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UF neurologist honored as a White House Champion of Change

University of Florida neurologist Michael Okun, M.D., has been named one of eight to be honored by the White House as a Champion of Change for Parkinson’s disease.

Okun and the other honorees will speak at the White House at 9 a.m. today (March 23). The panel will discuss the opportunities and challenges of finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease live at Okun will make remarks at 10:15 a.m.

“The most important thing about the White House Champions of Change program is that it will help to bring awareness and to galvanize our country to come to the assistance of the over 1 million Americans with Parkinson’s disease,” said Okun, the co-director and co-founder of the UF Health Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration, and medical director of the National Parkinson Foundation. “There is a worldwide crisis of misinformation and, in many areas, no information on the secrets to living a better life with Parkinson’s disease. We have to get the message out, and we have to make it understandable and available to everyone, regardless of where they live or what language they may speak."

The number of people with Parkinson’s is expected to double to almost 30 million by the year 2030, he said.

Okun’s book, “Parkinson’s Treatment: Ten Secrets for a Happier Life,” is available to people with Parkinson’s disease around the globe. It has been translated into 20 languages. He has published more than 300 papers.

“A diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease is not the end of the road, and in point of fact for most people it can be the beginning of a wonderful journey and a meaningful life. It is up to our generation to carry this message forward as we continue to innovate future treatments.”

For information on Champions of Change, visit

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