What is the World Parkinson Congress?
The World Parkinson Congress (WPC) is an international forum for dialogue on the latest scientific discoveries, medical practices, and care partner initiatives related to Parkinson’s disease (PD). WPC takes place approximately every three years (with a recent delay due to COVID-19), each time in a different location around the world.
A unique aspect of the conference is that it brings together physicians, neuroscientists, clinicians, and health professionals from many fields of expertise, as well as people living with PD and care partners for a well-rounded and inspiring experience. Most conferences are designed for a medical audience or a lay audience; it is rare to have both participating in this way.
Registration is now open for the 6th WPC which will take place in Barcelona, Spain from July 3-7, 2023. The early bird registration deadline is March 23 – so this is the right time to consider whether you can go! APDA will be there, so if you attend, please come find us in the Exhibit Hall and say hello!
While we know it is not feasible for many of you to attend, we thought you’d enjoy learning more about this exciting gathering and to know that this vast group of varied and very passionate people are coming together in this impactful way to make a difference for people with PD. And rest assured, upon our return from WPC we will update you on the latest news and developments from the conference! (You also might enjoy our recap from the last WPC.)
World Parkinson Congress History
The very first WPC took place in Washington DC in 2006, and most recently the 5th WPC took place in Kyoto, Japan in 2019. At that last conference, 1,660 health professionals and researchers were present as well as 1,117 people with Parkinson’s, care partners and other advocates. (The next WPC was meant to take place in 2022 but was delayed by a year because of concerns about COVID-19.)
WPC is hosted by the World Parkinson Coalition, a non-profit organization dedicated to running this event. A large array of PD organizations from around the world participate, including APDA. As an International Partner of the World Parkinson Coalition, APDA will have a presence in the main exhibit hall and will be supporting several programs throughout the conference including a Living Well With PD Special Panel and a Health Professional Networking event, among others. Several members of our senior management team have also been invited to take part in a special Leadership Forum being held the day before WPC begins.
Why Does APDA Attend WPC?
Events like WPC offer us a tremendous opportunity to interact and collaborate with our peers in the PD world – doctors, researchers, other PD organizations, pharmaceutical partners, and more. We get to hear some of the latest developments in PD science and treatments firsthand, and we get to meet a whole new audience of people who can benefit from the support and information APDA provides to people with PD and their families. We always come back from this event armed with new ideas and energized to continue our important work.
What Happens at WPC?
The conference program is quite varied, with something for everyone. All sessions are open to all delegates.
This is the most essential part of the program. The sessions are designed to present a vast array of information about Parkinson’s disease, geared to all levels of scientific knowledge. These will take various forms – large lectures, smaller workshops, as well as roundtable discussions which will highlight a particular topic in small groups. Sessions will take place throughout each day. Some time slots will feature parallel talks, with participants attending the session of their choosing. Faculty includes some of the most well-known researchers and doctors in the PD world from across the globe. Many of the sessions will feature simultaneous translation from English to Spanish.
Poster sessions allow attendees to peruse posters of the latest, yet-to-be-published research in one of four broad categories – Basic Science, Clinical Science, Clinical Diagnosis/Quality of Life and Living with Parkinson’s. It is an opportunity for researchers and other professionals to showcase their most exciting projects and have their work reviewed by attendees. Poster topics must go through an official approval process before getting selected. APDA will proudly have two posters on display.
This area at the Congress focuses on self-care and includes the Care Partner Lounge, the Meditation and Mindfulness Room, and the Table Tennis Room. WPC is an exciting few days, but it is very busy, and these wellness elements offer people opportunities to take some breaks, test out some wellness and mindfulness activities they may be curious about, and interact with other attendees.
There will be space at the conference for authors to display their newly published works related to PD (these books are reviewed and approved ahead of time.) Congress participants will be able to browse the book nook, review the books, and meet the authors.
These are opportunities for various subsections of health care professionals who work with people with PD – nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech language pathologists, social workers, and registered dieticians – to meet each other and exchange ideas. APDA will be supporting the Health Professional Networking Event.
Other special features of the Congress will include WPC Theater, Clinical Research Village, World Café, PD Movement and Music Lounge, and a video competition. An opening ceremony will feature a WPC 2023 Choir.
Are you thinking about going to WPC?
The WPC website has a housing and travel tab which gives information about traveling in Spain and links to making hotel reservations.
Traveling with PD can be tricky at times, which is why the WPC instituted a program called the WPC Parkinson Ready Program which offers PD trainings in the three months leading up to the Congress for police officers, fire fighters, airport customs officials and transportation staff, as well as hotel and convention center staff to familiarize them with the symptoms of PD and how to best assist those who may need a hand. This is an important program that not only helps to keep everyone safe, but also helps attendees feel reassured that those they will interact with throughout their WPC experience will be familiar with PD.
Bike to Barcelona
The vast majority of those attending WPC will take a plane to Barcelona. However, some ambitious WPC delegates are participating in Tour de Parkinson’s, a grueling 14-18 day cycling event which will start in Brighton, England and finish in Barcelona. The team of 20 consists of nine people with PD and various care partners, friends, and advocates. Cycling will cover 60-100 kilometers a day to make it to Barcelona for the conference! Other smaller teams will cycle from locations within Spain, including a team from Valencia. This event is meant to raise awareness about PD and about the Congress.
Tips and Takeaways
- The 6th World Parkinson Congress will take place in Barcelona, Spain from July 3-7, 2023.
- APDA partnered with WPC at the last Congress (as well as many before that) and will be there in Barcelona as well. These events are an important opportunity for APDA to interact with the global PD community.
- Participants at the Congress will include a unique mix of PD researchers and health care providers as well as people with PD, care partners and other PD advocates.
- The Congress will feature scientific sessions geared to all levels of scientific knowledge, as well as plenty of opportunities for wellness, creative outlets, and networking.
- Now is the time for YOU to consider going to Barcelona. Peruse the WPC website to learn more.
- APDA will report news and updates from WPC so you don’t miss a thing.