersed in the health industry on the insurance side. In short, John was aware of the malady but not directly touched by it.

In the late 1990’s he was fortunate to have sold his companies and have the opportunity to pursue a semi-retirement dream of purchasing and reinventing a piece of Americana, specifically a small family farm of some 82 acres. After a two and one half year nationwide search John elected to buy property in Oregon to fulfill his quest to create a unique and innovative project embracing a European “agritourism” model. Today, Abbey Road Farm is the successful product of that effort. Fortuitously, it serves our personal interests particularly as it provides a platform for him and his wife and their children to engage charitable causes that their family foundation support.

For about a decade now the only thing he was left to try to understand is what it was that actually propelled him into this quest. Apart from the enjoyment of the bucolic area, the lifestyle in wine country and the general slowing down of the “Mach 2 with my hair on fire” pace of life I’d lived for most of my career in Las Vegas, John was left to wonder what exactly caused me to land in this part of the country. For him, that answer was literally delivered with my PD diagnosis as he now believes strongly that Judi and he landed here in order to lend our talents and energy to a cause bigger and more important than our own self interests. Thus, they have become energetically engaged with a host of PD related causes and organizations locally and nationally.

They both look very much forward to actively working with the committee to the deliver a first class welcoming for the World Parkinson Congress in 2016!


Elizabeth Sweeney (USA)

Steve Wright (USA) joined the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation as Executive Director in March 2013.  In that time he has successfully launched a series of patient and caregiver-centered programs aimed to improve quality of life.  Of particular note is PD Link, a one-on-one support network designed to provide some anonymity to participants while still developing a sense of understanding and support.  In January 2014, NWPF joined forces with other fiercely independent regional Parkinson’s organizations through the nascent Alliance of Independent Regional Parkinson’s Organizations (AIRPO).

Prior to joining NWPF, Wright served in a similar capacity with the Northwest Chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America.  He has a Master of Public Administration from Seattle University.

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