The third edition of the World Parkinson Congress kicked off October 1-4, 2013 at the Palais des congrès in Montreal, and JPdL International was proud to be part of the action. The team managed a full mandate, including sponsorship and exhibit management, on-site logistics, scientific and final program management, and on-site and online registration just to name a few.
The Congress attracted close to 3,500 delegates from 64 countries, confirming the event’s successful and unique attendee engagement model. Unlike other industry-related conferences, the World Parkinson Congress includes not only renowned doctors, researchers, nurses and other medical players in the field, but also patients, their caregivers, and families. The Congress is therefore not just a forum to exchange knowledge in the field of Parkinson research, but also a community where every voice affected by the disease can be heard.
In addition to the traditional, large sessions, typical of major medical events, the Congress took extra care to feature opportunities for more interactive exchanges, such as the “Meet the Expert” roundtables. According to Serge Przedborski, M.D., Ph.D., and Chair of the Program Committee, patients sometimes need more one-on-one attention: “Often a person with Parkinson’s disease has some personal needs and questions, so we created what we call the Roundtable or “Meet the Expert”, where…physicians, clinicians, researchers or patients can sit with an expert in a given field and have a more personalized type of interaction with that expert.”
The Congress’s emphasis on high touch was also evident on the exhibit floor, where non-profits, pharmaceuticals, and movement disorder specialists enjoyed face-to-face time with researchers, doctors and patients. Matthew Johnson, Director of Sales and Marketing from APDM: Movement Monitoring Solutions appreciated the interaction: “It’s unique in not just the Parkinson’s community, but movement disorders and stroke and fall risk. I mean, you never see the patients interacting with the doctors. It’s just a phenomenal experience.”
To make patients feel welcome, the Congress committee included the Wellness Way Program, which ran a variety of patient-oriented activities throughout the convention centre. Participants had their pick from Reiki, massages, dancing, singing, and laughter therapy, among others. According to Elizabeth Pollard, Executive Director of the World Parkinson Coalition, the Congress would not have been the same without Wellness Way: “If you need a break from the heavy science, you can go sit down, or not sit down for a class of yoga, or clay therapy, and really just relax and not focus on your mind, but just focus more on the body.”
By all accounts, the Third World Parkinson Congress increased attendance by 15% from 2010, and people living with Parkinson’s accounted for a staggering 50% of attendees. It’s the kind of results that reinforce what the Congress is all about. “When you attend a World Parkinson Congress, not only do you have this amazing scientific program that you get to sift through every day and choose from some of the best speakers on the planet and the most brilliant scientists and clinicians,” says Pollard, “but you also have all the things going on around the scientific program.”
Indeed, from roundtable sessions with experts to yoga poses, the World Parkinson Congress gave every delegate the gift of learning experiences, better remedies and solutions, and, most importantly, hope for a cure.
JPdL International is excited to partner with this important Congress once again in 2016.