WPC Parkinson Daily
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Meet the Editorial Team

Frank C. Church, PhD/FAHA
Elizabeth "Eli" Pollard

Editorial Board:
Jennifer Bazan-Wigle, PT, DPT
James Beck, PhD
Lisa Cox, BA
Marcus Cranston, MD
John Dean, MA CCC-SLP
Josefa Maria Malta Domingos
Seyed-Mohammad Fereshtehnejad, MD, MPH, PhD
Margarita Makoutonina, M.Edu, B.AppSc (OT), CDMN
Matthew A. Sacheli, MSc, CSEP-CEP
Jessica Shurer, LCSW
Beth A. Vernaleo, PhD

Frank C. Church, PhD/FAHAFrank Church is a Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.  His research is on serine proteases and serine protease inhibitors in venous thrombosis. He also studies Engaged Learning Educational strategies (conversation, collaboration, and collegiality). He teaches medical students (co-Block Director of Immunology and of Hematology) and undergraduates (Course Director of Biology of Blood Diseases). His diagnosis of Parkinson's disease, combined with his career in science and education, allows him the ultimate "teachable moment".  His life with Parkinson’s is presented in the blog “Journey with Parkinson’s”: https://journeywithparkinsons.com/.

Elizabeth "Eli" Pollard: Eli Pollard has been with the World Parkinson Coalition from its inception in 2004 and helped steer the organization, alongside world renowned Parkinsonologist and WPC founder, Dr. Stanley Fahn. Together they worked to grow WPC Inc. from it's sole purpose, of hosting a triennial global Congress on Parkinson's disease, to it's more meaningful place in the community today, as a hub for many of the global PD organizations to connect and intersect online, on teleconferences, or in person at the Congresses. Eli is thrilled with the opportunity to meet the members of the community, to help build the WPC Legacy, and to watch as leading researchers, clinicians, people with Parkinson's and others work together to bring us closer to finding the cause(s) of Parkinson's and a cure for the disease.


Jennifer Bazan-Wigle, PT, DPTJennifer Bazan-Wigle began her career teaching science for the Department of Defense Schools. After teaching in Asia, Europe, and Florida, she returned to the classroom as a student, graduating with her doctor of physical therapy from Nova Southeastern University. As a therapist, Jennifer found her passion at the PWR!Gym, treating individuals with Parkinson disease and providing group exercise instruction. Jennifer also assists with research at the gym, and presents the data to professional and public audiences. As PWR! Faculty, she trains therapists and fitness professionals in “Exercise4BrainChange” principles to bring evidenced-based therapy and exercise to communities worldwide. 

James Beck, PhDJames Beck has led PDF's scientific affairs since he joined the organization in 2008. In this role, Dr. Beck oversees PDF’s research strategy and programs, including management of grants that support PDF research centers, individual investigators, fellows and our collaborative projects.  Dr. Beck previously held the position of Assistant Professor in the Biology Department at Long Island University. He remains an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Physiology and Neuroscience at New York University School of Medicine. Dr. Beck holds a B.S. from Duke University and a Ph.D. from the University of Washington, Seattle. He completed his postdoctoral training at the New York University School of Medicine. 


Lisa Cox, BA: Lisa is a young onset PwP from South Carolina, with a BA, Industrial Relations, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill.  Lisa dwells in the realm of possibility, actively seizing opportunity to educate and inform, particularly those in the community at large. Lisa is founder of the Parkinson's Information Network of the Western Carolinas, community liaison for the Parkinson's Association of the Carolinas, PDF PAIR Advocate, Team Fox member, Moving Day and Unity Walk participant, Parkinson's Action Network supporter, Davis Phinney Local Hero award winner, and WPC volunteer. She serves on the Ballet Spartanburg Board, chairs the Community Outreach Committee and is a 2016 graduate of the Grassroots Leadership Development Institute, www.spcf.org.  


Marcus Cranston, MDMarcus Cranston grew up in Montana, attended college/medical school in Oregon, and was an Air Force physician for 21 years.  At 44, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and now uses his hobbies, sports and travel, to raise Parkinson’s awareness. In 2014, he ran 4 miles in 44 countries in 4 weeks – “Run-the-World 4 Parkinson”.  Marcus was inspired by those he met to continue efforts.  In 2015, he ran across 5 Caribbean islands in 5 days and his current challenge is to finish 1-mile swims in 11 Pacific islands.  His ultimate goal is to visit every country, while bringing attention to those living with Parkinson’s. You can read more about Dr. Cranston’s activities at: www.444ParkinsonsTraveler.org.


