Maria De León, MD, Advocate for Parkinson’s Community, Joins SNMMI Patient Advocacy Advisory Committee

November 10, 2016

The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging is pleased to welcome Maria De León, MD, a neurologist, to its Patient Advocacy Advisory Committee. De León is living with Parkinson’s and is committed to increasing awareness of the disease, raising funds for research, and advocating for both patients and their caregivers.

She works closely with several Parkinson’s disease organizations and also provides free counseling to Parkinson’s patients and their families in the east Texas region through the organization she cofounded, defeatparkinsons.com. In addition, De León is the author of “Parkinson’s Diva: A Woman’s Guide to Parkinson’s Disease,” and is currently working on a second book focused on the Hispanic Parkinson’s community.

She is a consultant and frequent guest lecturer for the School of Social Work at Stephen F. Austin University, a research advocate and alumnus of the People with Parkinson’s Advisory Committee for the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, and part of the Women & PD initiative. She is an active member of the Parkinson’s Inside Out think tank and is a frequent consultant and lecturer for the Muhammad Ali Center of Parkinson’s Hispanic outreach program. De León also is a policy and advocacy volunteer representing the state of Texas with The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF).

Parkinson’s is one of many conditions where molecular imaging and nuclear medicine could play a key role in research and care. At the 2016 SNMMI Annual Meeting in June, MJFF announced a $2 million prize for development of a PET tracer to visualize the protein alpha-synuclein, the priority therapeutic target and biomarker candidate of Parkinson’s disease research. The prize aims to motivate the field toward this vital research tool, which would allow for earlier and more precise diagnosis, progression tracking, and more efficient and effective intervention testing.

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About SNMMI’s Patient Advocacy Advisory Committee

SNMMI maintains a long-standing commitment to supporting patients, partnering with patient advocacy organizations on issues of mutual interest and priority, and providing educational programs for consumers to help them understand molecular imaging and the constructive role it can play in both diagnostic and therapeutic settings. The Patient Advocacy Advisory Committee was established to provide SNMMI and its members with the patient perspective regarding molecular imaging and nuclear medicine matters. Patients are partners in their care, and SNMMI recognizes the importance of having the patient’s voice incorporated into its programming, materials, and advocacy.

About the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging

The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) is an international scientific and medical organization dedicated to raising public awareness about nuclear medicine and molecular imaging, a vital element of today’s medical practice that adds an additional dimension to diagnosis, changing the way common and devastating diseases are understood and treated and helping provide patients with the best health care possible.

SNMMI’s more than 17,000 members set the standard for molecular imaging and nuclear medicine practice by creating guidelines, sharing information through journals and meetings and leading advocacy on key issues that affect molecular imaging and therapy research and practice. For more information, visit www.snmmi.org.