“Power In Knowing” Program

Parkinson’s disease (PD) affects people of all races, ethnicities and ages. However, there is a common misconception that PD only impacts older white men.  This has been exacerbated and stereotyped by images of older white men demonstrating a hunched-over posture with tremors all over the internet and social media.   

However, this assumption that PD affects primarily white men, has contributed to a disparity in racial and ethnic minorities across the country. With this bias and the fact that many PD symptoms can mimic typical aging, or without proper health education or training to community physician, the early symptoms of PD can often be overlooked or misdiagnosed. Such that, epidemiology studies show that up to 78% of PD cases are undiagnosed.

Despite recent calls for changes to the images and portrayals of PD, there is still a clear disparity in racial and ethnic minorities across the country. Therefore, Black Americans, Asian Americans and Hispanic Americans adults have oftentimes had difficulties receiving a diagnosis of PD.

New images of Parkinson disease patients
Updated image portraying Parkinson’s Disease

To combat a small part of this disparity in Alachua County, the Fixel Institute has obtained a community grant through the Parkinson’s Foundation.

Ashley Rawls, MD

The Fixel Institute has created the “Power in Knowing” program. This “Power in Knowing” program is a series of three free programs offered at local community churches, aimed at educating Black and African Americans on the symptoms of PD, the importance of early treatment, how to seek care and even how to talk to family members that you might be concerned about.  

Neurologist Ashley Rawls, MD, will be the primary speaker and will be available for questions throughout the program, along with several key members from the rehabilitation team and neurology department.  The first 100 registrants at each event will have food provided and a free premium giveaway. Additionally, free resources from the Parkinson’s Foundation will be provided to individuals seeking further information.

The “Power in Knowing” program dates and locations are as listed:

  • January 29, 2022
    • Mt. Ellah Missionary Baptist Church
      • 1462 NW 60th Ave, Micanopy, Fl 32667
      • Time:1pm-3pm
  • February 5, 2022
    • Greenhouse Church at Lincoln Middle School
      • 1001 SE 12th St, Gainesville, FL 32641
      • Time: 10am-12pm
  • March 26, 2022

If you are interested in attending the program, we ask that you preregister for the program to allow the programmers to adequately plan for food and resources. 

If you have any questions, contact the coordinator, Heather Simpson via email or phone (352.265.9992)

parkinsons foundation

About the Author


Heather Simpson, OTR/L

Heather Simpson graduated with a B.S. in Exercise and Sport Science with a minor in Early Education from the University of Florida in 2007. Following…

Read all articles by Heather Simpson, OTR/L