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Parkinson's Foundation Appoints John L. Lehr as Chief Executive Officer

 Lehr Charged with Advancing Foundation’s Mission to Accelerate the Science and Care for Parkinson’s Disease

NEW YORK & MIAMI — The Board of Directors of the Parkinson’s Foundation today announced its selection of John L. Lehr, a noted nonprofit leader, as chief executive officer. The hiring follows the recent merger of two Parkinson’s nonprofits with rich histories: National Parkinson Foundation, headquartered in Miami, and Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, headquartered in New York.

“Bringing John on board signals our commitment to accelerating the science and care for Parkinson’s on behalf of the millions of people across the globe living with the disease,” said John W. Kozyak, Esq., board chair of the Parkinson’s Foundation. “We are confident that his extensive experience, knowledge and skill — as well as his passion for our mission — will add momentum to our fight against Parkinson’s.”

Lehr brings to the Parkinson’s Foundation more than two decades of nonprofit fundraising and management experience. He has a proven track record in the voluntary healthcare and medical research sectors, having led successful fundraising campaigns and implemented programs that have advanced the missions of organizations working to improve the lives of people living with chronic disease.

“I am honored to lead the Parkinson’s Foundation at such a pivotal time — one in which the needs of the community and potential of science are greater than ever,” Lehr said.   “Throughout my career, I have focused on ensuring that nonprofits have the greatest impact on the communities they serve. As CEO, I am eager to listen to the Parkinson’s community and address its concerns with equal urgency.”

Lehr will work closely with the board to guide its mission to invest in promising scientific research toward ending Parkinson’s disease and improving the lives of people with Parkinson’s, and their families, through improved treatments, support and access to the best care.

Before joining the Parkinson’s Foundation, Lehr served as President of Orr Associates, a consulting firm focused on the nonprofit sector, with offices in Washington, DC, and New York City. At OAI, he managed the firm’s daily operations and major clients, including Georgetown University, MedStar Health, and Special Olympics. In his previous role as CEO of Food Allergy Research & Education, Lehr merged two legacy organizations into one national organization focused on finding medical solutions for and educating the public on food allergies. Before this, he served as CEO of CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, a national research and advocacy organization. From 2004 to 2009, he directed the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Milestones to a Cure Campaign that raised $175 million in support of cystic fibrosis drug discovery and development. 

Lehr was selected in a comprehensive process led by a search committee of the board with support from Russell Reynolds, an executive search firm.

At the time of the merger of the two legacy organizations, the National Parkinson Foundation division was headed by Paul R. Blom, formerly the chair of its Chapter Advisory Council. The Parkinson's Disease Foundation division was headed for more than 20 years by Robin Anthony Elliott. Mr. Blom, after a brief hiatus, will join the Parkinson’s Foundation Board and Mr. Elliott, the emeritus chief executive officer of Parkinson’s Disease Foundation division, will retire at the end of June 2017.

About the Parkinson’s Foundation 
The Parkinson’s Foundation is working toward a world without Parkinson’s disease. Formed by the merger of National Parkinson Foundation and the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation in August 2016, the mission of the Parkinson’s Foundation is to invest in promising scientific research that will end Parkinson’s disease and improve the lives of people with Parkinson’s, and their families, through improved treatments, support and the best care. For more information, visit or call (800) 4PD-INFO (473-4636) or (800) 457-6676.

About Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects nearly one million people in the US and over 10 million worldwide. Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer's and is the 14th leading cause of death in the US. It is associated with a loss of motor control (e.g., shaking or tremor at rest and lack of facial expression) as well as non-motor symptoms (e.g., depression and anxiety A feeling of nervousness, worried thoughts and physical distress.). Although promising research is being conducted, there is currently no cure for Parkinson's disease.

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