PSG Election 2024

Voting opens on May 15, 2024 and closes at 11:59 PM on June 15, 2024. 

Investigator Candidates

Vanessa Hinson, MD, PhD, FAAN

Medical University of South Carolina

Bio:  Vanessa K. Hinson, MD, PhD, FAAN, is Professor of Neurology, Director of the Movement Disorders Program and Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence at the Medical University of South Carolina and holds the Josephine Tucker Morse S.C. Centers of Economic Excellence Chair in Parkinson’s Research. Dr. Hinson is also Chief of Neurology at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, Director of their Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Clinical Center (PADRECC) Associated Site, and was instrumental in developing the VA National Institute for Brain Health. Dr. Hinson received her medical degree from the University of Hamburg, Germany, and Neurology residency training at the Medical University of South Carolina, followed by a Movement Disorders fellowship at Rush University Medical Center.

Dr. Hinson has been recognized for her ability to build complex clinical and research health care programs, both on the University and VA side. She has led numerous clinical trials in the field of movement disorders and has mentored many junior faculty members and research coordinators on clinical trials design and conduct. Her personal research centers around the theme of non-invasive brain stimulation for Parkinson’s Disease.

Personal Statement:  Dr. Hinson joined the PSG in 2003 and has functioned as a site-PI on many PSG studies since then. Furthermore, she had the honor to chair the Parkinson Study Group Budget Committee from 2016-2020, attend the PSG annual meetings, and is a member of the PSG biomarkers and cognitive working groups. Dr. Hinson is excited to be considered as an investigator member of the PSG Executive Committee and plans to bring her more than 20 years’ experience in PD clinical trials to the organization. She is especially interested in working on improving inclusion of veterans and members of underserved communities into clinical trials, as well as improving education and support for the PSG research coordinators.

Irene Malaty, MD, FAAN

University of Florida

Bio:  I am the Barbara Padgett Dein Professor of Parkinson’s disease at the University of Florida department of neurology, where I have been dedicated to multidisciplinary care of PD and other movement disorders.  I am a clinician-trialist-educator, and enjoy working hard to promote each of these missions.

I am director of the Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence at UF, and have consistently been involved in multi-site efforts for quality improvement and discovery of best practices.  This has included being site-PI for the Parkinson Foundation Quality Improvement Initiative, overseeing recruitment of over 600 patients for prospective longitudinal data collection regarding engagement in rehabilitative therapies, hospitalizations, and falls in order to inform and to promote best practices. I am currently participating in a Safe Hospitalization Initiative, bridging pharmacy, nursing, rehabilitative, electronic medical record, and physician involvement to reduce harm and improve safety of hospitalized people with Parkinson’s disease.  

Our team has been able to identify vulnerabilities in our hospital system and is working on a multi-tiered plan of attack to improve care.   I believe that some of our greatest achievements come from bridging the capabilities of diverse minds and perspectives, and these initiatives have been blossoming from the joint contributions of multiple professional backgrounds.  Similarly, I have been engaged in efforts to improve palliative care and to enhance diversity of our clinic and research population.  Additionally, I have been PI and sub-I on numerous trials in PD and other movement disorders for at least 15 years.   I serve on the American Academy of Neurology Science Committee ensuring that movement disorders science and education are well represented, and have helped chair and organize poster and platform sessions for the the last several years. I previously served as chair of the AAN Movement Disorder Section, and helped create a movement disorders fellowship curriculum and reading plan that was disseminated for public use to help guide educational goals across programs.

I have been a core faculty of the Parkinson Foundation Team Training Program, helping educate multidisciplinary care teams across the country how to implement best care.  I am grateful to have received the UF College of Medicine Exemplary Teacher Award several times, and remain engaged with our training programs to optimize the experience of trainees in learning about movement disorders and in developing into well-trained, empathetic physicians.   As educating the public and helping people live well with PD is also a priority, I speak to multiple support groups and have co-authored the book, Living with Parkinson Disease, in addition to over 100 peer-reviewed articles.

My greatest interests in PD are non-motor and neuropsychiatric aspects, as well as improving care.  Beyond PD care, I have deep interests in Tourette syndrome and botulinum toxin injections. 

Personal Statement:  I have gratitude and enthusiasm for the opportunity to serve on the PSG executive committee.  Having been involved in PSG for many years, I have had the benefit of participating in the community and collaboration that brings Parkinson disease trials into action and fosters the exchange of knowledge and information that leads to benefit for our patients.  I would like to have the chance to work more directly in the continuous effort to unify our forces and overcome obstacles to push forward progress in PD understanding and management. 

Tiago Mestre, MD, PhD

Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Bio: Tiago Mestre, MD, PhD is a Scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and an Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa in Canada. His main research interests in PD include digital health technology and care integration, pharmacological therapeutic development for unmet care needs, and clinical trial methodology, namely, the use of placebos and clinical rating scale development. Tiago Mestre is the Director of the Clinical Outcomes Assessment program of the MDS and the current President of the Canadian Movement Disorders Society.

