Raising Awareness and Hope in the Black and African American Parkinson’s Communities – Session 1

With Dr. Claudia Martinez, Denise Coley, Bernard Coley, Wendy Lewis, and Hiral Shah

In 2021, PD Movers invited a group of Black and African Amercian individuals with Parkinson’s and their care partners to develop an educational guide for Parkinson’s designed specifically for the Black and African American community. This group of “movers” includes doctors, researchers, and teachers from Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) and Teachers College, Columbia University. What came from those initial gatherings is a beautiful storybook filled with narratives of African American and Black individuals and care partners who are living and thriving with Parkinson’s.

In this first webinar of the series, the creators behind the book “The PD Movers” (an illustrated storybook highlighting several stories from the Black and African American community) discuss how the idea of the book was born, the process of collecting stories to be published in the book, the impact the book is having, and more.


Dr. Claudia Martinez

Hispanic Community Engagement Manager

Dr. Martinez is the Hispanic Community Engagement Manager at the Foundation. She worked with underserved communities as a primary care physician for about 10 years and was the primary care partner for her father during the years that he lived with Parkinson’s. She also ran the Hispanic Outreach Program at the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center for 15 years. Claudia is passionate about building collaborations, sharing resources, and empowering the underserved Hispanic Parkinson’s community.

Denise Coley

Denise Coley is the founder of Enable Your Vision, a firm that provides supplier diversity consulting to drive economic vitality for diverse businesses, corporations, and the communities in which they reside. Since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2018, she has been focused on a multidisciplinary approach: pulling together a team (medical, fitness (rock steady boxing, tai chi, personal training, yoga, etc.), myofascial therapy, sleep, breathing techniques, and support groups) to help navigate and manage the Parkinson’s journey.

Bernard Coley

Mr. Coley is an executive with 50+ years of experience in the high-technology Industry. He is also a Principal in Enable Your Vision, a firm that provides supplier diversity consulting to drive economic vitality for diverse businesses, corporations, and the communities in which they reside. He earned his MBA and JD from Stanford University and has received distinguished service awards recognizing his management leadership, community leadership, and service contributions to his local community, Stanford University, and youth sports. Currently, Mr. Coley is aiming his talents and time to support those interested in improving the lives of individuals and families affected by Parkinson’s. He is a member of the Parkinson’s Foundation’s Research Advocates group and an advisory board member of the CA Chapter of the Parkinson’s Foundation. Finally, he is joining his wife, Denise, in an outreach initiative to increase awareness of Parkinson’s and Parkinson’s resources in underserved communities of color. They co-chair a special interest group focused on bringing Black perspectives to Parkinson’s research.

Wendy Lewis, MNPL

Wendy Lewis is the Chief Executive Officer at The Parkinson Council. Since her tenure, The Parkinson Council has re-invested over $5.5 million into the Greater Philadelphia region for research, comprehensive care, and quality of life initiatives.

Hiral Shah, MD

Dr. Hiral Shah is an assistant professor of neurology at Columbia University Medical Center in the Division of Multispecialty Neurology. Dr. Shah is most interested in learning how to overcome barriers of stigma and discrimination to improve care access for vulnerable individuals who suffer from mental health conditions and neurodegenerative disorders. This includes the assessment of cognition and mental health among those with neuropsychiatric conditions.