You probably recognize her friendly face as the host of many of our online programs but Anissa Mitchell, VP, Programs brings so much more to the PMD Alliance community! She has a masters degree in social work and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with more than 25 years of experience in the medical field, plus a personal connection to Parkinson’s.
Before coming to PMD Alliance, Anissa ran a Parkinson Outreach Center in Orlando, FL for ten years. She had worked with PMD Alliance several times over the years and felt “captivated” by the mission. “I loved their energy, the ability to do creative things in a very strategic but rapid way.” She came on as the VP of Programs in 2020 and learned just how quickly things move and change, as we canceled nearly all our in-person events and held more than 133 online programs.
But it’s Anissa’s personal connection to the mission and to the PMD Alliance community that truly make her unique. “When I started working for the Parkinson Outreach Center, I had no personal connection to PD. However, after the first couple years running the Parkinson’s program, I started noticing symptoms in my own mother. I knew what was wrong but couldn’t believe the irony,” says Anissa. She got her mother to see a neurologist and eventually, they received a diagnosis of Parkinson’s.
One of the greatest challenges for me was separating the roles of the ‘social worker’ who knew the things my mom needed to be doing-like exercise, eating differently, making long-term care plans etc. and being the daughter.
She really didn’t want the ‘social workers’ Anissa; she wanted the daughter.
At PMD Alliance, she gets to bring it all. She leads our discussions with the knowledge of someone who has true experience with the diseases we discuss and a genuine compassion as someone who has lived it. In her free time, Anissa loves to be with her family outdoors. “And if the weather isn’t cooperative, you can usually find me listening to my vinyl collection or doing something artsy!”