Veronica (Ronnie) Todaro, M.P.H., has led the national programs of the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) since joining the organization in 2004.
In this role, she has pioneered national programs focused on patient engagement both at PDF and in the broader community. She has advocated amongst industry, government, academia, and nonprofits to change our understanding of “patients” to include the recognition that people with Parkinson’s are the ultimate consumers whose insights should drive our work to find a cure for the disease.
Ms. Todaro’s work includes the creation of the Parkinson’s Advocates in Research program. Under her direction, the program has trained more than 280 volunteers (people with Parkinson’s and care partners) to serve on the frontlines with the professionals seeking better treatments for their disease. In addition to driving the volunteer component of the program, Ms. Todaro has forged relationships with research professionals to ensure that opportunities exist for these trained patient advocates to share their insights. She and her team provide regular guidance to research professionals and patient advocates on how they can work together to find the cure.
Ms. Todaro’s focus on patient engagement also led to the creation of PDF’s People with Parkinson’s Advisory Council, which she launched in 2006 as the first of its kind in the community. The 14 members of this council serve as key advisors on PDF’s programs of research, education and advocacy.
More recently, she has worked to launch new patient leadership programs that help to reach new communities and address unmet needs, including the Women and PD Initiative and PD SELF, a pilot program developed by Diane Cook.
Ms. Todaro has been recognized for her leadership in patient engagement and community-centric programming by many organizations in the field. For example, she has been an invited speaker at national and international conferences, including those convened by the National Institutes of Health, the US Food and Drug Administration, the Society for Clinical Trials and the World Parkinson Congress.
Ms. Todaro currently serves as a member of the Advisory Panel on Patient Engagement for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). She is a representative to the Executive Committee for the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative (CTTI) and previously served as Chair of CTTI's Patient Leadership Council (PLC). She also serves on the Institutional Review Board at the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System. Lastly, she is a member of the editorial board for the Global Forum, the journal of the Drug Information Association.
Prior to working with PDF, Ms. Todaro held several leadership positions in the public health field, including with Planned Parenthood.
Ms. Todaro completed her master’s degree in Public Health in Planning and Administration at the University of Michigan and her bachelor’s degree in Public Policy at Cornell University.