Dr.’s Kim Trinidad and Robert Plunkett, along with Registered Nurse Pat Weigel and patient Tom O’Donnell helped found The Parkinson’s Wellness Group (PWG) in 1997. Pat had just been hired at Buffalo General Hospital to a position that never before existed, Clinical Nurse Coordinator of the Comprehensive Movement Disorders Center. Dr. Trinidad approached her, encouraging her to phone Tom, a patient who wanted to start a PD group.
The first meeting was planned and both Pat and Tom waited, anxious and excited, to see if anyone would find the door with a handmade sign hanging in the window. Lo and behold, 17 people showed up! They were a bit nervous at the onset, but by the end of the meeting, smiles filled the room! Since then, meetings with patients and caregivers have been held every 3rd Wednesday of the month.
Going strong ever since, the sustained success of this group is a direct result of the committed volunteer PWG staff, consisting of an ATTP trained registered nurse and licensed social worker, two highly motivated, positive young patients with PD (Tom O’Donnell and Rick Lipka), and an ATTP trained Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist and Speech Pathologist. We have grown to having over 1100 contacts on our current mailing list.
In 2009, the founders of the PWG met with a group of talented and interested supporters. This group became the Board of Directors for what was then called the Parkinson’s Association of Western New York (PAWNY). The organization continued under that title until 2012, when they elected to join with the National Parkinson Foundation to become the Western New York Chapter (NPFWNY). The chapter is a federally recognized 501 (c)(3) not for profit organization. The Board continues to support exercise and dance classes along with an educational symposium and a variety of activities and events throughout the year. Support groups for patients and caregivers are now established in many towns throughout the region.
Board of Directors
Executive Director – Christopher Jamele Radio Announcer WBFO 88.7 FM, Jamele Freelance Services
President – Victoria Glamuzina
Owner/Operator Georgetown Liquors
Treasurer – David Lever
Supervising Senior Accountant, Tronconi Segarra & Associates LLP
Director of Patient Services – Pat Weigel
RN,BSN, RNFA, Clinical Nurse Coordinator UB Movement Disorders Center
Director of Strategic Planning – Gary Kurdziel
Therapy Consultant, Medtronic
Secretary – Jennifer Jennings, DNP, MS, APRN, FNP-BC
Associate Professor, Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies
Rick Lipka – President Emeritus
Robert J. Plunkett, MD – Associate Professor of Neurosurgery, University at Buffalo
Kimberly Trinidad, MD – Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurosurgery and Neurology, University at Buffalo
Lori Soos, MA, BSN, RN – Director of Health Services, Niagara University
Mark Burkard, RN – University at Buffalo Neurosurgery
Harry J. Forrest – Attorney with Gross, Shuman, Brizdle & Gilfillan, P.C.
Susan Nichter, RPA-C – Buffalo Medical Group