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National Initiative to Improve the Quality of Life for People with Parkinson’s

The Edmond J. Safra National Parkinson’s Wellness Initiative Launches in Boston and Washington, D.C.

MIAMI, FL — The National Parkinson Foundation announced today that the greater Boston and greater Washington, D.C., communities will be the first to launch a new initiative this summer: the Edmond J. Safra National Parkinson’s Wellness Initiative. The program is a partnership between the National Parkinson Foundation (NPF), the NYU Langone Parkinson's and Movement Disroders Center and JCC Manhattan. 

Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) in Boston and Washington, D.C., along with an NPF Center of Excellence (COE)—Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston and Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) in Washington, D.C.—were awarded grants to provide this Parkinson’s wellness program in their cities. Together, the JCCs and COEs will deliver services to help people living with Parkinson’s stay active, connected and empowered. 

Both locations will offer three Parkinson’s-specific fitness classes per week, a weekly care partner support group and seasonal educational events. The Washington, D.C., program is a partnership between GUMC and the JCC of Greater Washington in Rockville, MD. The Boston program is a partnership between BIDMC and the JCCs of Greater Boston in Newton, MA. The program is open to the full community – no matter a participant’s medical or religious affiliation. Classes are offered at low-cost and JCC membership is not required to participate in the program. 

“These JCCs were selected for the Edmond J. Safra National Parkinson’s Wellness Initiative because of their ongoing commitment to excellence and inclusion for all members of their communities. This commitment, in tandem with the high-quality support and expert care provided by the local NPF Centers of Excellence, will be a powerful new resource close to home for patients and families,” said Joyce Oberdorf, NPF President and CEO. “We are eager to launch two more sites by 2016 in order to continue to expand services to help more people live well with Parkinson’s.”

“We recognize the importance of wellness programs in helping patients to work together with other people with Parkinson’s and caregivers in an active way to improve their quality of life,” said David K. Simon, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. “Expansion of wellness programs through this initiative will have an immediate and positive impact on Parkinson’s patients in our community, and we are honored to be a part of this program.” 

"The Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston is proud to be partnering with BIDMC and NPF to expand wellness opportunities for individuals living with Parkinson’s in the Greater Boston area. With generous support from the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation, this program will enhance the JCC’s ability to fulfill our mission and serve everyone in the community. The initial response to the program has reinforced that there is a significant need among people living with Parkinson’s and their families,” said Mark Sokoll, President/CEO of the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston.

“This program is on the cutting edge of the international movement towards greater collaboration between patients, providers and community organizations,” said Amy Lemen, LCSW, managing director of the Edmond J. Safra National Parkinson’s Wellness Initiative and associate director of support and community services at NYUL PMDC.  “We are grateful to Mrs. Lily Safra and the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation for their vision in helping to build high quality partnership programs and services that are making a difference now in people’s lives.”

This program is funded through the generous support of The Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation. If you would like to learn more about The Edmond J. Safra National Parkinson’s Wellness Initiative, visit or call the NPF Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636). 

About Parkinson's Disease (PD)
Affecting an estimated one million Americans and four to six million worldwide, Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer's and is the 14th leading cause of death in the United States. It is associated with a progressive 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 A mood disorder whose symptoms can include a persistent sad or empty mood, feelings of hopelessness or pessimism, irritability and loss of interest or pleasure in previously enjoyable activities. and anxiety A feeling of nervousness, worried thoughts and physical distress.). There is no cure for PD and 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States alone.

About the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation 
The Edmond J. Safra Foundation supports hundreds of projects related to science and medicine, education, religion, culture and humanitarian relief in over 40 countries. The Foundation has provided significant funding for Parkinson’s disease research  and patient care at dozens of hospitals and institutes in places as varied as Natal (Brazil), Toronto, New York, Grenoble, Paris, London, and Jerusalem. For more information, visit  

About the NYU Langone Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center
The Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center at NYU Langone Medical Center was established in 2007 with the generous support of the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation to help individuals and families living with PD and other movement disorders to achieve the highest possible quality of life now. In only 7 years of existence, the Center has established itself as a leader in PD care, research, and outreach on the local, national and international levels, and it has quickly grown to be one of the largest movement disorders center in NYC. The Center was awarded the prestigious designation of NPF Center of Excellence in 2009. For more information, visit or call 646-501-9241.

About the JCC in Manhattan 
Located on 76th Street and Amsterdam, the JCC is a vibrant non-profit community center on the Upper West Side. The cornerstone of progressive programming in Manhattan, the JCC serves over 55,000 people annually through 1,200 programs each season that educate, inspire, and transform participants' minds, bodies, and spirits.  The Marti Ann Meyerson Center for Health & Wellness is at the heart of the JCC's efforts to create a holistic environment that allows members to live their healthiest, most vibrant, and most complete life possible, serving people from every age and stage. For more information, visit

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