Who We Are · Parkinson's Resource Organization

Who We Are

Our Mission: To work so that no one is isolated because of Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s Resource Organization is dedicated to improving the quality of life for families and individuals affected by Parkinson’s disease through education, support, and practical resources. Click here to get in touch and stay in touch for news, updates, and more.

Our History:

Parkinson’s Resource Organization (PRO) was created more than thirty years ago to maximize quality of life for people with Parkinson’s and their families/caregivers through education, resources, and person-to-person support. 

Founder and President Jo Rosen conceived the organization when she found herself overwhelmed and struggling as a double-caregiver for her mother and beloved husband (then fiancé) were diagnosed with Parkinson’s within a few years of each other. A born problem-solver, Jo figured if she could learn everything there was to know about Parkinson’s, she’d be able to “fix” it.  

Things didn’t quite work out that way. After traveling across the country to speak with doctors, researchers, and Parkinson’s organizations, Jo still could not find what she needed – dedicated caregiver support and practical resources for her and her family to ease their journey through Parkinson’s. 

So she created it. 

Originally conceived as Children of Parkinsonians (COPS), “out to arrest Parkinson’s,” the organization launched in 1990 with a $300 donation of stamps and supplies for our very first letter-writing campaign.  

Since then, we’ve helped over 32,000 people with Parkinson’s and their families across Southern California, the greater U.S., and abroad. 

What We Do

To address the acute needs of the Parkinson’s community – namely caregiver support and resource pooling – we built several core programs:

Support Groups – Through dedicated in-person support groups for caregivers and people with Parkinson's, we distribute new information quickly and build a community network that teaches and learns from itself.

Wellness Village Resource Directory The Wellness Village is a free, virtual, vetted, digital resource directory of the best available providers and services within the Parkinson’s world, designed to ease the research burden and introduce constituents to a wide range of holistic and practical support services to navigate Parkinson’s and maximize quality of life.  

Information & Education – Through our long-running newsletter, YouTube channel, and social channels, we educate audiences across the country – and the world – on the latest Parkinson’s news, tried and true lifestyle tips, research, and more. Open forums like our Village Meetings feature researchers, physical therapists, elder law attorneys, and more. One-on-one sessions with Jo Rosen provide direct access to over three decades of learned experience. 

Memorial WallA virtual place to hold the memory of someone who lived with Parkinson’s or Parkinsonisms…and their family members, caregivers, and friends who were touched by Parkinson’s. A virtual place where family and friends can grieve and heal, gain solace and understanding, and virtually ‘visit’ their loved one. A virtual means of announcing the passing to a greater number of people than can otherwise be accomplished through a tangible publication.

As caregivers, people with Parkinson’s, and friends of the community, we know how isolating and all-consuming Parkinson’s can become. We hope the advent of a cure for this hideous disease will soon make our mission obsolete. Until then, our goal remains what it’s always been: working so no one is isolated because of Parkinson’s Disease.

Who We Serve

People with Parkinson’s available resources for people with Parkinson’s or Parkinsonisms include dedicated emotional support groups, information and education, one-on-one coaching, and more.

Caregivers & Familyavailable resources for people caring for, living with, or otherwise supporting a person with Parkinson’s or Parkinsonisms include dedicated emotional support groups, information & education, one-on-one coaching, the Memorial Wall, and more

Service Providers available resources for service providers and business partners include our Wellness Village Resource Directory, newsletter participation opportunities, event sponsorships, and more. 

Contact Us

Toll Free (877) 775-4111 

info@parkinsonsresource.org

Staff and Members of the Board

  • Jo Rosen
  • President & Founder

Jo Rosen

President & Founder

After her mother, then five years later, her future husband Alan were diagnosed with Parkinson’s, Jo Rosen began by seeking out experts and people that had been through similar experiences. She wanted to know what living with Parkinson’s meant for each of them. Jo began the journey by reaching out to all the major Parkinson’s Organizations. She found that fundraising is what they wanted because of her background owning a financial management firm. She also found these organizations were not equipped to recommend support groups for caregivers, alternatives to traditional medical care, or coping with a future facing chronic illness. She began searching for experts in life planning - financial planning - medical care - memory retention - and self-care. The week after her wedding in 1990, Jo decided that her efforts in organizing a major Parkinson’s organization’s symposium at UCLA, were not going to provide solutions to their needs. She felt that if this was missing for her, then it was likely that thousands of others were facing the same challenge. So, she started what is now the 501(c)(3), Parkinson’s Resource Organization (PRO). Jo has been on a 30-year mission to work so that no one is isolated because of Parkinson’s. Every resource in PRO’s network helps emotionally support and provide education to families affected by Parkinson’s, even if the family is made of one.
  • William Remery, Esq.
  • Secretary Treasurer

William Remery, Esq.

