To celebrate the past 16 years, we want to inspire you through some of our Stars – people who have taken our MasterClasses and poured passion and enthusiasm into their work. Many of them now teach on our courses, sharing their knowledge and experience, and mentoring the next generation of Parkinson’s specialists.

From a geriatrician who has built up a cross-departmental, multi-disciplinary Parkinson’s service from scratch, to a neurologist who has been awarded honorary psychiatrist status to more holistically treat his patients with psychosis symptoms, this range of MasterClass alumni are inspiring in their determination to deliver the best possible care to their patients.

This 16th birthday, we would like to share some of their stories with you. Each of our Stars have different strengths, focuses and experiences and every week we’ll be focusing on someone new. We hope you’ll join us in celebrating by reading their stories, and finding your own inspiration.

Read more in our news article:

Looking back, looking forwards: celebrating 16 years of the Parkinson’s MasterClass

 

This week’s star showcase: The Founding Four

Founder faculty awards

This week’s Star is not one but four people: our Founders Peter Fletcher, Doug MacMahon, David Stewart and Sue Thomas.

Their initial idea was to develop a new kind of educational model which would both upskill and support clinicians in their clinical knowledge of Parkinson’s but also see practical changes in service quality and delivery.

Hoping to deliver just one or two courses, the MasterClass now celebrates its 16th birthday, having supported over 1,500 clinicians in their journey with Parkinson’s and spurring 75% of attendees to develop their own Parkinson’s services locally. It has been a core part of the ‘revolution of care’ in Parkinson’s over the past decade or so, and its success has prompted similar educational models to be created for multiple sclerosis, dementia and palliative care specialisms.

From the first course, the Founding Four set the curriculum, modifying it according to the learning of their delegates identified ahead of time, and making sure that there is practical applications for all areas of the learning and mentoring to support them in their clinical practice as their learning becomes action.

Watching their initial delegates progress to consultants, specialists, mentors and now faculty themselves has been a very rewarding part of the MasterClass for all of our Founders, though they all have different individual highlights from their years with the Parkinson’s Academy.

Whilst that initial MasterClass course has now developed considerably under the direction of Sarah Gillett the Managing Director, who has been with the Academy since day one, the Faculty’s support has remained throughout. Peter Fletcher and Sue Thomas remain very active with the Neurology Academy, with Peter leading the Parkinson’s division as Academic Director and Sue continuing her support through the range of regional events which encourage service transformation locally.

Whilst the MasterClass has been an important element of each Founder’s career, the extent of the impact that these four individuals have had on the landscape of Parkinson’s – and indeed healthcare in general – cannot be overstated. Their incredible contributions to service transformation, education, support and patient care undoubtedly make each of them MasterClass Stars in their own right.

 

Dr Peter Fletcher: Proud to have spearheaded a new way of learning

Dr Peter Fletcher

‘Giving challenging learning outcomes that will change things at a grassroots level, and keep changing them – that’s what makes a difference to people with Parkinson’s’ 

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Dr Doug MacMahon: Proud to have enabled better outcomes for people with Parkinson’s

Dr Doug MacMahon

‘All elements of my work come together to achieve the same objective: better care and better outcomes for people living with Parkinson’s.’

 

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Dr David Stewart: Proud to be part of the revolution in care

Dr David Stewart

‘People with Parkinson’s deserve holistic management by a whole team of specialist medical practitioners – and now they get that.’ 

 

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Sue Thomas: Proud to have shaped service change nationwide

Sue Thomas

‘Data can be very powerful when it’s used at a local level – for clinicians to be able to talk to commissioners in their own language and give evidence through data is very powerful indeed.’ 

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Previous showcases

Dr Robin Fackrell: Committed to improving patient experience from the first day

Dr Robin Fackrell

As a student, it was his mentor’s passion for Parkinson’s that started Dr Robin Fackrell on his own journey. Dorothy Robertson was also a geriatrician who was a specialist in the complex condition, and Robin set about developing his expertise, of which the MasterClass attendance was a part, so that as his mentor retired he could take up the mantle. He did just that, and now […]

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Louise Ebenezer: Empowering patients and professionals through education

Louise Ebenezer

Louise Ebenezer, a ward sister by background, ‘fell’ into caring for people with Parkinson’s, though looking back, she has particularly strong memories of the few patients with the condition that she encountered in her earlier career. After a stint teaching nurses overseas, she missed clinical work and applied for an available nursing post, which happened to be that […]

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Dr Ed Richfield: Rethinking palliative care for people with Parkinson’s

Ed Richfield

Dr Ed Richfield had been interested in palliative care from his early days training as a geriatrician. He had also found himself supporting people with movement disorders from very early on, training alongside consultants who inspired him in their management of conditions like Parkinson’s. When Ed was offered the chance to do a PhD in palliative care in Parkinson’s […]

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Dr Andrea Lindahl: Versatility and shared learning

Andrea Lindahl

Consultant neurologist Dr Andrea Lindahl found herself among people living with Parkinson’s more than any other condition during her training. She carried out her medical degree research in movement disorders and tremors and found she enjoyed the clinical complexities and challenges of Parkinson’s as well as working alongside the people with the condition. In 2005 she […]

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Dr Neil Archibald: Lateral thinking, and new ways of doing things

Neil Archibald

It was seeing his father’s difficult journey with Parkinson’s that started Neil Archibald on his own journey with the condition. Initially starting our in geriatrics, he switched to neurology after finding it wasn’t the right fit for him. However, the hallmark geriatrician approach to care – holistic and person-centred – stayed with him. It is that, and […]

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Dr Sarah Marrinan: Person-centred care relies on relationships at every level

Sarah Marrinan

As a registrar, Dr Sarah Marrinan was intrigued by Parkinson’s. With so many ‘hidden’ non-motor symptoms, from sleep disturbance to speech difficulties, Sarah felt that so much could be done to support people with Parkinson’s and their non-motor symptoms. She kept this interest throughout her training, and developed it further in her first role in […]

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Dr Conor Maguire: An ongoing journey of creating services from scratch

Conor Maguire

Dr Conor Maguire, a consultant in Medicine for Older Adults, did his thesis in dementia, but this progressed naturally to a special interest in Parkinson’s during his time at Frenchay Hospital, Bristol thanks to the hospital’s leadership in neurological treatments like deep-brain stimulation. On moving to Edinburgh 17 years ago, he found a real need for a dedicated Parkinson’s service and took a lead in […]

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Dr Emily Henderson: Using research to revolutionise practice

Emily Henderson

Academic geriatrician Dr Emily Henderson first became drawn to Parkinson’s care early on as a registrar. Working under a consultant geriatrician with a special interest in Parkinson’s, she was struck by the unique way each person experiences the condition, and enjoyed the challenge of giving care tailored to each individual. The weekly Parkinson’s clinic soon became the highlight of […]

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Dr James Fisher: Enabling good Parkinson’s care and medication in the right way, at the right time

James Fisher

As a junior doctor working in geriatric medicine, Dr James Fisher was struck by the positive working relationships in the Parkinson’s team at his hospital, and soon realised that this team-working was essential for delivering good care to people with Parkinson’s. As well as professional relationships though, James could see that care looked different for Parkinson’s patients. ‘It was clear that […]

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