As an advisor to the Co-Federation of Greek Pensioners (AGSSE), Vassili Louziotis is in regular contact with organisations of older people all over the country. He recently became an ambassador of the i-PROGNOSIS project to help communities usually distant from medical research to take action for better health and care for people living with Parkinson’s disease.
Why did you decide to become an ambassador of i-PROGNOSIS?
The call came from AGE Platform Europe. It immediately stroke a chord. My father had Parkinson’s disease, so I had a first-hand experience of what the disease does to people, and the motivation to do something about it. In addition, I felt the approach of the research was a unique, modern way to do medical research utilizing modern technology, so that those taking part could continue their normal lives, while participating for extended periods of time. It is not often that the general public has the opportunity to take part in medical research.
What were the first reactions when you talked about the project?
Most people I contacted were impressed by the approach and the technology involved. They did have questions about sharing personal data, privacy and whether this would be a complex activity, but the interest was generally there. This did not mean they all went ahead and registered for the program. There was some hesitation, some neglect, which means we need to go back to them again and remind them. But I feel confident we will get there and secure the required number of volunteers.
How can (local) communities better be engaged in research works?
People are often overwhelmed by news and current developments. Therefore they often overlook initiatives such as i-PROGNOSIS. I think we need to have a much more focused and intensive ‘promotion’ of the project, explaining why we need so many volunteers as well as the benefits of the research results, both for the patients and for the volunteers themselves.
Just do as Vassili, become an ambassador: http://bit.ly/i-PROGNOSIS_ambassadors
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