Secretary Treasurer

  • Dr. Howard Cohen, DO, HMDC, CMD
  • Board Member

Dr. Howard Cohen, DO, HMDC, CMD

Board Member

Dr. Cohen is a board-certified Hospice and Palliative Care physician (with over 19 years of hospice experience) who graduated from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences medical school in May 1984. He also became one of the first physicians to pass and achieve the distinguished Hospice Medical Director Certification (HMDC) in 2014 from the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) followed by the certification title CMD (Certified Medical Director) from the American Board of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (PALTCM) in 2016. He was sponsored by the US Army with subsequent payback providing care in general medicine, emergency medicine, acute trauma and life support, and obstetrics at US Army hospitals and facilities. Upon completion of the US Army payback, Dr. Cohen continued his work in emergency medicine and achieved Board Certification in Emergency Medicine (EM) via AAPS (American Association of Physician Specialists) in June 1994. Dr. Cohen discusses how his work in emergency medicine led him to Hospice and Palliative care. He explained that this transition was resultant due to patient and family requests of him to assist with their care, after hospital discharge, due to advanced disease and poor prognostic life expectancy. This ongoing care occurred in licensed skilled nursing facilities, residential care facilities, and private homes. This transition eventually grew into a very large medical practice which included consultations, Family Medicine residency training for hospice and palliative medicine, community education, and resultant multi-facility Medical Director designation. He has also been the recipient of numerous accolades and awards for his ongoing support and service to his patients and staff. Despite the expected sadness and grief associated with end-of-life care, Dr. Cohen’s experience has taught him quite the opposite. He has found that allowing persons with a terminal medical condition the freedom to be in complete control of their life, i.e., their choice of care and destiny, was vital. He reports that the support and openness provided by a hospice team has been seen as an amazing emotional rejuvenation. And not only for the patient, but also for their loved ones along with the hospice team members themselves. In fact, Dr. Cohen has received amazing letters and phone calls from hospice patients’ families, thanking the team for such warm and compassionate care, on all levels, after their loved ones passing. Dr. Cohen has stated how grateful and fortunate he has been to be able to assist and support hospice patients with amazing staff from various hospice agencies throughout his many years in hospice care. He also states that a hospice team becomes an integral family-like support to the patient and their loved ones during care as well as after their passing. In fact, one of Dr. Cohen’s gifts is the ability and drive, when appropriate, to bring smiles and laughter to his patients, their loved ones, and his entire and wonderful hospice team members.
  • Karen Fifer Ferry
  • Board Member

Karen Fifer Ferry

Board Member

Karen Fifer Ferry has led and advised organizations for more than 40 years, directing finance, operations, and business strategy for regional and national health care corporations. Throughout her career, Karen has been recognized for her ability to unify diverse staff and associates, improve participatory decision-making based on improved information flow and serve as a successful and effective agent of constructive change. As Co-Founder and Partner of the consulting firm The Harwich Group, Karen has provided hands-on assistance to executive staff within health insurance companies, hospital systems, large physician practices and hospices. Karen earned an A.B. in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard College and an M.B.A. in Health Care Administration and Finance from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Karen so enjoys being the mother of 3 children - a college basketball coach, an industrial engineer and a percussionist and spending time with their terrific mates, and her two grandchildren with another on the way. Her husband of over 35 years, John, is the love of her life, master chef and gardener and huge supporter of all she does.
  • Neil Friedman
  • Board Member

Neil Friedman

Board Member

Neil Friedman has devoted 57 years to our industry and began his career in the 1960’s working in the mattress factory his family owned. He remained active in mattress manufacturing from 1972-2000, then went on to be an outside sales rep for Ashley Furniture. In 2004, he joined Primo International as a sales manager and is currently in an ambassador role for Primo. Friedman has been a staunch and loyal supporter of IHFRA on both a national and local level, having served as President of the Home Furnishing Representative Guild of Southern California. His work in the industry along with his humanitarian outreach initiatives has made him the recipient of numerous awards, including the Rudy Sudyteltemeir award, the Charles B Costar award, City of Hope’s Volunteer of the Year, and others.
  • Richard Katz
  • Board Member

