Organizations Committee
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Co-chair: Steve Ford
Co-chair: Maria Barretto, PhD

Alan Cameron

Robin Elliott
Magne Frederickson
Karl Friedl, PhD (Ret. Col)
Malcolm Irving
Sara Lew
Israel Robledo
Robin Ruey-Meei Wu, MD, PhD
Peter Schmidt 

Steve Ford (UK) has been the Chief Executive of Parkinson’s UK for the last 8 years, the UK’s Parkinson’s support and research charity working to find a cure and improve life for everyone affected by Parkinson’s.
Under Steve’s leadership, Parkinson’s UK has made significant progress towards its vision to find a cure and improve life for everyone affected by Parkinson’s.   Steve is also chair of the Neurological Alliance, an umbrella body of 70 charities representing 8 million people living with a neurological condition.
Steve joined Parkinson’s UK after a career as General Manager and Chief Executive of a National Health Service Trust.

Steve has a BA (Hons) in Economics from Warwick University.

Click here to view WPC Spotlight On recognizing Steve Ford.

Maria Barretto, PhD (India) has a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Mumbai, India. She has over three decades of experience in the field of psychology, education and mental health and has designed, developed and conducted numerous programs for individuals with special needs. Dr Barretto is the CEO of the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder Society, (PDMDS) India. As CEO of the PDMDS, she has developed a multipronged approach to improving the quality of life with people with Parkinson’s Disease, encompassing raising awareness amongst the medical and allied health professionals and general public, developing training programs for all levels of stake holders, research and evidence - based interventions. In India, where Parkinson’s care is limited to a diagnosis and a medical prescription she has developed a ‘multidisciplinary community based’ model of care through which people with Parkinson’s are educated, treated, rehabilitated and brought back into the mainstream of society. The program is delivered through a group therapeutic approach which increases its reach and makes it cost effective given resource limitations. Her mission is to ‘Empower’ people living with Parkinson’s to improve the quality of their lives’.

Click here to view WPC Spotlight On recognizing Maria Barretto.




Alan Cameron (UK) is a volunteer supporter of Parkinson's UK and participated in the WPC 2013. He has taken part in several Parkinson's research studies since being diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2005 at the age of 39. Alan is a member of the Parkinson's UK Research Support Network and is helping to deliver the charity's strategy to encourage people affected by Parkinson's to participate in all aspects of the research process. Alan lives in Suffolk, England with his wife and two young children.



Robin Elliott (USA) has led the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, Inc. (PDF) since October 1996.  In the last 17 years, Mr. Elliott’s vision has ushered in a new age for PDF, fortifying PDF’s programs of research, education and advocacy for the Parkinson’s community. Under his leadership, the professional staff has grown from just four full-time employees to more than 20 and the PDF budget has more than tripled, rising from $2.7 million in 1996 to over $10 million in fiscal year 2014.

He has been active in fostering collaborations amongst Parkinson’s organizations, including negotiating a merger with the Chicago-based United Parkinson’s Foundation in 1998.  He also played an instrumental role in the creation and organization of the World Parkinson Congress in 2006 and in the conception of the PDtrials campaign, an initiative of the major Parkinson's patient voluntary groups to accelerate the development of new treatments for the disease.

Active in development, communications and nonprofit management in New York City for more than 30 years, Mr. Elliott has served as vice president for development and external affairs at Teachers College, Columbia University (1988-95) and (with the same title) at Hunter College, The City University of New York (1982-88); as deputy to the Chancellor for University Relations at the City University of New York (1979-82); and as director of information and education at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (1971-79).

Mr. Elliott currently serves as Chairman of the board for the Community Health Charities of New York, Treasurer of the board for the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics (ASENT),  Chair of the board for the American Brain Coalition (ABC) and board member of the Empire State Stem Cell Board (ESSCB).  He was formerly Chair of New Yorkers for the Advancement of Medical Research, a pro-stem-cell research coalition of disease advocacy groups, scientists and universities, and citizens’ groups.

Mr. Elliott grew up in southern England and received his formal education at Bradfield (a preparatory school; 1954-59); Magdalen College, Oxford University (B.A. in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, 1962); and Columbia University (M.A. in American Government and Politics, 1965).


Magne Frederikson (Norway) was born in Seoul Korea and has served as the Secretary General of the Norwegian Parkinson's Disease Association since 2003. He has oversaw both leadership and organization development of the association. Frederikson is currently a Norwegian citizen living outside of Oslo with his wife and two children.


