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American Parkinson Disease Association Information and Referral Center of Minnesota

American Parkinson Disease Association

To contact us,
call 651-241-8297 or

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The American Parkinson Disease Association Information and Referral Center of Minnesota provides:

  • a telephone help line
  • counseling and advocacy
  • referrals to community resources
  • collaboration with community support groups statewide
  • handbooks and booklets about the disease
  • a book and video lending library
  • newsletters and website announcements
  • community education for healthcare professionals and families affected by Parkinson's disease.

Who we serve

The Information and Referral Center provides information to individuals who have Parkinson's disease, their families, caregivers, allied health professionals, and anyone interested in learning more about how to live well with Parkinson's disease.

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Parkinson's disease

Parkinson's disease is a disorder of the brain that leads to shaking (tremors) and difficulty with walking, movement, and coordination.

Learn more about Parkinson's disease in our health encyclopedia.


Help us continue this vital service in Minnesota. Donations can be mailed to:

The Minnesota Chapter of the American Parkinson Disease Association
333 North Smith Ave. MR 63201
St. Paul, MN 55102

Please make checks payable to: The Minnesota Chapter of the American Parkinson Disease Association

APDA MN Chapter Board of Directors

Photo: APDA Minnesota Chapter Board of Directors

The Board would like to thank all of the people who attended the Party for Parkinson's Fund Raiser event, all of the individuals that donated time, expertise and silent auction items, The WHITESIDEWALLS who provided the wonderful music and silent auction items, and especially our Corporate Sponsors including the Capistrant Family Foundation, Allina Health, and the Noran Neurological Clinic.

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Ongoing classes

Fitness exercise classes for Parkinson's disease/Movement disorder

Four classes designed to provide fitness opportunities for participants across the continuum of their disease. This unique exercise program emphasizes four key components:

  • cardiovascular
  • stretching
  • strengthening
  • balance

The class schedule varies by class level; Fitness 1, Fitness 2, Fitness 3, Fitness 4. Classes follow a circuit and highlight Parkinson’s specific exercises from the PWR! fitness training model.

Prior to starting an exercise class, every new participant will meet with a physical therapist for a free assessment to determine appropriate class. New participants please call 651-326-2150 to schedule a free fitness assessment.

LSVT Community Exercise and Speech Program

This series of classes is for people who have completed any LSVT Big and/or Loud therapy program and want to maintain their skills and have fun.

Clay class

Try something new and creative in a fun, supportive and relaxed atmosphere. This class with Northern Clay Center Artist Lucy Yogerst, allows participants to work on fine motor skills and hand strength. This class is free and you may attend one or all three classes. Patients and caregiver/carepartners are welcome. For dates and information call Erin at 651-232-2166.

Dancing with Parkinson's

Exercise class for people with Parkinson's disease. Come alone or with a caregiver/partner. Enjoy live music and move to feel energized.

Nordic Walking

Nordic walking makes walking a new fitness experience. Using poles while walking has all of the benefits of walking plus it engages the muscles of the upper back, shoulders, arms and torso. The swinging arm motion of walking with poles is important for the balance and coordination of people with Parkinson's. $5 participation fee. Caregiver/care partner walks for free. Call Erin for dates and more information at 651-232-2166

On-going Tai Chi for Parkinson's and Wellness

This series of classes takes place at Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul. Tai Chi is a chinese exercise of slow circular movements that help promote energy flow and a sense of well-being. This Tai Chi can be done standing or sitting in a chair.

Parkinson's disease support groups

For questions or for help starting a group, call Joan Brandl, RN, at
or 1-888-302-7762.

The American Parkinson Disease Association Information and Referral Center of Minnesota supports a number of support groups throughout the state.

arrow points to link to classes and events finder More Parkinson's disease support groups


Medical director

Okeanis Vaou, MD, medical director for Minnesota Information and Referral Center, is the new medical director for the American Parkinson Disease Association of Minnesota. She studied at Boston University and completed movement disorder and sleep medicine fellowships.


