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Leadership

The Foundation launched the Physical Therapy Faculty Program after recognizing the need to improve future physical therapists’ education to meet the growing needs of people living with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Faculty members are leading PT experts who are internationally recognized in the field of PD.

Faculty

Terry Ellis, P.T., Ph.D., N.C.S.
Boston University

Program Manager

Dr. Ellis is Clinical Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training at Boston University's College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College, in Boston, MA. Dr. Ellis is also the Center for Neurorehabilitation at Boston University co-director and American Parkinson Disease Association's National Rehabilitation Resource Center housed at Boston University director.

Dr. Ellis, a board-certified Neurologic Physical Therapy specialist, conducts research and provides clinical consultations and education to health care professionals and people living with neurological disorders, including Parkinson's. She is the author of many peer-reviewed articles. Her research focuses on how exercise and rehabilitation reduces disability and enhances quality of life in people with Parkinson's.

She lectures nationally on rehabilitation and Parkinson's. She co-authored a "BE ACTIVE" exercise manual, published by the American Parkinson Disease Association and has developed evidence-based community wellness programs and an inpatient rehabilitation program for people with PD. Dr. Ellis served as faculty on the Parkinson's Disease: A Practical Approach to Evaluation & Treatment for the Physical Therapist, an online Parkinson's Foundation-led course designed by expert PD physical therapists to help other physical therapists better understand how to evaluate, treat and deliver comprehensive care to people living with Parkinson's. She also led the Parkinson's Foundation webinar, Gait, Balance and Falls in Parkinson's Disease.

Dr. Ellis has a Behavioral Neurosciences Ph.D. from Boston University School of Medicine.

Fay Horak, Ph.D.
Oregon Health and Science University

Dr. Fay Horak is a Professor of Neurology and the director of the Balance Disorders laboratory at Oregon Health and Sciences University and the Portland VA Healthcare System.  Dr. Horak is a physical therapist and neuroscientist who is internationally known for her research on the physiology of balance disorders in Parkinson’s disease and their rehabilitation. Dr. Horak received a BS degree in physical therapy from the U of Wisconsin, a MS in neurophysiology from the U of Minnesota and a PhD in neuroscience from the University of Washington in Seattle.  She has received several national research awards from the American Physical Therapy Association and is the first physical therapist to receive a prestigious MERIT award from the National Institutes of Health for over 30 years of continuous funding.  Dr. Horak has over 250 peer-reviewed papers, has had over 50 million dollars in federal grants and is on the Council for the National Center of Medical Rehabilitation Research of NIH.

Dr. Horak’s laboratory is considered the premier balance disorders laboratory in the world.  She has characterized normal balance responses to postural perturbations from a moving surface and how Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders impair posture control.  She has shown how levodopa and deep brain stimulation can impair balance control and how exercise intervention can improve balance and gait.  Dr. Horak’s research has shown how balance control is less like a stereotyped reflex and more like a complex motor skill that can be trained or rehabilitated.  Dr. Horak has several patents for new technology to measure and rehabilitate balance disorders and has developed a popular new clinical balance assessment tool, called the BESTest.  Her novel, instrumented mobility system, called Mobility Lab by APDM, Inc, allows clinicians and researchers to quickly and accurately quantify balance and gait disorders using wireless, wearable sensors.

Laurie King, Ph.D., PT
Oregon Health and Sciences University

Laurie King Ph.D., PT is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology at Oregon Health and Sciences University. She received her Doctor of Philosophy degree from Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, Virginia, in Anatomy and Neurobiology.  Prior to that, she graduated from Mayo School of Health Sciences in Rochester MN with a Masters in Physical Therapy.  She has over 15 years of clinical experience treating neurologically impaired patients. She has over 30 peer-reviewed publications and is currently funded by the NIH and the Department of Defense to study balance and gait and rehabilitation after brain injury.

Sponsors and Supporters

Contributions from Shelley and Rick Friedland make the Physical Therapy Faculty Program at the Parkinson's Foundation possible.

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