Tiago Mestre joined the PSG during his fellowship at the University of Toronto (Dr. Anthony Lang) ten years ago. He was recipient of the PSG-MCRA award in 2015. He regularly attends the annual meetings of the PSG. He served in the PSG Mentoring Committee and chaired the new Motor Features WG. Together with Zoltan Mari (Co-chair) he was responsible for the WG having embraced research in digital health technology in the motor domain of PD. He has participated in various multi-center trials sponsored by PSG. 

Personal Statement: I am honoured by the possibility of being a future member the PSG Executive Committee as investigator. I have been a member of the PSG for more than ten years. The PSG supported my early academic career as recipient of the Mentored Clinical Research Award and, this way, welcome me to a North American community of excellence in Parkinson’s research. The return every year to the PSG annual meeting is a unique opportunity to collaborate, exchange ideas and drive collaborative research with colleagues and friends. 

As a future member of the Executive Committee, I would be putting to the service of the PSG the significant leadership experience gained in different organizations such as the IP Movement Disorders Society, the Canadian Movement Disorders Society, and the PSG itself, alongside the accrued expertise as a clinical researcher in PD, namely, in clinical trial development and implementation. 

It is vital that PSG continues to drive large collaborative research in a time of paradigm change with biology-driven therapeutic targeted development and the growing use of innovative trial designs and digital outcomes. I believe my contribution as member of the Executive Committee will support PSG in navigating this novel landscape with success.

Coordinator Candidates

Amy Chesire, LCSW-R, MSG

The University of Rochester

Bio:  Amy is a licensed clinical social worker and the clinical research manager in Neurology for the movement disorders division at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in Rochester, New York.  She joined URMC in 1992 after receiving a master’s degree in social worker and a master’s degree in gerontology from the university of southern California.  She later completed post graduate training in marriage and family therapy at the Institute for the Family at URMC.  She has been a research study coordinator for the past 25 years working on numerous clinical and observational trials in Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease. She is the clinical social worker at the Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence at the University of Rochester providing clinical care, support, research and education to individuals and their families coping with Parkinson’s disease.  Her own areas of research and clinical interest include understanding caregiver burden and finding ways to build resilience and agency for individuals and their families as they live with Parkinson’s disease.

Personal Statement:  I believe it truly takes a strong community/village to help design, conduct and successfully complete clinical trials for Parkinson’s disease.  The PSG since its founding in 1986 at my institution, the University of Rochester has been making the most of its precious resources to improve the lives of patients living with PD.  As a clinician, study coordinator and research manager for the past three decades, my participation on the executive committee (if elected) would serve to expand and build support for the critical role and “heart of clinical research” that I believe PSG study coordinators continually represent.

Buff Farrow, BSEd

Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University

Bio:  Buff Farrow is a Clinical Research Manager who has worked with the Augusta University Movement and Memory Disorders Program for over 22 years. She began her research career in neurology in 1994 under the direction of Dr. Micheal Rivner, where she served for 4 ½ years, while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in education, which she obtained from Augusta State University in 1998. Dr. Kapil Sethi hired Buff in 2001 as the first Clinical Research Manager in this section. She has been a member of the Parkinson Study Group for around 20 years and has served as primary coordinator on several PSG trials. Buff says she feels very blessed to say that after also 30 years in the research field, she still loves her job. She has had the joy and satisfaction of seeing many of the drugs that are currently available to treat Parkinson’s Disease go through the research process over the last two decades.  In Buff’s spare time, she enjoys spending time with her two adult children and transporting rescue dogs.

Personal Statement:  I would be honored to serve on the Parkinson Study Group Executive Committee. After nearly 30 years in the field and two decades of membership in the PSG, I remain passionate about our mission to facilitate the participation of Parkinson patients in clinical trials under the cooperative care of skilled and experienced researchers. I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to contribute to our community in this unique way.

Renee Wagner, RN, CCRC

University of Kentucky

Bio:  I completed my nursing degree in 1998 and am licensed in the state of KY.  In addition to my nursing degree, I have an AA degree and a BA in Political Science with a minor in computer science.  I am the Research Protocol Manager for the Kentucky Neuroscience Institute and have been a clinical research coordinator/clinical research nurse at the University of Kentucky since 2002.  I achieved certification as a certified clinical research coordinator thru the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) in 2004 and continue to maintain that certification. 

Since 2002, a major focus of my clinical research activities has been patients with Parkinson’s disease and other related movement disorders.  I have coordinated over 50 multicenter studies and 10 single center clinical trials with Parkinson’s disease patients thru the years.  These trials have encompassed the entire spectrum of clinical trials from Phase I-IV.  In addition, I have served as a research nurse on >5 Phase I healthy volunteer studies (non-neurology).  I was the research nurse and coordinator for the GDNF Phase I trial which started at UK as a PI-initiated study and progressed to an industry sponsored project.  I have served as the research nurse on many other non-movement disorder neurology studies and thus have knowledge of a broad spectrum of neurological diseases.

Personal Statement:  I have been involved with the PSG for approximately 17 years.  Research coordinators are valuable members of the research team. Due to the involvement of PD colleagues, the opportunities and educational resources available to coordinators within the PSG has made remarkable strides these past few years.   I would like to continue to expand those offerings for current and future coordinators.

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