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Štiri leta Poletne šole o parkinsonovi bolezni (PDSS – ang. Parkinson’s Disease Summer School)

Four Years of Parkinson’s Disease Summer School

Krzysztof Nesterowicz, Paul de Roos

Poletna šola o parkinsonovi bolezni (PDSS) je izobraževalno-raziskovalni dogodek, ki ga organizirajo številne mednarodne študentske organizacije in študentje organizatorji v vsako leto običajno različni državi gostiteljici.

Slika z zaključne večerje poletne šole v Ljubljani 2010.

Dogodek strokovno in finančno podpirajo številna svetovna nevrološka združenja, združenja bolnikov in farmacevtska podjetja. Prvikrat je bil organiziran julija 2009 v Adani v Turčiji. V letu 2010 pa smo ga slovenske udeleženke prve PDSS organizirale v Ljubljani, pod okriljem Kliničnega oddelka za bolezni živčevja, Nevrološke klinike Univerzitetnega kliničnega centra v Ljubljani.

PDSS, ki torej nosi tudi barve in srce Slovenije, se v letu 2013 podaja preko oceana v Montreal v Kanadi. Organizatorja Krzysztof Nesterowicz in Paul de Roos pišeta o štirih letih mladega, a nadvse ambicioznega projekta, PDSS.

Four Years of Parkinson’s Disease Summer School

Krzysztof NesterowiczPaul de RoosFirst edition of Parkinson’s Disease Summer School was held from 20th to 29th of July 2009 at the Faculty of Medicine at the Çukurova University in Adana, Turkey. In coming years the School took place in Slovenia and Poland. For the year 2013 there are plans to run the School in Montreal, Canada. The interest of attending the event is increasing year by year. We had 26 participants in 2012 from Europe, Africa and Asia. We keep 30 places for coming editions. The School combines innovation in education, inspiration in research and teamwork in healthcare with social activities and lasts 9 days.


For the first time the Summer School was hosted by Faculty of Medicine at Cukurova University in Adana, Turkey in 2009, the next year by University Medical Centre, Department of Neurology in Ljubljana, Slovenia and in 2011 and 2012 by Warsaw Medical University in Warsaw, Poland.

European Parkinson’s Disease Association (EPDA) endorses this event and we have established sponsorship collaboration with various pharmaceutical companies and academic organizations. We are in touch also with patients’ institutions like the Polish Foundation Żyć z Chorobą Parkinsona (“To Live with Parkinson’s Disease”): and Parkinson’s Movement.

Students’ centred education

The School concept was inspired by the World Healthcare Students’ Symposium in 2007 and the first international Leadership Summer School in 2008. The first one is focused on improving teamwork and education across professions in healthcare, the second one aims to develop leadership skills in students from all disciplines (+15 international student organisations contribute trainers and their international student leaders for further development).

The keynote lectures in the Summer School are done by a Parkinson expert, a patient and a carer. Attendees work in international and multidisciplinary teams of five people and create a research project proposal during the School. The process is guided constantly by peer trainers. Process outcomes are quality assured by experts.

Every afternoon participants present in front of the panel of experts their projects. After their presentations there is time for questions and discussion about the subject presented. Each team gets also feedback from experts and so the projects improve day by day.

Students working in teams during the Summer School in Warsaw, 2012.

At the last day there is a symposium where all experts, patients and carers are present. Each team presents their research project proposals. The symposium is also broadcasted online.


The School brings together personal development and academic learning into one educational concept. The workflow as we have designed it can be transferred into the environment that has a well developed peer-assisted learning and peer education tradition. We hope to develop this concept into a direction where universities low on resources can deliver work of a similar or higher quality than rich universities by optimising use of resources and strengthening the educational process.

The latest questions we explore are:

  • Can we engage patients, carers and academic experts into peer reviewing our outcomes?
  • Can we develop research project proposals for pilot studies that can be funded and executed?
  • Can we flood the research community with good fundable ideas? – Value: getting good ideas executed is more important than receiving personal benefit / prestige from it. Rational: too many good ideas are not connected to an opportunity to be executed.
  • Can we involve patient-activist communities in our School for mutual benefit?
  • Can we use assessment to reinforce a work process including teamwork and healthy collaborations in situations of stress, time pressure and sleep deprivation? — as the Summer School is extremely intensive


Every year there are attendees from various healthcare professions: students of medicine, pharmacy, nursing, psychology, physiotherapists, neuroscientists and others. This interdisciplinarity generates great variety of research project proposals related with Parkinson’s disease. We have projects focused on pharmacotherapy, non-pharmacological treatment or neurosurgery. There are teams which deal with genetics or psychological care of PD patients. It is important to mention that all research projects are entirely created by attendees during the brainstorming session at the beginning of the School. Having experts and peer reviewers from different professions assures the quality of all proposals. Besides we involve also PD patients to review projects.

Future plans

For the coming years we intend to increase and intensify our collaboration with patients’ organizations like Parkinson’s Movement or The Michael J. Fox Foundation. We also plan to organize 5th Parkinson’s Disease Summer School outside Europe - in Montreal, Canada in the cooperation with the McGill University and the World Parkinson Congress which is held from October 1st to 4th 2013.

Krzysztof Nesterowicz,
Jagiellonian University Medical College Faculty of Pharmacy,
Krakow, Poland

Paul de Roos,
Uppsala University Department of Neuroscience and Neurology department of Uppsala Academic Hospital,