Bridging the Gap Between Urban and Rural

Moderated by Soania Mathur, MD

When it comes to addressing the needs of a Parkinson’s community, we often talk about an urban/rural divide. It is assumed that the barriers and health disparities that exist for those living in large cities and rural communities are vastly different, but some experts now are suggesting this may not really be the case.

In this webinar, a panel of Parkinson’s organization leaders serving people across the US discussed:

  • Common issues that exist within urban communities and rural communities alike
  • Common assumptions and misunderstandings about rural and urban communities
  • What policy makers and other decision makers miss most often when it comes to addressing the unique needs of our communities
  • What leaders and Parkinson’s advocates can do TODAY to help address health disparities like these that may exist in their own communities

Panelists: Wendy R. Lewis, Amber Winter, Holly Chaimov, and Kathleen Crist, LMSW

Moderator: Soania Mathur, MD


Wendy R. Lewis

CEO, The Parkinson Council (Philadelphia, PA)

A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Wendy is a graduate from the University of Louisville with a degree in Political Science.  After moving to Washington, DC, Wendy worked as Office Administrator in the congressional office of the late U.S. House Majority Whip, William H. Gray, III (2nd-PA).

Wendy returned to the nonprofit sector and moved to Seattle to work on issues that empower young adults to make responsible choices, including harm reduction and prevention programs. While in Seattle, Wendy earned a Masters in Nonprofit Leadership from Seattle University, one of the first in the country to offer a nonprofit leadership program.

Wendy joined The Parkinson Council in 2010. Since her tenure, The Parkinson Council has re-investment over $5 million back into the Greater Philadelphia region for research, comprehensive care, and quality of life initiatives.

Amber Winter

Executive Director, Parkinson’s Nebraska (Omaha, NE)

Amber graduated summa cum laude from Bellevue University in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in Nonprofit Management. As a Nebraska native, she is passionate about building relationships and using her skills to strengthen the statewide Parkinson’s community. Under her leadership, Parkinson’s Nebraska has increased access to services and expanded their reach to communities across the state. Amber is also an active member of her local community. When she is not spending time with her family, she enjoys volunteering and serving as the fundraising chair on the board of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Greater Omaha.

Holly Chaimov

Executive Director, Parkinson’s Resources of Oregon (Beaverton, OR)

Holly joined Parkinson’s Resources of Oregon in August, 1999. She has a BS in Psychology, minor in Gerontology, and a Masters degree in Business Administration. In her tenure with Parkinson’s Resources, Holly has played a key role in the positive growth and development of services for the Parkinson’s community in Oregon and SW Washington. This focus has resulted in a committed community of supporters served out of offices in Bend, Eugene and Beaverton. Holly is also a member of the Unified Parkinson’s Advocacy Council, advancing policies that support people with Parkinson’s disease and their loved ones.

Kathleen Crist, LMSW

Executive Director, Houston Area Parkinson Society (Houston, TX)

Kathleen earned her undergraduate degree in social work from University of Iowa and her master’s in social work from University of Houston. She joined HAPS in 2002 as the Director of Social Services and Program Development before transitioning into the role of executive director in 2018. During her time at HAPS, Kathleen has been responsible for creating and implementing many service initiatives, support groups and educational programs. Kathleen continues to facilitate support groups, the local PD SELF (Parkinson’s Disease Self-Efficacy Learning Forum) and focuses her practice with the newly diagnosed population. Kathleen is a member of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research’s Unified Parkinson’s Advocacy Council (UPAC), is co-chair of the Alliance of Independent Regional Parkinson’s Organizations (AIRPO) and has served as the Director of the National PD SELF (Parkinson’s Disease Self-Efficacy Learning Forum) Program. She currently serves on several committees with local movement disorder clinics and is a member of the Houston Methodist Neurological Institute National Council.


Dr. Soania Mathur, MD

Dr. Soania Mathur is a former family physician living outside of Toronto, Ontario who resigned her clinical practice twelve years following her diagnosis of Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease at age 27. Now she is a dedicated speaker, writer, educator and Parkinson’s advocate and a valued member of our Board of Directors.