“If you want to be incrementally better: be competitive. If you want to be exponentially better: be cooperative.” Unknown.

In a world with people living with Parkinson’s Disease, the only real and true way of getting things accomplished is through cooperation.

Cooperation from the patient in getting involved in clinical trials. Involvement in the clinical trial process, to the extent that we all can, will yield quicker results.

Cooperation within the patient community of advocates, doing what you can, in partnership with other advocates to strengthen our collective voice. I’ve termed it the “exponential power of advocacy”.

Cooperation among researchers to speed up new treatments, and eventually, a cure. What is being shared? What is being done with the information? How is the patient voice a part of the research process? To what extent is the patient/advocate engaged in the research process? If not, why not?

Cooperation among organizations that award research grants to have a focus on what is important to the person living with the disease. I often speak of quality vs. quantity. Is the money being used wisely? Is it research for the sake of research, and not with intentions of improving the quality of life of people living with PD?

Cooperation among advocacy groups to realize that the person living with the disease is their priority. All organizations do much for the patient community, but is there total and true cooperation to advance the cause of this same community? I think we have far to go in this instance.

Competition is a good thing, but when it comes to taking a united stand against a vicious disease that keeps on taking, cooperation is indeed honorable and the only thing that will matter in the eyes of those whom organizations seek to serve.


3 thoughts on “Competitive vs. Cooperative – The Difference is Exponential

  1. Well said Israel, well said indeed! You and I have talked about the spirit of cooperation in support of research and the mutual benefit to all stakeholders involved. For the most part, the wheels of change grind slowly and it is so important to gain momentum. The key I think is to have an attitude of inclusion and to remain open to fresh ideas. It must start in our own communities and many people and organizations are doing just that. There is room for everyone but unity comes when people share a common goal and continue to work towards that goal. The “how” seems to be the big question. How to accomplish this has eluded the medical community. After years of advocacy work, it is my experience that there will always be a competitive spirit among different groups but I am willing to reach out to any group, organization or entity whose desire and objective is unity within the patient community.


  2. I am so glad you wrote this! You have put into words the expression of many PD families. It seems as thousands go to organizations and foundations that the actual PD community becomes secondary to the competition! I hear this often from the many contacts i have made.

    Keep up the great advocacy!


  3. Right on target, Israel. Nothing makes me crazier than hearing representatives of the various national orgs talk about how they are competing with each other for the same dollars when fundraising. As a patient, I don’t see this as good use of my donations. I would like all of my money to go to furthering the patient agenda (with finding a cure in the #1 spot). How can we ever get to this point with so much duplication of effort (translated $) and not enough cooperation?


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