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The EPDA Board

The EPDA is administered by the Elected Board that 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.


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 law firm BergensAdvokatene AS. 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

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: Mariella Graziano, Luxembourg   

Mariella was elected an EPDA Board Member in 2014, having formally been Treasurer since 2009 and Secretary since 2005. 

She has worked with the Luxembourg Parkinson's Disease Association since 2000 and is president of the Association of Physiotherapists in Parkinson's Disease Europe (APPDE). 

Born in Argentina, Mariella moved to the UK in the 1980s, graduating as a physiotherapist and working as a neuro-physiotherapist at the London National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. She moved to Luxembourg in 1997, where she has her own physiotherapy practice.

Mariella Graziano
Mariella Graziano

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: Panayiotis Zikos, Greece   

Panayiotis (Panos) was elected an EPDA Board Member in 2014.

Panos, co-founder of EPIKOUROS-kinesis the Greek patient organisation has been its president since 2008. Under his leadership, several first time actions have taken place such as the Greek website www.parkinsoportal.gr, educational materials, help-line, congresses, press conferences  - all to illuminate key issues about Parkinson’s.

Born in1970, Panos lives in Athens with his wife Stefanie and son John. He is a neurologist at the 251 Hellenic Air Force General Hospital, in charge of the Movement Disorders outpatient clinic. His subspecialty is Deep Brain Stimulation.

Panayiotis Zikos
Panayiotis Zikos

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