Adam Gonzalez, PhD, Director of Behavioral Health and Founding Director of the Mind-Body Clinical Research Center at the Stony Brook Renaissance School of Medicine, has received a $15,000 one-year community award from the Parkinson’s Foundation. The award will be used to conduct a pilot study to evaluate the effectiveness of the Stress Management and Resilience Training (SMART) program with patients newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and their caregiver delivered via telehealth.
The pilot study is a collaborative effort between Dr. Gonzalez from the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Health and Carine Maurer, MD, PhD and Guy Schwartz, MD from the Department of Neurology. The team will adapt and test the SMART program (Group Therapy, Services) to alleviate mental health symptoms in patients with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers.
Over a third of patients with Parkinson’s nationwide experience mental health symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and sleep difficulties. Newly diagnosed patients and their caregivers are especially susceptible, as they may struggle to cope with the diagnosis and manage related stress. These mental health symptoms have been linked to severe consequences, including poor quality of life, functional impairments, and poor treatment compliance. In addition, caregivers of patients with Parkinson’s show increased risk for emotional and financial strain, reduced quality of life, and chronic mental and physical health symptoms.