Karl Friedl, PhD (Ret. Col) (USA) holds a Ph.D. in Physiology from the University of California at Santa Barbara. His early research on steroid hormones and responses to military stressors at the Department of Clinical Investigation, Madigan Army Medical Center, in Tacoma, Washington, was followed by research on body composition and nutrition at the United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, in Natick, Massachusetts. As the Director of the Military Operational Medicine Research Program at the United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, he established a coordinated plan of biomedical research on protection and enhancement of the Soldier, instituted program-level external scientific review of research, and expanded inter-service cooperation and collaborative projects with other federal agencies including the Department of Veteran's Affairs, National Institutes of Health, National Aeronautics and Space Agency, and the United States Department of Agriculture. COL Friedl previously served as Commander of the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, the lead federal laboratory for human performance research, and is currently the Director of the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) at Fort Detrick, Maryland. He has published over 100 papers including 70 original reports, 18 book chapters, and other reviews and technical reports. COL Friedl has been responsible for management of greater than three billion dollars of research funding. COL Friedl received recognition from members of Congress for his work on Gulf War Illnesses research and the Parkinson's disease related research program: the Neurotoxin Exposure Treatment Research Program.

Malcolm Irving (Australia) originates from the Highlands of Scotland, brought up on a small farm on the banks of Loch Ness. Personally he has yet to see the monster!

His academic background is in Mathematics from the University of Edinburg, and a doctorate in Engineering from the University of Warwick.

It was at Warwick University that Malcolm met his wife to be, Alison, getting married in the Church next door to the aforementioned farm.

Malcolm's career has spanned working on the European part of the International Space Station, running publishing companies for the Financial Times, creating and operating on-line information services for the European Commission, running the Australian energy business as a Partner for IBM, and currently Malcolm is the lead Industry principal for Energy and Utilities solutions for the US analytics company, SAS.

Malcolm was diagnosed with Parkinson's in August 2008.

Sara Lew (Malaysia) has been a volunteer since 1995 with the  Malaysian Parkinson's Disease Association (MPDA), a national Parkinson’s support group  based in Kuala Lumpur. She is currently the President of the association. Sara Lew's late father was a person with Parkinson's for 21 years before he passed away in 2011. Her aunt is also living with Parkinson's.

Sara graduated from the National University of Malaysia with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology/Anthropology and a Master’s degree in TESL  from the University of Malaya. Upon quitting her job as a bank manager in 2003, she went into teaching at the university  until 2014 when she started serving  full time at the association. 




Israel Robledo (USA) was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2007 at age 42. He became involved in advocacy work as a Parkinson's Disease Foundation Research Advocate through their signature Parkinson's Advocate in Research (PAIR) program. His areas of interest include educating the minority community about being actively involved in their health care and advocating for reimbursement of clinical trial-related expenses for participants.

Israel is an elementary school reading specialist in Midland, Texas. He is married to Christi and has three daughters Amber, Ashley, Alisha and one grandson, Landon.

Israel was also an Ambassador for the WPC 2013 and is continuing his work as an Ambassador for the WPC 2016.

Robin Ruey-Meei Wu, MD, PhD (Taiwan) is a Professor of National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, and Director of The Centre of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders at the department of Neurology, National Taiwan University Hospital. She is founding president of Taiwan Movement Disorders Society and currently serves as member of educational committee and Chair-elect of Asian and Oceanian Section of The Movement Disorder Society. She is organizing the 3rd Asian and Oceanian Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Congress (AOPMC) in Taipei in 2011. Dr Wu is a corresponding member of American Neurological Association.

Dr Wu’s research interests are genetics and non-motor features of Parkinson’s disease (PD).  She is also interested in the animal studies of the mechanisms underlying dopaminergic neuronal death and neuroprotection.  She and her collaborative researchers in the world recently identified LRR2 G2385R and R1628P as risk factors for PD in Asian population. Dr Wu serves as editorial board of Journal of Formosan Medical Association and Parkinsonism and Related Disorders.

Peter Schmidt (USA) joined NPF as Chief Information Officer and Vice President, Research and Professional Programs in June 2009 where he is responsible for the Parkinson’s Outcomes Project, a longitudinal study of Parkinson’s disease to identify best practices in care to achieve optimal patient-reported and clinically measured outcomes. With over 17,500 clinical evaluations of over 7,500 patients, the Parkinson’s Outcomes Project is the largest clinical study of Parkinson’s disease ever conducted and includes the largest set of patient-reported outcome measures ever collected in a prospective study.

Prior to NPF, Schmidt was an investment banker in Norwalk, CT., president of a software company supporting chronic disease management, and COO of an on-line education joint venture of Oxford, Stanford, and Yale universities. He is an active member of several trade groups and is widely published in both scientific and trade journals on issues around medicine, health information technology and finance.

Dr. Schmidt earned his bachelor’s degree at Harvard University and was awarded an M.S. and Ph.D. from Cornell University, Sibley School of Mechanical Engineering where he studied gait and balance and total joint replacement. He completed a fellowship at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

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