Parkinson’s Foundation Awards $60,000 to Nursing and Physical Therapy Faculty Working to Improve Parkinson’s Care

NEW YORK & MIAMI (February 22, 2022) — The Parkinson’s Foundation has announced $60,000 in grant funding for the Physical Therapy Faculty Award and Nurse Faculty Award. The 2022 recipients, all graduates of The Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program or the Physical Therapy Faculty Program, will receive up to $10,000 each from the Foundation to launch individual projects that aim to make life better for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD).

The number of people living with PD in the U.S. is expected to rise to 1.2 million by 2030. In order to meet this challenge, the Parkinson’s Foundation provides professional training to prepare the next generation of nurses, and physical therapists to care for the growing population of people with PD. This includes the Foundation’s Physical Therapy Faculty Program and The Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program – both designed with a curriculum that provides training to faculty leaders on how to educate their students by equipping them with best practices and the latest PD information.

“Recognizing how essential nurses and physical therapists are in the care of people with PD, the Parkinson’s Foundation has been diligent in bolstering the healthcare teams that care for the PD community,” said John L. Lehr, Parkinson’s Foundation President and CEO. “These awards support exceptional professionals in the development of projects that enhance Parkinson’s care.”

The four 2022 Physical Therapy Faculty Award recipients include:

Anne Marie Dupre, PT, DPT, NCS: Dupre’s project will provide weekly Parkinson’s Exercise Groups (PEG) organized and delivered by Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students with faculty supervision. In addition to measuring the overall experience, the project will measure the students’ learning experience and potential changes in function for participants. Dupre is a Clinical Associate Professor and Assistant Director of Clinical Education at the University of Rhode Island.

Alicia Flach, DPT, NCS: Flach’s project further expands an existing program – Parkinson’s Disease.Resources.Education.Vitality.+ (PD REV+) – by building on the education and exercise support provided to improve the South Carolina PD community’s access to exercise opportunities. Flach is a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of South Carolina, Physical Therapy Program.

Jennifer Hale, PT, DPT, NCS: Hale’s project will contribute to research efforts and knowledge of the bidirectional associations of physical activity and PD in women by examining data from the Women’s Health Study (WHS), one of the largest cohorts in the world investigating health outcomes in women. Hale is a Clinical Associate Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program.

Jennifer Penn, PT, DPT, NCS and Patti Berg-Poppe, PhD: This project will gather and synthesize information to develop materials that promote the safe and feasible implementation of effective home exercise programming that drives optimal performance from physical therapy intervention. Penn is an Assistant Professor at the University of the Incarnate Word, and Berg-Poppe is a Professor and Department of Physical Therapy Chair at the University of South Dakota.

The two 2022 Nurse Faculty Award recipients include:

Diane Ellis, MSN, RN, CCRN: Ellis’ research will further her prior works on Medication Safety in PD during transitions. Prior research indicates hospitalized persons with PD often do not receive their medications on time or as prescribed, with 61 percent of individuals suffering poor outcomes. To improve quality and safety for this population, a study focusing on the omission of time-sensitive medications will be conducted at large academic healthcare institutions. Ellis is a research scholar at Villanova University.

Carey Heck, PhD: Heck’s project serves as the first of a three-part series consisting of a learning module and simulation for training nurse practitioner (NP) students on discussing difficult news in PD. Diagnosis and prognosis discussions are often new skillsets for nurses transitioning to an NP role, and current curricula offer little formal training. This project will provide learners with a robust, simulated experience with faculty oversight. Heck is the director of the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Program at Thomas Jefferson University.

“This funding allows us to expand our impact and build sustainability to the established PD.R.E.V.+ program that brings education and exercise opportunities to the South Carolina PD community,” said Alicia Flach, Parkinson’s Foundation Physical Therapy Faculty Award recipient. “The program will now be able to involve and better equip physical therapy students and training exercise professionals to work with people with Parkinson’s."

Applications for the 2022 Physical Therapy Faculty Program are being accepted through March 21. The program will be hosted at three locations, including Boston University, Washington University in St. Louis, and Oregon Health & Science University. In addition to the Physical Therapy Faculty Program and The Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program, the Foundation strives to make a difference for health professionals by offering Parkinson’s Foundation Team Training and other resources such as online courses, publications, webinars and fact sheets.

For more information on best-practice care training and faculty award opportunities from the Parkinson’s Foundation, please visit


About the Parkinson’s Foundation
The Parkinson’s Foundation makes life better for people with Parkinson’s disease by improving care and advancing research toward a cure. In everything we do, we build on the energy, experience and passion of our global Parkinson’s community. Since 1957, the Parkinson’s Foundation has invested more than $400 million in Parkinson’s research and clinical care. Connect with us on Parkinson.orgFacebookTwitterInstagram or call (800) 4PD-INFO (473-4636).

About Parkinson’s Disease
Affecting an estimated one million Americans and 10 million worldwide, Parkinson’s disease is the second-most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s and is the 14th-leading cause of death in the U.S. It is associated with a progressive loss of motor control (e.g., shaking or tremor at rest and lack of facial expression), as well as non-motor symptoms (e.g., depression and anxiety). There is no cure for Parkinson’s and 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the U.S. alone.

Back to Top