Background & Goals

It is estimated that the number of people with Parkinson's may double by 2030. The disease is chronic and progressive and varies greatly from person to person.

Research suggests that physical therapy and exercise can help people with Parkinson’s to maintain and improve mobility and to experience a better quality of life. For example, research reveals that individuals with Parkinson’s who participate 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 have reported to the Parkinson's Foundation the need for better training in the disease.

The Physical Therapy Faculty Program at the Parkinson's Foundation is a pilot “train the trainer” program which improves physical therapy care in Parkinson’s disease by training faculty leaders across the United States 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, by bringing this knowledge back to their students, our future practitioners, can make a great impact on the lives of people with Parkinson’s disease.

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 providing clinical mentorship on Parkinson’s disease 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 disease, their care partners and families.