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European Parkinson's Disease Association
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The EPDA Board

The EPDA is administered by the Elected Board, which is the 'face' of the organisation. The Elected Board consists of between five and 10 members who are elected at the General Assembly for a term of three years. They may be re-elected by the General Assembly at the end of their term.

The Executive Board is responsible for the EPDA's day-to-day management.

There are also currently two advisers to the Board.

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President: Knut-Johan Onarheim, Norway   

Knut-Johan was elected EPDA President in 2009 and has served as a Board member since 2005.

He became board member of the Norwegian Parkinson's Disease Association in 1995 due to his father having Parkinson's. He was then elected the organistion’s president in 2001, a position he still holds.

Born in Bergen, Norway, Knut-Johan graduated with a Law degree from the University of Oslo, Norway, in 1976 and is now senior partner of the Onarheim, Hartwig & Rindal Onarheim DA law firm. Knut-Johan is married and has three children. Knut-Johan has spent many years serving on the board of a number of Norwegian and international disabled organisations.


Knut-Johan Onarheim
Knut-Johan Onarheim

Vice-President: Susanna Lindvall, Sweden   

Susanna was elected EPDA Vice-President in 2005.

From 1996 to 2002 she was President of the Swedish Parkinson's Disease Association (SPA). Since then she has served on the SPA board and is currently president of the Swedish Parkinson Foundation. Elsewhere, she was a board member of the Arvid Carlson Foundation from 2001 to 2008, and since 2007 she has been a member of the Swedish Parkinson’s Academy steering group.

Susanna was born in Romania but has lived in Sweden since 1962, where she graduated as a BSc in organic chemistry at the University of Stockholm. She worked for many years as an information specialist at dairy company Arla Foods until her retirement in 2010.


Susanna Lindvall
Susanna Lindvall

Treasurer: Mariella Graziano, Luxembourg   

Mariella was elected EPDA Treasurer in 2009 having been Secretary since 2005.

Since 2000 she has worked closely with the Luxembourg Parkinson's Disease Association and was elected its vice-president in 2008. Mariella is also currently the president of the Association of Physiotherapists in Parkinson's Disease Europe (APPDE) and has produced various teaching materials for people with Parkinson's and their families on behalf of both the APPDE and the EPDA. In addition, she runs workshops throughout Europe and other parts of the world to address the specific mobility difficulties that affect people with Parkinson's.

Born in Argentina, Mariella moved to the UK in the 1980s, where she graduated as a physiotherapist. From the early 1990s, she worked as a neuro-physiotherapist at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, developing a special interest in movement disorders and Parkinson's. She moved to Luxembourg in 1997, where she has her own physiotherapy practice.


Mariella Graziano
Mariella Graziano

Member: Lizzie Graham, United Kingdom      

Director of Fundraising and Global Communications | lizzie@epda.eu.com

Lizzie has worked with the EPDA since it was formed in June 1992. 

In November 2001 she was appointed to manage the organisation as well as develop its projects, promotion and fundraising. 

In 2012, she retired from her role as Secretary General to become an Executive Board Member and to head up its communication and marketing strategies as well as fundraising. Her additional responsibilities include:

  • developing the EPDA’s work programme.
  • maintaining and developing treatment industry and external partnerships
  • improving the EPDA’s wider communication with its key stakeholders 
  • financial management
  • Editor-In-Chief for all EPDA publications and web content


Lizzie Graham
Lizzie Graham

Member: Amichai Arieli, Israel   

Ami was elected an EPDA Board Member in 2009.

Ami was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2000 and joined the Israel Parkinson’s Association (IPA) in 2004, being elected onto its board shortly after. Since then he has been an active force within the organisation and was elected its chairman of the control and ethics committee in 2011.

Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 1944, Ami is married and has three children and eight grandchildren.


Amichai Arieli
Amichai Arieli

Member: Ann Keilthy, Ireland   

Ann was elected an EPDA Board Member in 2009.

Ann was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1996 and, since that time, has been actively involved with the Parkinson’s Association of Ireland (PAI) (board member, management team member and national executive committee member). She is also vice chair of the Irish PALS Support Group, which offers support to younger people with Parkinson’s.

Born in 1952, Ann's interests include music, photography, painting/drawing and computers.


Ann Keilthy
Ann Keilthy

Legal Adviser: Stephen Pickard, Belgium   

Stephen has supported the EPDA since 1993 and has been Legal Adviser since 2001.

Stephen became the EPDA's Interim President in 2006 and President from 2007-2009. He is also a member of two Belgian Parkinson's organisations: L'Association Parkinson Belge and the Vlaamse Parkinson Liga vzw.

Stephen, whose father had Parkinson's disease, has specialised in all the main areas of European law for more than 25 years, working in London, New York and, for the past 24 years, in Brussels. He has also published various articles on EU law. He is married with three children.


Stephen Pickard
Stephen Pickard

Special Projects Adviser: Branko Šmid, Slovenia   

Branko was the EPDA's treasurer from 2003 to 2009.

He served as the president of the Slovenian Parkinson’s Disease Society from 1996 to 2007. Under his leadership and guidance, the organisation enjoyed increased membership, new offices and government funding to support the organisation’s activities. He continues to work closely with the national organisation, advocating for increased awareness and improved quality of life for all people with Parkinson's, their families and carers.

Born in Kranj, Slovenia, in 1956, Branko studied electrotechnics and graduated in 1983. In 1986, he married Tatjana and celebrated the birth of their daughter, Anja. At the same time, he became aware of a tremor in his right hand and was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1989.

Branko Šmid
Branko Šmid