National Plan to End Parkinson’s Act Connected to SCS

U.S. Capitol building dome.

Editor's note: This article was published prior to the President's signing of the bill. The bill was signed into law on the afternoon of July 2, 2024.

Washington, D.C.—Two members of the School of Continuing Studies (SCS) recently worked on the communications campaign in Congress for an unprecedented bill to end Parkinson’s disease. After receiving overwhelming bipartisan support in the House last December, the National Plan to End Parkinson’s Act passed the Senate unanimously on May 23, 2024. The bill now awaits President Joe Biden’s signature to become law.

The legislation aims to revolutionize federal research and policies to treat, prevent, and cure Parkinson’s — which costs the country $58 billion in treatments annually. Carol Blymire, faculty director of the Public Relations & Corporate Communications program at SCS, collaborated with members of Congress, lobbyists, and her former student, Kelley Moore (G’18) to advance the communications efforts surrounding this bill.

Carol Blymire
Carol Blymire, faculty director of the Master's in Public Relations & Corporate Communications program.

In addition to being a faculty director at Georgetown, Blymire has worked with the Michael J. Fox Foundation for more than two decades to bring this initiative to life. From connecting Parkinson’s patients to speak directly with their representatives to producing PSAs with Michael J. Fox himself, Blymire said this bill marks a significant moment in history.

“This is the first time in history that this kind of bill has passed,” said Blymire. “This is also the first time in history that Parkinson’s has been talked about in floor speeches in both the House and Senate — that's never happened,” she added.

Blymire has taught at the School of Continuing Studies since 2007 and has served as a faculty director since Spring 2023. She has also worked in two presidential administrations and runs her own public affairs firm. With more than 30 years of professional experience in Washington, D.C., this milestone holds a special place in her heart.

“I’ve gotten to do so many incredible things in my career, but getting this bill passed for a community that means so much to me is one of my all-time highlights,” Blymire said.

While working with Congress, Blymire crossed paths with one of her former students who is now the communications director for Sen. Shelley Capito (R-WV), one of the bill’s lead sponsors. Kelley Moore shared that she’s looked up to Blymire from the start of her SCS journey.

Kelley Moore
Kelley Moore (G’18)

Moore recalled how Blymire helped her navigate many professional decisions throughout her career and is excited to continue to work with her outside of the classroom. “Crossing paths with her after graduation was a pleasant surprise and made it easier to connect on the communications around this particular bill,” said Moore.

Moore began working for Sen. Capito on her first campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2014. After graduating from SCS, she became Capito’s director of communications in 2019. She was called to political communications for its fast-paced environment and the opportunity to learn about various issues impacting the country, like Parkinson’s disease. Reflecting on her time at SCS, Moore said that the public relations program’s curriculum gave her hands-on experience that prepared her for where she is today.

“What I learned in each class was able to be applied the very next day at work,” she said. “On top of that, the access to people—whether that be through guest speakers, students, and professors—offered many mentorship and networking opportunities, as well as opportunities to hear from and learn from a diverse range of experiences in the communications space,” Moore shared.

As the nation awaits President Biden’s signature on the National Plan to End Parkinson’s Act, Blymire and Moore’s contributions capture the power of effective communication in legislative advocacy. Their efforts highlight the role of strategic communications in shaping public policy while embodying Georgetown’s commitment to contributing to the greater good.

About Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies

Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies offers graduate programs in professional and liberal studies, more than 30 professional certificate programs, custom and corporate training and education, summer school and special programs, as well as the University’s only part-time bachelor’s program. The School’s innovative educational programming creates opportunities for students and professionals to connect with industry leaders through learning and service.

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