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Background & Goals

Estimates show the number of people living with Parkinson's disease (PD) will double by 2030. This progressive disease varies greatly with each person. Though symptoms vary, physical therapy has proven beneficial.

Research suggests that physical therapy and exercise can help people with Parkinson’s maintain and improve mobility and experience a better quality of life. For example, research has shown that people with Parkinson’s who take part in physical therapy can experience improved gait, balance, aerobic conditioning, strength and general mobility.

Despite the clear benefits for people living with Parkinson’s, physical therapists (PTs) have reported to the Parkinson's Foundation the need for better training in the disease.

The Parkinson's Foundation Physical Therapy Faculty Program is a train the trainer program improving Parkinson’s physical therapy care by training faculty leaders across the U.S. so they can, in turn, educate physical therapy students. The intensive course allows physical therapy educators to immerse themselves in learning the latest evidence-based findings in Parkinson's research and care. Physical therapy educators can make a great impact on the lives of people with PD by bringing this knowledge back to their students, our future practitioners.

Goals

The goals of the Physical Therapy Faculty Program at the Parkinson's Foundation are to:

  • Enhance the knowledge and confidence of physical therapy faculty in developing course content, delivering lectures and offering clinical mentorship on Parkinson’s within undergraduate and graduate-level physical therapy programs nationwide.
  • Develop a long-term relationship between physical therapy faculty who complete the program and Parkinson’s experts at nationally recognized movement disorder centers.
  • Prepare physical therapy graduates to care for people living with Parkinson’s, their caregivers and families.
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