Phoenix Researcher to Receive $10,000 Postdoctoral Advocacy Prize for Work on Behalf of the Parkinson's Community

Contact: Kristina Gawrgy Campbell; [email protected]; 202-638-4101 x113

(WASHINGTON, September 5, 2013) – The Parkinson’s Action Network (PAN) has selected Brittany Dugger, postdoctoral fellow at the Banner Sun Health Research Institute in Sun City, Ariz., to receive the 2013 Postdoctoral Advocacy Prize.

The prize is awarded to a postdoctoral Parkinson’s disease researcher in the U.S. who has excelled in biomedical research advocacy and community outreach. Brittany will receive her $10,000 prize during PAN’s Morris K. Udall Awards Dinner on October 8 in Washington, D.C.

“We know from our work in Washington that researchers like Brittany bring a valuable and essential point of view and voice to discussions with lawmakers on the importance of medical research funding and public policy,” said Hayley Carpenter, deputy CEO of PAN. “Brittany has an unbridled and infectious enthusiasm for using science as a means to end Parkinson’s disease and we are delighted to honor her this year.”

Brittany has been actively involved in community outreach since 2006 and advocacy since 2010. This year, Brittany participated in the PAN Forum, a three-day conference held in Washington, D.C., bringing together Parkinson’s advocates from across the nation. She was also chosen to take part in a similar event with 12 other postdoctoral fellows from across the country this September as part of Research!America’s Advocacy Academy.

Brittany Dugger and PAN’s Arizona State Director Michael Greenbaum meet with Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) during the 2013 PAN Forum.
 

Brittany has also been a voice for the importance of research in her local community by providing tours of her lab to elected officials, speaking at Parkinson’s support groups, and holding educational programs for children in her community. In one such educational program, she teaches fourth and fifth graders about comparative anatomy and the functions of the brain using real animal brains. She said she has uses these opportunities to teach children about the importance of brain health and encourage them to consider careers in science.

“I am completely humbled and honored to receive such a prestigious award,” Brittany said. “There are a plethora of wonderful people in the Parkinson’s community that I have met through advocacy that give their heart and soul to the cause. The generous amount given will greatly reduce the financial stress involved in balancing my commitment to research and advocacy. I wish we had more than 24 hours in a day to serve all facets of the Parkinson’s community.”

Scientists often have to deal with budget restraints that limit their research and impact. Brittany said she continues to work in advocacy to make sure that people often making those budget decisions – elected officials – hear directly from the people doing the work.

Brittany said the Postdoctoral Advocacy Prize will enable her to do more community outreach programs, as well as alleviate travel costs for advocacy events and scientific conferences for years to come. 

To learn more about the Postdoctoral Advocacy Prize, visit http://www.parkinsonsaction.org/your-voice/researcher-advocate-prize. To learn more about the Morris K. Udall Awards Dinner on October 8, visit http://www.parkinsonsaction.org/udall.

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The Parkinson’s Action Network 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.