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The Parkinson’s Association traces its roots to 1983.  This organization grew out of a small support and discussion group for Parkinson’s patients and their care partners. The group was founded by Dr. Robert Mowry and his wife, Mary, who, for the next 17 years, would guide the organization as its assistant director and then as its executive director. Based on a desire to expand the support for the San Diego Parkinson’s community the founders established the San Diego Parkinson Corporation (SDPC) as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 1989. 

The SDPC operated a broad array of support programs and services including an in-home respite care program, a transportation/escort program, Parkinson’s training for nurses, sponsorship of a therapeutic singing group for Parkinson’s patients, publication of a quarterly newsletter, and hosting of a SDPC Internet website. 

In 2002, the SDPC initiated a strategic planning process to develop a longer-term plan for expanding its programs and services.  This process resulted in a revised mission, longer-term goals/objectives, and a detailed three-year program including financial, fundraising, and board development plans. 

As part of this planning process, the name of the organization was changed from SDPC to the Parkinson’s Disease Association of San Diego, Inc. (PDASD) to more accurately reflect the nature of the organization.

Today's Parkinson's Association

The organization rebranded in 2013 to become The Parkinson's Association, expanding services to all of Southern California. 

Today, The Parkinson's Association offers programs and services to assist Parkinson’s patients, their family members, and care partners.  We sponsor support groups throughout San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles Counties.  We continue to operate a Southern California based Information & Referral Center, while conducting community based symposiums, workshops and services. The Parkinson's Association serves our local communities with innovative health care programs including the Minds and Motion Health Services. These services include direct programs to help Parkinson's families with counseling, physical and voice therapies. 

The first national Parkinson's magazine,, was established in 2013. Over 38,000 subscribers, including 17,000 neurologists across the United States, read news articles, scientific findings and health and fitness tips for families living with Parkinson's disease.  

The Parkinson's Association is dedicated to supporting Parkinson's research programs throughout Southern California.  We strive to promote collaboration and were one of the three founding members of Summit4StemCell, along with The Scripps Research Institute and Scripps Clinic. Since the inception of this program, the Parkinson's Association has raised close to one million dollars for this cutting edge Parkinson's research. The vision of this program is to use one of the worlds leading regenerative medicine labratories, the Loring Lab at The Scripps Research Institute, to create dopamine producing neurons out of patients own DNA.  Our clinical partner, Dr. Melissa Houser of the Scripps Clinic, will lead her team in implanting the cells, upon FDA approval. The Parkinson's Association is proud to have our staff Senior Scientist, Andres Bratt-Leal, PhD, lead the research effort under the direction of Dr. Jeanne Loring, creating the pluripotent stem cells Dr. Loring's Lab. 

We are actively investing in and evaluating additional promising research programs here in Southern California. The condition in our fund includes direct involvement of one of our Southern California based scientists or health care providers and their willingness to share details of their progress with our supporters.    

Twice a year, the Parkinson's Association sponsors a Walk for Parkinson's called Fighting Parkinson's Step-by-Step.  San Diego holds this event each April, while Los Angeles holds and event in September. These events bring together patients and families, along with physicians, scientists and health care professionals in a unique environment. Our community bands together to view research, learn the latest about progress in the fight against Parkinson's and medical advancements. Other activities include the PAWS for Parkinson' s Pet Festival, the Minds and Motion Health and Fitness Pavilion, the Medical Expo and Symposiums.    

Today's The Parkinson's Association is designed to help improve the lives of people with Parkinson's and the lives of their loved ones.