Richard Katz

Board Member

In 2014 Richard retired from a 35-year career in human resources, holding positions as Compensation Manager for May Company Department Stores, Corporate HR Director for Federated Department Stores, VP HR for Carlisle Department Stores, and HR Consultant and Practice Leader for the global consulting firm, Ernst, and Young. Additionally, Richard secured $millions in local, state and federal workforce development grants creating and managing publicly funded job training and placement programs for the entertainment industry known as Spotlight On Jobs and Hollywood Digital Careers. In 1983. Richard established Human Resource Marketing Services to develop and market new technologies in the recruiting and employment fields-- for both the private and public sectors. For this accomplishment, Richard received the SHRM National Pericles Award for, “Outstanding Contribution to the HR Field.” In 2004, HRMS produced customized college conferences bringing together government, education and business stakeholders. Highlights included creating a series of events for the entire University of California system entitled, Career Moves. These conferences focused on career education and recruiting events for thousands of University of California alumni and hundreds of Fortune 1000 employers. Beginning in 2009, and spurred by the HITECH ACT, HRMS organized Health TECH Workforce Forums bringing diverse healthcare stakeholders together as they worked toward the goal of accelerated Electronic Health Records adoption. After retiring in 2013, Richard became a therapy dog handler for the UCLA Health System. While visiting hundreds of hospital patients and their families, Richard was asked many times how one becomes a therapy dog team. Richard soon learned that the public was hungry for education and clarity about the therapy dog field, and created a series of classes focusing on the therapy dog industry. Richard currently teaches How to Certify Your Pet as a Therapy Dog to the public at eight community colleges in Southern and Northern California, as well as professional healthcare workers supporting the disabled community. Realizing the power of therapy dogs, Richard formed a non-for-profit California Corporation, K9 Ambassadors, to extend the usage of therapy dog services in both the private and public sectors. Richard holds a B.A. in Business Administration from UCLA and an MBA from the University of Minnesota.
  • Jim Lawless
  • Board Member

Jim Lawless

Board Member

James Dwyer Lawless earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics and a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Chapman College (University). Jim, as an avocation, taught more than 250 college and university courses over the last 4 decades. He spent 3 decades with the Department of the Navy. He has assisted many non-profits as a volunteer and board member. He has assisted several non-profits at their fundraising activities by donating to that activity and then during the activity multiplying that donation 5 to 8 times. He was a Chamber of Commerce chairman. He spent 4 years as Chairman of a large Southern California credit union where he was instrumental in increasing assets an average of 75% each year. He currently is the Treasurer of a Cultural Center. He volunteered, for 5 years, to pick up two 2-MILE sections of state highway with the CA “ADOPT-A-HIGHWAY” program. This earned him the title of “OFFICIAL TRASH PICKER!” He has been married to the former Doris Ann Matlin, a K-3 teacher, for over 50 years. He has two FANTASTIC daughters, three grandchildren, and two rescued dogs. He is a former Marine Sergeant.
  • Matthew Lu
  • Board Member

Matthew Lu

Board Member

  • Michael Lu
  • Board Member

Michael Lu

Board Member

The son of Taiwan immigrants, Michael is grateful to his parents for the lifestyle and nurturing culture they have provided him, which inspires him to give back today. A Sociology major with intentions to join the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. While waiting for his background investigation, he took a position as a correctional counselor at a federal halfway house and eventually a mental health counselor. He enjoyed the positive impact he had on the individuals from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds who suffered from mental health issues as well as substance abuse. Through one-on-one counseling, guidance in rehabilitation, job development, substance abuse management he witnessed their successful reintegration. Before applying for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Michael noticed that he frequently experienced trembling within his body and a random occurrence of stiffness in his legs. After ignoring the sensations, he eventually saw a doctor. Because he was 17 years old, they were baffled and misdiagnosed him with Essential Benign Tremor. After several years, the tremor progressed and the polygraph test with the Sheriff’s office wasn’t able to accurately configure his results due to movement during the polygraph exam this past year. He then accepted the reality that his disability would destroy that career path. His journey through denial and acceptance of his condition helped narrow the focus of his career path and in 2017, he served as an Instructional Aide for those with disabilities in the Fullerton Unified High School District. While working there, he gained better medical insurance and was able to see a neurologist about the tremor and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at age 28. His younger brother Matthew was also diagnosed with Parkinson’s at age 22 in Taiwan. Both are unique as very few people in the world are diagnosed in their 20’s. While the prognosis is dire, it fueled Michael’s desire to become a school psychologist and increase the awareness of the challenges people with disabilities face. The old adage, “Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes” rings true with him. He continues to maintain a positive attitude and never give up hope as he walks through this journey and rises above his limitations. In 2018 he joined the Board of Directors of Parkinson's Resource Organization to help bring about awareness of the disease in young people as well as to help young people, through the resources availed to them by the Organization.
  • Michael Opell
  • Board Member

