Logo of Paratuberculosis Awareness and Research Association

Who is PARA?

The Foundation of PARA

Incorporated in mid-1997, the Paratuberculosis Awareness and Research Association (PARA) is an educational organization comprised of lay persons with Crohn's disease, their families and friends. PARA was formed because we became aware of scientific evidence suggesting an infectious organism -- a bacterium known as Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) -- may be causing Crohn's disease. At its inception, PARA began contacting a handful of highly regarded researchers and physicians who, despite little or no available funding, were valiantly, sometimes at their own expense, continuing to pursue the truth about MAP and Crohn's disease. Most impressively, these researchers were amassing a rapidly growing body of evidence -- evidence suggesting a causal link between MAP and Crohn's disease.  In the ensuing years, the entire story has become increasingly clear and the evidence has become increasingly compelling.

 PARA was founded with one objective in mind: To bring an end to Crohn's disease.

The Goals of PARA

With the objective of bringing an end to Crohn's disease, the goals of PARA are:

  1. To raise awareness of the zoonotic (disease-causing) potential of the bacterium, Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP), in the national community of sufferers of Crohn's disease, in medical, veterinary and food science research communities, in governmental agencies and in the public in general

  2. To urge governmental agencies to directly address control and eventual eradication of MAP from the human environment, particularly from foods of animal origin

  3. To urge governmental and medical research agencies to make funding available for research which will determine the role played by MAP in causing Crohn's disease

The Work of PARA

Among the many areas in which PARA is involved are

  1. Coordinating with MAP and Crohn's disease researchers around the world.

  2. Encouraging collaborative research between the infectious disease and gastroenterology research communities.

  3. Encouraging education of primary care Crohn's disease physicians about a potential infectious etiology for Crohn's disease.

  4. Raising awareness among food producers about the potential human health risks associated with MAP.

PARA Board of Directors

Photograph of Karen Meyer

Karen Meyer

Photograph of Cheryl Miller

Cheryl Miller

Karen's son has had Crohn's disease for 10 years.

Cheryl's daughter has had Crohn's disease for 14 years.

Photograph of Steve Merkel

Steve Merkel

Photograph of Alan Kennedy

Alan Kennedy

Steve's wife has had Crohn's disease for over 40 years.

Alan has had Crohn's disease for 24 years.


Source: http://www.crohns.org/aboutpara.htm   
Contact PARA: http://www.crohns.org/contact.htm
Paratuberculosis Awareness & Research Association, 1999-2003