Parkinson’s disease (PD) has traditionally been associated with a particular demographic, but UAB Libraries Assistant Dean for User Access and Diversity, Michael S. Fitts, is all too aware of the barriers that arise when someone outside that stereotype begins presenting symptoms of the disease.

In order to reach out to others who may be suffering and combat the social preconceptions of the disease, he is working to promote awareness of PD in diverse populations, spread accurate information about its signs and symptoms, and encourage PD research. Fitts serves on the Patient Council for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, and was recently featured in the MJFF’s Black History Month article. He is a Parkinson’s Foundation Research Advocate who performed consumer reviews to help determine the allocation of Parkinson research funding in 2019. In 2017 and 2018 he represented the state of Alabama at the Parkinson’s Policy Forum on Capitol Hill. And he has been actively speaking publicly in symposia, lectures, and panels, appearing on the news, and reaching out about PD advocacy at events. For more on Michael’s advocacy and awareness efforts, read this featured article about him from Parkinson’s News Today.