Michael Opell

Board Member

Mr. Opell is a seasoned entrepreneur and commercial business leader with experience leading, growing, transforming, and starting businesses. He graduated from Hobart College in Geneva N.Y. and rapidly progressed through sales, marketing, and corporate staff positions in major companies, eventually entering senior management at Bristol Myers, Philip Morris, Revlon, and Max Factor. As President of a consulting firm, Emrad Assoc. LTD, he specialized in new product development, market positioning, distribution networks and sales force development. Notable clients were American Can Co. Dixie products, Pfizer, American Cyanamid, Breck Shampoo and Conair. At 39 years of age he left corporate America and purchased a reading glass company, Barry Martin, reprograming it as Bet-R-Vision and introduced sunglasses “ California Sunset “ which sold in all the major food chains in California and expanded internationally. This business was sold, and he became an importer /marketer of general merchandise to major chains for seasonal programs. Having time available he and his wife Ellen dug deeper into their commitment to Social Action and Justice. They sponsored a family from Vietnam. Elected to the Board of his Temple as Social Action chairperson and Trustee he worked tirelessly in a broad range of programs. His Temple made their facility available for dinner, tutoring children and sleeping. Also diligently worked relief programs and sent (truckloads) of items of value to disaster victims. A constant worker and donor to Hope of the Valley Mission since its opening 12 years ago. Active in Interfaith programs with emphasis on the Muslim community and assisting a Turkish Group build continuity. His Liberal Arts education prepared him for the world of business where he was required to learn to think, evaluate and problem solve. He has proved to be a successful problem solver (in fact his wife Ellen calls him “The fixer”) and looks forward to helping PRO continue to grow and flourish at this very needed time. He later served as President of Garden Pharmaceuticals and Barry Martin. He ultimately purchased Barry Martin the OTC reading glass company/medical appliances/wet and dry’s. It was said that an entrepreneur was needed to run the business- a glimpse into Michael’s future. This venture led to thirty years of running a “seasonal import business” under various names (Barry Martin, Bet-R-Vision, E.Z. Readers, Seasonal Sensations, to name a few). Each year, Michael and his team had to recreate offerings for each of 10 selling seasons. A new line of product was produced and brought to market. Michael also served in the Armed Services (twice) and he is an active volunteer in his local community in Tarzana, California.
  • Shon Tomlin
  • Board Member

Shon Tomlin

Board Member

Shon Tomlin is an entertainment executive whose career spans across filmed entertainment, non-profits, and educational technology. Shon served as Senior Vice President for News Corp’s premium lifestyle and sports channel, FUEL TV – a division of the Fox Networks Group. After winning five Emmy’s for various unscripted series and specials, including an Emmy for National Geographic’s Wild Yellowstone, Tomlin moved into the non-profit space. In 2012 Shon co-founded 1 Giant Mind, a non-profit that created the first free Learn-to-Meditate smartphone app and teacher-training program aimed at bringing mindfulness into the private and public sectors. Tomlin currently develops and produces AI-powered online training programs for major universities and corporate clients such as Price Waterhouse Coopers, ADT, and UBS. Shon is a California native who moved from Los Angeles to the Coachella Valley in 2012 and currently resides in Palm Springs, CA.
  • John White
  • Board Member

John White

Board Member

John White anchors News Channel 3 Live at 5:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m., and 11:00 p.m. on KESQ-TV and CBS Local 2. You can also see him on Fox 11 every weeknight at 10:00 p.m. John won a Pacific Southwest Emmy Award in 2016 for his reporting on the Salton Sea. John first moved to the desert in 1991 and worked in radio and then as host of the Coachella Valley Evening Report on cable. He joined KESQ in 1995 before moving to Harrisburg, PA, and WHP-TV in 1997. In 2000, John and his family decided to return to the desert and KESQ-TV. John has interviewed countless newsmakers over the years along with following all of the valley's biggest stories. A native of the Chicago area, John earned his bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois. The desert is his adopted home and he's enjoyed most of life's greatest moments right here. He married his wife in Palm Desert in 1993. Their daughter was born here in 1997. John loves playing golf here in the desert, hiking, and generally enjoying this wonderful community. John is also a die-hard Cubs fan who enjoyed his team clinching its first World Series Championship in 108 years in 2016.
  • Glendon Geikie, MSW, IELDA, CGCS
  • PRO'S Grief Group Facilitator

