National Citizen Scientist Awards Presented to Exemplary Clinical Trial Volunteers Participating in Research

The Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation’s® (GAP) 2023 Citizen Scientist Award© recipients include a philanthropic Mustang enthusiast, an “old-school” Veteran, an innovative volunteer with Parkinson’s disease and an Alzheimer’s advocate/ inspirational study partner.

WASHINGTON, DC (Feb. 19, 2024) — Today, the Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation (GAP) proudly announced the 2023 National Citizen Scientist Awards® elevated honorees.  GAP’s Citizen Scientist Awards acknowledge the contributions of individuals who make a difference by volunteering in clinical trials for neurodegenerative diseases.

This year’s award recipients include, a car enthusiast and philanthropist who is now raising awareness for Alzheimer’s disease in the Orange County Mustang community, a Georgia Veteran known for his “old-school” recruitment efforts, a clinical trial advocate living with Parkinson’s disease who creates new resources to help others living with the disease, and a dynamic advocate and inspiring study partner committed to a positive future with her husband who is living with Alzheimer’s disease.

“By donating their time, energy, and trust, these people—and others like them– play an indispensable role in the development of new treatments and therapies that have the potential to make a profound difference in the lives of others,” said GAP President John Dwyer.  “Their contribution to clinical research is invaluable, and we owe them an enormous debt of gratitude. Thank you, Jeannie, Rod, Sheila, Joanne, and your loved ones, for your unwavering commitment to science, health, and humanity. Your efforts create a legacy of healing and hope for generations to come.”

Recruiting and maintaining clinical trial participants continues to be a major obstacle to developing new therapies and treatments for those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Upwards of 90 percent of clinical trials are delayed due to a lack of participants[1].

The 2023 National Citizen Scientist Award honorees make critical contributions to the wide body of clinical research being done around the world and they reflect the different roles that people can play in finding better therapies for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

GAP supports more than 100 research sites in North America and worldwide who are part of the GAP-Net clinical research network. Together, they form a network of independent and academic clinical research sites that are committed to accelerating research to benefit people living with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

GAP-Net research sites nominated more than 80 deserving volunteers for the 2023 Citizen Scientist Awards, and they were celebrated locally along with other volunteers who participate in clinical research.

The 2023 Citizen Scientist Award Elevated Recipients

Jeannie Weiss — Santa Ana, CA

  • Jeannie received the Citizen Scientist Champion Award® and has been a champion of clinical trial participation, recruiting others to volunteer, and working to share information about the important clinical trial research being conducted at the nearby Syrentis Clinical Research. For more than 30 years, Jeannie and her husband, Jeff, have been members of the Orange County Mustang Club (OCMC) and have participated in local charity events. Jeannie’s Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis has led her to raise awareness for the disease among other Mustang and car enthusiasts.  Jeannie describes what inspired her to volunteer, “After I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, I felt cheated, but then thought, ‘well I’m going to do something about it.’ If I can help somebody else, I think that’s the most important thing. They need to know if things are going to work to help them, or us, or me.” 

Rod Barber—Ellenwood, GA

  • Rod received the Citizen Scientist Catalyst Award®, which is given to a clinical trial volunteer who brings about change or encourages others in clinical trial participation. Since 2019, Rod has participated in clinical trials at CenExel iResearch and recognized the need for more volunteers in clinical research. Rod began his own on-the-ground recruitment efforts, using business cards, study brochures, and pamphlets made from newspaper clippings to encourage his community to volunteer in research. With his “old school” style of recruiting volunteers, Rod is a trusted resource in the greater Ellenwood community.  Rod said, “While I hope to benefit, I also hope these new drugs benefit many others.”

Sheila Keiner — Heathrow, FL

  • Sheila received the Citizen Scientist Cornerstone Award® recipient, which recognizes a clinical trial volunteer who has made extraordinary efforts to support local research and participation in trials. Sheila, who lives with Parkinson’s disease, is a “snowbird”,  traveling between Nashville (TN) and her hometown of Heathrow (FL) to participate at Charter Research in Winter Park (FL). Sheila took on the role of innovator as she fashioned a belt and magnetic holder that helped with holding the medication dispensing device, as part of the study, to help others. She shared this repurposed accessory with the study sponsor to help other volunteers have an easier experience during the trial. Sheila said, “I think research gives all of us hope and I would do anything to progress the research. I am able to tell people who just got diagnosed that we are on the cusp.”

Joanne Bridges— Miami, FL

  • Joanne is the recipient of the National Citizen Scientist Collaborator Award®, which is given to a study partner who supports a participant in a clinical trial. She said, “I am lovingly and mentally supporting my husband in sharing this episode of his life.  The most rewarding aspect of supporting a participant in a clinical trial is that I can open the door to hope.” She provides unwavering support for her husband, Jerome, as he participates in a clinical trial at a local research site, Visionary Investigators Network.  Joanne is a living example of how to take on the role of caregiver in stride and lead the next part of her family’s journey in optimism.

For more information about the Citizen Scientist Awards® and to see the other honorees, visit:

To learn about nearby clinical research studies for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, visit:


For immediate release:

About the Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation (GAP)

The nonprofit Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation® was founded to speed the delivery of Alzheimer’s treatments with a commitment to promoting diversity in clinical research, as well as lowering the cost and duration of clinical trials to ensure that no one is left behind. As part of its mission, GAP supports more than 100 clinical research sites worldwide through study start up and recruitment activities, promoting diversity in research studies, and giving attention to the citizen scientists who make research possible.

About National Citizen Scientist Awards

The annual Citizen Scientist Awards® are one way that GAP recognizes the time, passion and dedication of the clinical trial participants who are helping to finding a new treatment, prevention or cure for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases through their volunteerism.


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