Parkinson's Action Network Honors Secretary Eric K. Shinseki with the 2013 Morris K. Udall Award for Public Service

(WASHINGTON, June 28, 2013) – The Parkinson’s Action Network (PAN) will honor Eric K. Shinseki, secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), with the Morris K. Udall Award for Public Service at this year’s Morris K. Udall Awards Dinner on October 8.

Secretary Shinseki is a retired U.S. Army General and was appointed as the Secretary of Veterans Affairs by President Barack Obama in 2009. Under his leadership, the VA finalized a regulation to expand disability benefits for Vietnam veterans living with Parkinson’s disease. PAN worked closely with U.S. Military Veterans with Parkinson's to ensure that veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange received the benefits they earned. The VA has also proposed regulations to designate parkinsonism, depression, and dementia as service-connected for veterans who experienced a moderate to severe traumatic brain injury during their service.

Prior to his appointment, Shinseki was Chief of Staff in the U.S. Army from 1999 to 2003. During his tenure, he initiated the Army Transformation Campaign to address emerging strategic challenges of the early 21st century and the need for cultural and technological change in the Army. Shinseki also led the Army during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom and integrated the pursuit of the Global War on Terrorism with Army Transformation, enabling the Army to continue to adapt while at war.

“It has been an honor to work with Secretary Shinseki over the last several years to ensure veterans receive the benefits they so deserve,” said Amy Comstock Rick, PAN CEO. “Secretary Shinseki’s work is an outstanding example of the impact excellent public service has on the lives of people in the Parkinson’s community.”

The Morris K. Udall Awards Dinner will take place on October 8 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. NPR’s Diane Rehm will interview author and neurologist Oliver Sacks, M.D., the dinner’s special guest. Diane Rehm and her husband John Rehm, along with Morton Kondracke, are co-chairs of the evening and are joined by Michael J. Fox as honorary chair of the dinner.

PAN will also honor long-time Parkinson’s disease advocate, Monnie Lindsay with the 2013 Milly Kondracke Award for Outstanding Advocacy.

For more information on the Udall Awards Dinner, visit http://www.parkinsonsaction.org/udall.

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About the Morris K. Udall Award of Public Service
Morris K. Udall served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 30 years and was a candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 1976. During “Mo’s” distinguished career, he infused American politics with his singular style of humor, grace, and dignity. Many of today’s leaders – both Democrats and Republicans – have cited Mo as an inspiration and role Model. As a partisan Democrat, he was a much-feared debate opponent, but he was fair and always decent. It is this spirit that the Morris K. Udall Award for Public Service is presented to an individual who has made important contributions to public policy with humor, grace, and dignity.

About the Parkinson’s Action Network (PAN)
PAN is the unified voice of the Parkinson’s community advocating for better treatments and a cure. In partnership with other Parkinson’s organizations and our powerful grassroots network, PAN educates the public and government leaders on better policies for research and an improved quality of life for people living with Parkinson’s. PAN was founded in 1991 and is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. To learn more, visit www.parkinsonsaction.org.

Media Contact:
Kristina Gawrgy Campbell; kcampbell@parkinsonsaction.org; 202-638-4101 x113