Spectrum News: Student-led organization empowers patients with Parkinson’s Disease

Spectrum News recently highlighted the work of Parkinson's Together, a UC student-led nonprofit organization that takes a multidisciplinary approach to meeting the needs of people with Parkinson's disease in the community.

“We’re really excited about this, offering this kind of multidisciplinary, support resources and not trying to duplicate the wonderful resources that already exist, but trying to figure out how we can make them work together,” said Mallika Desai, Parkinson’s Together founder.

The organization began in October 2021 with a core group of students who primarily were studying medicine. But as more students from other areas of study joined, new opportunities for different programs emerged.

“We started volunteering and realized that to make a bigger impact, we needed to think beyond medicine or sitting with a resident,” Desai said. “We needed to expand to involve other disciplines.”

With this collaborative approach, pre-law undergraduate students can research and educate patients on inequities and their legal rights regarding the link between exposure to pesticides and the development of Parkinson’s disease. Pre-medical students are conducting research on topics including how telemedicine and exercise can help manage the disease and improve quality of life.

Engineering students participated in a hackathon this spring to design solutions that optimize patients’ living space and routines that have been altered due to the disease. Political science majors can study and increase advocacy to local, state and federal government officials promoting policies that improve the lives of patients with Parkinson’s.

As the group continues to grow in Cincinnati, there are plans in motion to expand to chapters at universities across the country, starting with a chapter that has opened at Miami University.

Watch the Spectrum News story.

Read more about Parkinson's Together.

Featured photo at top of Mallika Desai. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Marketing + Brand.

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