Health Professionals (Non-Physician)

Health Professionals (Non-Physician) Special Interest Group Sets Goals

August 2011

Contributed by Carol Moskowitz, APRN-C

New Chair for
Special Interest Group

Ruth Hagestuen, RN, MA

Business Development and Community Relations Partner
Struthers Parkinson’s Center and
Consultant, National Parkinson Foundation, USA

Ruth HagestuenRuth Hagestuen’s work with Parkinson’s began in 1987 at the Methodist Hospital Parkinson’s Center in Minneapolis which was renamed the Struthers Parkinson’s Center (SPC) in 1995. In July, 2000, Ruth joined the National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) staff as National Program Director and remained with the Foundation as Vice President and Director of Programs until July, 2009. She continues to work as consultant to NPF and director of Allied Team Training for Parkinson (ATTP). Ruth has rejoined the SPC team developing care strategies and networks that provide access to informed care for people with Parkinson’s and related movement disorders throughout the continuum of care.

Together we have taken the needs expressed by the survey responders in our Needs Assessment Survey and further articulated by the webpage leaders to state one big purpose for this group: integrating the health professionals into the fabric of the whole Society. This lofty statement has three short-term goals.



The first goal is outreach to health professionals who are currently not MDS members in order to make membership at $100 per annum irresistible. The reason we call it outreach is to broaden the approach. If an HP is a movement disorder expert, we invite them to be not just members, but to be actively involved in projects listed below.

The person who heads outreach is Theresa Towle, who has chosen this work as part of her doctoral studies. We have divided the world into regions and disciplines. Here are two examples of how this might work: Some outreach team members will focus on all HPs in South America, while others will focus on recruiting only advance practice nurses in the UK. If you are interested in outreach, click here to submit an interest form.



The second goal is education in many forms.

a) Increasing poster presence; contact us to work on your abstract and design;

b) Increasing the number of topics suggested to the Congress’ Scientific Program Committee. We now have a very experienced academic appointed to this all-important committee. She is Lynn Rochester. Online submission deadline is always in the week immediately following the Congress; so submit early (January – May).

c) Increasing the number of parallel sessions, workshops and panel discussions at the 2014 International Congress in Stockholm, Sweden.

d) Featured Article Reviews: Uploading to the webpage one carefully selected peer-reviewed article with a brief commentary to broaden the scope of HPs and their neurologist colleagues. Your suggestions are welcome; please send the reference or the link to Heidi Friedrichs, Website Manager, at

To express your interest in helping with educational efforts, click here to submit an interest form.



The third goal is research.

e) A project to define meaningful measures for qualitative and quantitative research which is tentatively called, Level One Research Project. The need for research into what really works in HP practice is acute. Researchers mentor each other. Those interested in mentoring must submit their letter of intent and CV to Heidi Friedrichs.

A long-term goal is now in the discussion and planning phase to develop a 12-credit (4 courses x 3 credits) certification program that will take until 2016 to put together. If we start work on it now, we can mount such a program in collaboration with an online university and MDS. This is the most commonly stated educational need. Such a program may provide a revenue stream to MDS. Faculty is slowly emerging and being selected. If you are faculty and an experienced clinician, send your letter of intent and CV to Heidi. In addition, free standing modules addressing very specific topics, such as ‘clinical trials coordination’ could be made available through MDS. If you are interested in getting involved with Research efforts, click here to submit an interest form.


Sign Off
Thank you for your confidence in me and your contributions over these past two years. I think we are well on our way to fulfilling the promise embedded in our mission statement. In a sense, the webpage now becomes the monthly newsletter of the Special Interest Group. I will continue to work on small projects and support the many talented health professionals who have stepped forward to take on the work of the webpage and the Special Interest Group.

Click here to read a message from the past Webpage Editor