The Parkinson’s Foundation announced that it has awarded its first-ever Parkinson’s Foundation Nurse Faculty Award to four nurses, awarding a total of $30,000. The nurses, all graduates of the Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Scholars Program, will each receive $7,500 in grant funding from the Foundation to launch individual projects to help make life better for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD).  

Dr. Donna Hood, chair of the Division of Nursing, was one of the award winners. Her project will develop a PD resource center for the underserved communities in rural Louisiana and South Arkansas that will utilize university resources and nursing students.

While the number of people living with Parkinson’s is increasing, there remains a shortage of trained neurologists specializing in PD in the United States. The Parkinson’s Foundation supports the training of nurses specializing in PD through its professional education programs and now funds their research through the new Parkinson’s Foundation Nurse Faculty Award.

Hood was also awarded the 2018 Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program at the Parkinson’s Foundation award alongside her colleague, Dr. Tara Haskins for their work developing a four-year plan to bring together University resources to establish a PD Information Center.

“Nurses play a vital role in helping people with Parkinson’s live better lives,” said John Lehr, Parkinson’s Foundation president and chief executive officer. “Nurses are integral to helping the Parkinson’s Foundation make Parkinson’s care accessible to more people. We’re excited to provide this Nurse Faculty Award to further projects that will enhance their ability to teach and increase learning of PD in the Parkinson’s health care community.”

All four awardees completed the Parkinson’s Foundation Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program — a 40-hour accredited program that teaches faculty leaders how to educate nursing students with ways to improve PD nursing care. As part of the program, every nurse designs a project to enhance the ability to teach more nurses, students or patients about Parkinson’s care. The new Foundation award will fund the launch and/or implementation of these projects.