John Dean MA CCC-SLP: John is a speech language pathologist specializing in the treatment of Parkinson’s and related disorders. He serves as the Director of Healthcare Strategy and Technology for the Davis Phinney Foundation and has a strong interest in technologies for Parkinson’s. He also maintains a small private telemedicine practice with licensure in Colorado and California.


Josefa Maria Malta Domingosis a specialized Physiotherapist in Parkinson disease with over 13 years of exclusive clinical experience in Parkinson disease. She is head coordinator of the Neurorehabilitation Unit of Campus Neurológico Sénior Lisbon and a researcher at the Laboratory of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the Faculty of Medicine of Lisbon. She currently has different scientific positions in national and international societies, among others, Rehabilitation Coordinator of the Portuguese Movement Disorders Medical Society and Member of the scientific committee of the European Parkinson disease Association. She was the National Coordinator of the PD-specialized Health Services of the Portuguese National Parkinson Disease Association since 2005 to 2015, and founder of 6 national physical therapy PD specialized services throughout the country. 


Seyed-Mohammad Fereshtehnejad MD, MPH, PhDMohammad Fereshtehnejad is a physician and researcher with master in public health and PhD in clinical neuroscience. He is currently an employed postdoctoral fellow at Department of Neurology and Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) at McGill University, Canada. Mohammad has published several manuscripts in scientific journals and presentations in international conferences, many of which are about neuroepidemiology and clinical features of Parkinson’s disease, dementia with Lewy body and Alzheimer’s disease. The main focus of his current research is investigating different subtypes of Parkinson’s disease and its heterogeneous nature. He is also an active reviewer for several neurological journals and a trainer in workshops teaching research methodology and biostatistics.  


Margarita Makoutonina, M.Edu, B.AppSc (OT), CDMN: Margarita is OT with Masters in Education and nursing background, Ambassador for 3rd WPC and member of WPP.  Margarita is a recipient of Dr. Rana International Parkinson's Award, an internationally renowned expert in treatment of PD, a pioneer in developing 1st Training Package for Residential Facilities. 


Ms Makoutonina is the founding director of ParkiLife Australia, WPC Organizational Partner; company with vision “to bring the Global Parkinson’s community together” and mission “Education for health professionals, patient and carers and a multidisciplinary approach to the treatment of Parkinson’s”. Margarita actively promotes awareness within community, empowering PwP and carers to become advocates of own needs.

Matthew A. Sacheli, MSc, CSEP-CEP: Matthew Sacheli is a PhD Candidate at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, BC, Canada. He is under the supervision of Dr. A Jon Stoessl at the Pacific Parkinson’s Research Center (PPRC) and the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health. Prior to UBC, Matt completed a BSc. (Hons) at the University of Ottawa, obtained his certification in exercise physiology (CSEP-CEP) and completed his MSc. at Wilfrid Laurier University. The focus of Matt’s research is investigating the therapeutic mechanisms of exercise in Parkinson’s disease using PET and fMRI neuroimaging.


Jessica Shurer, LCSWJessica Shurer, LCSW, is the Center Coordinator & Clinical Social Worker of the UNC Movement Disorders Center, a National Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence. Through her dual roles, Ms. Shurer provides assessment and counseling for mood/coping and connection to local resources for Parkinson’s patients and carepartners, as well as coordination of a specialty Interdisciplinary Parkinson’s Clinic, facilitation of multiple support groups, and organization of educational programs for both the Parkinson’s community and healthcare professionals. She also serves on the Davis Phinney Science Advisory Board and as Planning Committee Chair of the Moving Day® NC Triangle, walk for Parkinson’s.

Beth A. Vernaleo, PhD: Beth Vernaleo is the Associate Director of Research Programs at the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, a division of the Parkinson’s Foundation.  In her role at the foundation, she manages the entire Parkinson’s research portfolio, which includes center grants, individual investigator grants, and special initiatives. She is also involved in the Critical Path for Parkinson’s Consortium, which uses data sharing and modeling of past clinical trials to design better, more efficient trials in the future.  Beth received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Maryland at College Park, where she used behavioral methods to study hearing and perception in songbirds.


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