I’m an official blogger for the World Parkinson Congress (WPC), so I got to attend a teleconference a few days ago and hear what’s coming up. Wow! Cool stuff. The Congress is September 20-23, 2016 in Portland, Oregon, but that’s not that far away. Here are some FAQs to help you decide to attend.
What’s the WPC all about? The official website says it best: “[WPC] …. provides an international forum to learn about the latest scientific discoveries, medical practices, caregiver initiatives and advocacy work related to Parkinson’s disease.” It’s held every three years (the last one was in Montreal) and this is the fourth Congress.
Isn’t this just for researchers? No, the WPC is an unusual scientific conference because attendees include not just scientists (including some of the top researchers in the world!), but also physicians, other medical personnel, people with Parkinson’s, and care partners. The synergy of all these different groups attending the same conference is pretty amazing.
I’ve just recently been diagnosed with PD and don’t know anything about the disease – should I attend? Yes. That’s exactly the situation I was in when I went to Montreal in 2013. I took one of the pre-Congress all-day courses on “Fundamentals of PD” — very useful.
I’ve had my PD diagnosis for a while, but I’m afraid the Congress will all be scientific jargon- should I attend? Yes. The Montreal Congress included a lot of sessions, exhibits, and other information intended for people with Parkinson’s (e.g.,topics like exercise, advocacy, etc.) The sessions covering the latest scientific research indicated the level of scientific jargon. Even though my neurology knowledge is (ahem) non-existent, I went to some of the heavy science sessions and was able to understand the main points.
I’m a researcher — Could WPC benefit my research? — In addition to the numerous scientific sessions and cross-fertilization with scientists from all over the world, WPC also will have a display of research posters to be presented by the research’s author(s). (I recall hundreds at Montreal.) Twelve of these posters will also be presented to the plenary sessions. WPC is opening up abstract submittals — see website for more details.
(P.S. Check out Andrew Johnson’s blog at Young and Shaky.com.)
I need to get up and move – what’s at WPC for me? WPC will have the “Wellness Way”, including Renewal Room, Care Partner Room, and Meditation Room. This is the area where I got a tango lesson in Montreal – fun! They’re still working on the program but expect dance, yoga, exercise, and other activities to “get up and move”!
What’s going on in the evenings? Tuesday night is the Opening Ceremony (which was a blast in Montreal), Wednesday is Film Night, featuring films about Parkinson’s, and Thursday (I’m really jazzed about this!) is Music Night. More details to come.
I won’t know a soul at the Congress – should I go? You bet. This Congress is repeating the Buddy Program originated by our Canadian friends for the Montreal Congress. This made such a difference for me, since I went to the Congress alone. I emailed my British Columbia buddy ahead of the conference, hung out with her and her husband during the conference, and kept in touch after the conference.
OK, I’m sold – where do I sign up? Registration opens up January 11 (and includes buddy signup, if you’d like to take advantage of this program.) More info on website.