Joan Brandl, RN, American Parkinson Disease Association information and referral coordinator for the state of Minnesota, is a registered nurse with extensive experience in the health care industry. Prior to her current role with the American Parkinson Disease Association Information and Referral Center of Minnesota, she served as the outpatient manager for the Neuroscience Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital. In addition, she provided clinical care in the Movement Disorder Clinic at Abbott Northwestern Hospital along with two movement disorder specialists.

You can contact Joan by calling 651-241-8297 or 1-888-302-7762. Her email address is

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Deep brain stimulation (DBS)

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a surgical technique that can suppress symptoms of Parkinson's disease, including tremor, rigidity, stiffness and mobility problems.

Minnesota board of directors

Kathryn Gilbertson, MSN, RN, CNP


I have worked with neurologists in the Capistrant Center for Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders since September of 2005. As a nurse practitioner I am involved in the assessment and treatment of patients with Parkinson's. My special focus is in non-motor problems concerning Parkinson's disease. I enjoy writing and educating families and people with Parkinson's disease. I have hosted a support group for the past 7 years and appreciate the challenges associated with this disease.

Kathleen Lynch

Vice president

There is currently no information available.

Paulette Olsen


Paulette Olsen had a personal connection to Parkinson's through two great-aunts who lived with the disease. Presently retired, Paulette served as a physical therapist, rehabilitation agency administrator, non-profit development director, and coordinator for the American Parkinson Disease Association in Minnesota. "What I discovered in my work with people who have Parkinson's (PD), is that only nice people seem to get Parkinson's Disease. It is a joy to be on the Board and work on behalf of individuals with Parkinson's."

Brandi Lunneborg


Brandi Lunneborg is a hospital administrator with Allina Health. Her family has been affected by Parkinson's disease. Her paternal grandmother passed away from complications of Parkinson's disease in 2011 and her father was diagnosed with Parkinson's in his early 50's. She is honored to serve on the Minnesota Chapter Board of American Parkinson Disease Association to further research and development in the hopes of finding a cure.

Joan Brandl, RN

I am very pleased to be serving on the board of directors for the Minnesota chapter. As the American Parkinson Disease Association Information and Referral Coordinator for the state of Minnesota I serve this Board in the capacity of a nonvoting consultant. I am excited to be working with a group of people that are passionate about increasing awareness of this disease and the challenges of living with it as well as increasing funding for programs and services in Minnesota. Prior to my work with American Parkinson Disease Association, I had the privilege of working with several movement disorder specialists in the Movement Disorder Clinic at Abbott Northwestern Hospital. This provided me with an excellent background to be an advocate for people with Parkinson's disease. I am inspired by the bravery of those who work so hard every day to do the best that they can do, in spite of the challenges of the disease.

Kathleen "Kay" Johnson

Kay is a retired public and private music teacher and church musician who is returning to the American Parkinson Disease Association Board for a second term. She has a strong interest in Parkinson's disease as she has had many family members struggle with the disease. She herself has lived with Parkinson's disease for 11 years and recently had deep brain stimulation surgery at Mayo. She is active in a variety of volunteer efforts and cheering on her grandchildren in sports and music activities.

Okeanis Vaou, MD

Medical director

Throughout my education, I have always been drawn to fields that allow for critical thinking and applying a logical approach to problem solving. It was this interest that led me to neurology in my medical school years and driven me through my residency and selection as a chief resident in Neurology at New York Medical College. I quickly discovered my passion for movement disorders and Parkinson's disease during my residency and pursued further training at Boston University as movement disorders fellow. Treating, reassuring, educating and counseling patients and families with this chronic disease is a crucial part of being an effective movement disorders specialist, and I have found my interactions with patients to be extraordinarily rewarding.

Minnesota Messenger is published every spring and fall for anyone interested in Parkinson's disease and the efforts of the American Parkinson Disease Association Information and Referral Center of Minnesota.

Please call 1-888-302-7762 (toll free) or 651-241-8297 (Twin Cities area), if you would like to:

  • be added to our mailing list
  • have an address change
  • want your name taken off our mailing list
  • have any questions, comments or ideas for the newsletter.