It all started in the Netherlands…
…with contributions by a group of dedicated people including Marten Munneke, Sanne Bouwman, and Dr. Bas Bloem of Radboud University Medical Center. They envisioned an integrated care network through which people with Parkinson’s could see specially-trained health professionals and access high-quality educational materials on demand.
What resulted was ParkinsonNet, a network of more than 3,000 healthcare providers (including neurologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, dietitians, and nurses) across the Netherlands, who specialize in the treating those with Parkinson’s. An important arm of the ParkinsonNet initiative was an educational program: ParkinsonTV.
With more than 40 episodes, the Dutch ParkinsonTV series has been viewed by hundreds of thousands of individuals. Bas and his team pioneered a game-changing formula of having a neurologist, a topic expert, and an individual with Parkinson’s on one panel, and airing engaging real-world vignettes (“Bloem’s Blog”) in the middle of each episode.
The idea for an English version of ParkinsonTV came from numerous collaborations between Bas and Dr. Ray Dorsey of the University of Rochester. Much of Ray’s work focuses on developing and testing technologies that can improve access to care and speed up clinical research.
Following the first national randomized controlled trial of in-home telemedicine for Parkinson’s, Ray began a grant-funded program (PDCNY) to provide free telemedicine care for residents of New York State with Parkinson’s. About a year into the program, Ray decided to add an educational component, and together with Lonneke Rompen and the Dutch team, the first English season of ParkinsonTV was conceived.
We filmed the first season in New York City in May 2017, and distributed the episodes later that summer, reaching more than 250,000 individuals. Building on that precedent and refining content and episode formats, we filmed the second season just across the river in Jersey City in April 2018, and distributed the episodes this past summer, reaching more than 500,000.
We’re now starting to plan for future seasons, and we welcome any comments, suggestions, or opportunities you may have!