Celebrating our 2021 Honorees

Citizen Scientists® Are the Missing Piece of the Alzheimer's and Parkinson’s Puzzles

The concept behind the Citizen Scientist Awards® is simple – we can't find cures for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's without clinical trial participants. Ninety percent of Alzheimer's, and 80% of Parkinson's studies, are delayed due to insufficient recruitment, making research participants the key piece of the puzzle. We hope their stories inspire you or someone you know to contact a research site to ask about research opportunities.

Many Stories, One Common Purpose

In 2021, GAP-Net sites across North America nominated Alzheimer's and, for the first time, Parkinson's study participants for the Citizen Scientist Awards®. Nominees represented people with these diseases or individuals at risk of developing the disease with a wide range of backgrounds who conveyed a variety of reasons for getting involved with research. Many study participants had previously cared for family members afflicted with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's. Their personal experiences motivated them to volunteer for a clinical trial, not only for themselves, but to stop Alzheimer's and Parkinson's from impacting future generations. Whatever their reasons, all Citizen Scientists® have the same goal: being part of finding cures for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Meet the 2021 National Citizen Scientist Honorees

Anthony 'Tony' Ng

Nominated by
Toronto Memory Program
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The Cornerstone Award recognizes a clinical trial participant who has personally made extraordinary efforts to support local research and participate in a trial.

Carol Petersen

Nominated by
Raleigh Neurology Associates
Raleigh, NC

The Collaborator Award recognizes a study partner for someone who is enrolled or was enrolled in an Alzheimer's disease or dementia trial.

Dan McEachin

Nominated by
QUEST Research Institute
Farmington Hills, MI

The Champion Award recognizes a clinical trial participant who fights for a cause and is an advocate for trial participation in the community.

Sheila Minor

Nominated by
Progressive Medical Research
Port Orange, FL

The Catalyst Award recognizes a clinical trial participant who acts as a stimulus in bringing about or hastening a result through creative, new, and novel approaches to encourage clinical trial participation.

Anthony 'Tony' Ng
"There's a practical benefit to being involved in a trial; not just for the future but myself. It makes me realize that we all need to move forward together."

Anthony 'Tony' Ng

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Toronto Memory Program

Anthony 'Tony' Ng saw the signs of dementia in his father years ago and, when he started to experience similar things, he went to the Toronto Memory Program(TMP) for a memory screen.

According to the team from TMP, Tony has been a model volunteer since 2016. He doesn't miss appointments, he keeps his mind and body active, and is well supported by his wife, Kathie. He continues to love learning and playing music, as well as practice speaking other languages. The TMP team adores Tony and Kathie, and are grateful for participants like them.

Carol Petersen
"There's a practical benefit to being involved in a trial; not just for the future but myself. It makes me realize that we all need to move forward together."

Carol Petersen

Raleigh, NC
Raleigh Neurology Associates

Carol has been a study partner for her husband, John, since 2019 when he was enrolled in the GRADUATE (Roche) study. Since then, John has experienced a significant cognitive decline and Carol's role has changed from wife to caregiver. She has taken on this new role with tenacity and grace and has taken every measure to make sure John does not miss a visit.

John was a career scientist and always believed in supporting scientific investigation, which is why Carol understands the importance of clinical trials. She is knowledgeable and engaged in the process, diligent in communicating her observations of John to the Raleigh Neurology Associates team, and extremely supportive of him during the last 2 years. Both John and Carol know their participation will benefit generations to come.

Dan McEachin
"In order to be a helpful volunteer, it's necessary to accept things that may be outside your comfort zone, and not only volunteer for what is easy or convenient but volunteer for what needs to be done."

Dan McEachin

Farmington Hills, MI
QUEST Research Institute

Dan has been a research volunteer at many different sites: 4 at QUEST Research Institute, 1 at Northwestern University, 5 at University of Michigan, and 4 online studies. He is a co-facilitator of the Parkinson's Disease Self Group at the Michigan Parkinson Foundation (MPF) and was selected to be a "Hero for PD" at their walkathon. He was a delegate at the World Parkinson's Congress in Japan, submitted a video to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes, and is on the Advisory Committee of the Udall Center at the University of Michigan (where he has been a trial participant).

Dan has spoken at several MPF events in-person and online, as well events for Rock Steady Boxing, the Michael J. Fox Foundation in the D, and Detroit News. He was also an advocate for QUEST at the Van Andel Symposium last September.

Dan has a family history of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, which gives him a special appreciation for neurological research. His unmatched passion to learn and help advance research is an inspiration to the team at Quest, and a huge morale booster for himself.

Sheila Minor
"I think people need to get more involved in medical research and not be afraid of it. I want to be an advocate."

Sheila Minor

Port Orange, FL
Progressive Medical Research

Sheila's mother passed from Alzheimer's disease, and she wanted to do her part for herself and others. She and her husband, Rick, are a part of Progressive Medical Research's Vietnam Veterans outreach group. Many of their volunteers have come from Sheila's recruitment efforts. Unfortunately, during the COVID-19 pandemic the program was halted. That didn't stop Sheila; she would bring guests to Progressive Medical Research's "lunch and learns" when she could to help destigmatize Alzheimer's and study participation.

Sheila takes her referrals very seriously, and everyone that she's recommended has gets through the pre-screening and qualifies for a clinical trial before a blood test or Alzheimer's testing.

The team at Progressive Medical highly values Sheila and her efforts. They say she is always kind and has a positive attitude, and they need people like her who see the value in participating in clinical trials and impart that encouragement to others.

Sponsors

The Citizen Scientist Awards® are made possible by the generosity of our sponsors:

GAP always welcomes sponsors committed to supporting the Citizen Scientist Award program.

To find out more, please contact the CSA Program at CSA@globalalzplatform.org.