History & Mission

The American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) was founded in 1961 to Ease the Burden - Find the Cure for Parkinson's disease. In that time APDA has raised and invested more than $89 million in patient services and education and has been a funding partner in most of the major Parkinson's disease scientific breakthroughs. As the country's largest grassroots organization serving more than one-million Americans with Parkinson's disease and their families, APDA's energy is focused on research, patient services, education and raising public awareness. Funding includes support of a national network of chapters, Information and Referral (I&R) Centers, support groups, eight Centers for Advanced Research, and grants to fund the most promising research toward discovering the cause(s) and finding the cure for Parkinson's.

Ease the Burden
Since 1961 APDA has funded more than $44 million in Patient Services. APDA has a vast network of community-based services throughout the country delivered by chapters and Information & Referral (I&R) that provide programs, services, and resources to facilitate a better quality of life for the Parkinson's community. It is this grassroots structure that distinguishes APDA from other organizations serving people with Parkinson's disease. Here is a complete list of all local resources.

Find the Cure
Since 1961 APDA has supported more than $45 million to scientific research and has been a funding partner in most of the major PD scientific breakthroughs.

Research Milestones
1962- 1965 Establishing the effectiveness of high-dose oral levodopa in treating PD – funded the work of Dr. George C. Cotzias that remains the gold standard in PD treatment.

1979-80 Establishing the role of carbohydrates on levodopa – funded the work of Dr. John H. Growden at the New England Medical Center.

1985 Establishing the role of dopamine agonists in PD – funded the research of Dr. Menek Goldstein at New York University School of Medicine.

1990 Establishing the role of environment and heredity in PD treatment – funded the work of Dr. Roger Duvoisin at Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine, which led to the linking of PD to DNA markers for a small region of chromosome 4.

1995 The discovery of alpha-Synuclein – funded the work of Dr. Lawrence Golbe and his team at Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine that discovered the protein alpha-synuclein, a major constituent of Lewy bodies.

1996 Brain cell transplantation – APDA's Cotzias Fellowship funded the work of Dr. Serge Prezedborski, at Columbia University School of Medicine, which became the basis of advanced research in cell transplantation for Parkinson's disease.