Glendon Geikie, MSW, IELDA, CGCS

PRO'S Grief Group Facilitator

WHAT IS GRIEF? It is about experiencing losses. Facilitated by Glendon Geikie, MSW, IELDA, CGCS, who gracefully stated grief is so much more than “The End OF Life”. Grief for a person with Parkinson’s may happen as they start grieving their losses of movement, Grief for a Partner in Care may start as they start losing the partner relationship they once knew, and grief for a child may start as they witness what appears to be “losing their hero”. The meetings cover Anticipatory Grief, Loss of Movement Grief, Loss of Relationship Grief, and Eternal loss, forever Loss. If you are suffering losses, this meeting may be just for you.
  • Gary Lopez
  • Graphic Artist / Newsletter Editor

Gary Lopez

Graphic Artist / Newsletter Editor

  • Roger Moore, Palm Desert Medical Hypnotherapist
  • Mindfulness Focused Group Facilitator

Roger Moore, Palm Desert Medical Hypnotherapist

Mindfulness Focused Group Facilitator

This is a monthly support group for people who have Parkinson’s Disease and their caregivers led by Medical Hypnotherapist, Roger Moore. In these support group meetings, you will learn skills to help you improve your sleep, to overcome trauma, depression, stress, anxiety, fear, and exhaustion. And, you will find out how you can improve your health, strengthen your resilience and enhance your coping skills.
  • Eileen Lynch
  • Director of Operations

Eileen Lynch

Director of Operations

Eileen relocated from New England to join Jo and the Parkinson's Resource Organization in the fight to ensure no one is isolated because of Parkinson's disease. Her previous experience building donor advocacy channels for healthcare nonprofits in Virginia and Washington D.C. will come in handy as PRO responds to skyrocketing demand for our support services. In her spare time, Eileen is an avid hiker with a poetry problem.
  • Daniel Coover
  • Wellness Village Director

Daniel Coover

Wellness Village Director

Born and raised in Portland Oregon. The Marine Corps brought me to California. My family has a long history of California roots. Cousins in SanDiego and Historic Rancho Santa Fe. Horses and Lake Tahoe are a big part of the family gatherings. My brother and I share the family home in Desert Hot Springs. We have lived in the desert for over forty years. Parkinson's Resource Organization has given me the opportunity to move the Wellness Village to the next level. As part of Parkinson's Resource Organization our team approach will be key to this endeavour. I have had a long standing relationship with the Parkinson's Resource Organization going back over twenty years. Jo and I have a commitment to health and wellbeing. This commitment is achieved through many levels of support. Recreational softball is a new found passion of mine as a way to keep my fitness level up.
  • Daniel Stewart
  • IT & Digital Communications Manager

Daniel Stewart

IT & Digital Communications Manager

Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and arriving in Southern California by way of Florida, Daniel comes to Parkinson's Resource Organization with a colorful array of job skills. He spent years in graphic design and sound engineering, and then moved into business solutions development before joining PRO as the Digital Marketing Manager. He has an affinity for making electronic noises on modular synthesizers and usually falls asleep playing video games.
  • Barbara Bean
  • Assistant to the President

Barbara Bean

Assistant to the President

I became aware of Pakinson's Resource Organization back in 1991. My father and my favorite uncle (who were not related by blood) had Parkinson's. I wanted to know more about Parkinson's disease and a friend told me about Jo and what she was doing. I started helping in whatever way I could and in 1994 when I moved back to Los Angeles from the desert, I started going to the support group meetings and volunteering at fundraisers in Los Angeles and the desert. In 2020 I moved back to the desert and Jo asked if I would like to work in the office as her assistant. I will still volunteer my time at events or where needed. A fun fact is PRO was COPs (Children of Parkinson's) when first started.
  • Diana Roberts
  • Administrative Assistant

Diana Roberts

Administrative Assistant

My husband had Parkinson’s and that’s how I became involved with PRO. I attended support group meetings which were a Godsend in helping us navigate a very confusing path with this disease. I have volunteered since his passing and now am on staff doing good work for others facing similar challenges so no one feels isolated. I come from a background in Homebuilding, Real Estate Sales and Mortgages. I survived a fatal plane crash and cancer multiple times so I feel eternally grateful to be here and want to bring joy and compassion to others.

Contact Us

Address
Parkinson's Resource Organization
74785 Highway 111
Suite 208
Indian Wells, CA 92210

Local Phone
(760) 773-5628

Toll-Free Phone
(877) 775-4111

General Information
info@parkinsonsresource.org

 

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Updated: August 16, 2017