Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty
Are you a nurse educator? Apply to The Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program at the Parkinson’s Foundation to help us prepare the next generation of nurses to care for the growing population of people with Parkinson’s disease (PD).
The accredited train the trainer Nurse Faculty Program improves PD nursing care by training faculty leaders across the U.S. to educate nursing students. To date the program has trained more than 330 nurses who in turn educate an estimated 26,000 nursing students each year to meet this need.
Background and Goals
Nurses are critical to Parkinson's care. As the global population ages, and with the current shortage of neurologists specializing in the disease, it is pressing to prepare nurses how to treat Parkinson's. Estimates show the number of people living with Parkinson's in the U.S. is expected to rise to 1.2 million by 2030.
Established in 2009, the program offers faculty members from undergraduate nursing programs an intense accredited program (exact continuing education unit (CEU) to be confirmed, but approximately 40 CEU), that includes academic instruction, hands-on experience with Parkinson’s patients, independent study and mentorship from nurse specialists at nationally recognized movement disorder centers. The Parkinson's Foundation has hosted the program since 2014 as part of its commitment to training health care professionals.
- Enhance the knowledge and confidence of nursing faculty in developing course content, delivering lectures and providing clinical mentorship on Parkinson’s in undergraduate schools of nursing.
- Develop a long-term relationship between participating guest nursing faculty scholars and Parkinson’s experts at nationally recognized movement disorder centers.
- Prepare baccalaureate nursing graduates to care for people living with Parkinson’s, caregivers and families.
Parkinson's nurse specialists, along with The Edmond J. Safra Foundation, launched this program to improve the education of future nurses in order to meet the needs of the growing PD population.
Affiliated with academic Parkinson's disease and movement disorders centers throughout the U.S., faculty members are Parkinson’s experts who represent multi-disciplinary teams.
Co-Founder and National Director
Gwyn M. Vernon is a certified registered nurse practitioner who has cared for people living with Parkinson's since 1982. She is passionate in caring for those with Parkinson's and educating future generations of nurses on Parkinson's care.
Gwyn is the national director of The Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program at the Parkinson’s Foundation, which she co-developed with Lisette Bunting-Perry, PhD, RN. Gwyn is one of the founding members of the Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center, Penn Medicine Neuroscience Center at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia. In addition to direct patient care, she has served as coordinator of the center and clinical researcher in past years.
She has authored more than 60 peer reviewed articles and chapters on Parkinson's and co-authored Comprehensive Nursing Care for Parkinson's Disease. Gwyn speaks nationally and internationally on the topic. She obtained a master's degree in community health education and a Master of Science degree in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania.
Gina joined the VNF team in early 2017 and is the National Program Manager. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Drexel University and a Master of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania.
Training Dates & Locations
The Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program hosts several trainings each year at university-based movement disorder centers. Nurse faculty are selected through a competitive application process.
After registering and being accepted into the program, a link will be provided to applicant for 6 hours of self-paced modules and readings. Upon completing the self paced work, scholars will go to the assigned Parkinson’s disease clinic for three days of in-person learning of advanced content and clinical time. This is followed by attendance at a Parkinson’s Disease Support Group and the completion of an independent project to benefit nursing educations and/or patient care.
All scholars who enroll and are accepted will be given a link to the self-paced modules (nine hours) that must be completed prior to the advanced content days. Scholars can complete modules and repeat sections at their own pace. Modules will be available from May 1, 2023 until December 1, 2023.
Scholars will register on their initial application for one of the three three-day on-site programs offered at:
- University of California/San Francisco Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Clinical Center
June 26-28, 2023 (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday)
- Boston University, Boston, MA
August 1-3, 2023 (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday)
- Struthers’ Parkinson’s Disease Center, Minneapolis, MN
August 22-24, 2023 (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday)
- Muhammad Ali Parkinson’s Disease Center, Phoenix, AZ
October 23-25, 2023 (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday)
- University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL
October 25-27, 2023 (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday)
Applicants will be notified of acceptance within 3 weeks of their completed application. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until program/site is filled. Once accepted, you will be given link for self paced modules which must be completed one week prior to your live participation at a host site.
In summary, the Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program at Parkinson’s Foundation consists of 4 parts for completion:
Part 1 – Self paced online sessions
Must be completed ONE FULL week prior to start of advanced training
Part 2 – Advanced in-person training for 3 days at a host site
Part 3 – Attendance at a Parkinson’s Disease Support Group
Part 4 – Independent Project to benefit nursing education and/or patient care
Upon completion, the scholar will receive a $2,000 stipend and 50 nursing contact hours.
This continuing nursing education activity has been submitted to the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses, an accredited approver by the American Nurse Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation to offer a maximum of 50 nursing contact hours.
- University of California/San Francisco Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Clinical Center
CEUs & Stipend
Scholars who complete all program requirements of the Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program at the Parkinson’s Foundation, including an independent project within six months’ time, will be eligible for 50 nursing contact hours and a $2,000 stipend.
This continuing nursing education is under review for reaccreditation. It’s expected that the program will offer approximately 40 nursing contact hours, exact number of CEU will be confirmed in the coming months.
Both scholars and auditors are eligible for CEUs.
Scholars receive a $2,000 stipend after completing all requirements, including an independent project. The program includes a project to give nursing faculty the opportunity for self-directed learning. The project should contribute to nursing education on Parkinson’s and/or enhance the overall care of people with Parkinson’s and their families. The program director and nurse experts at the host sites will discuss projects with scholars and guide or mentor as needed.
Scholars (but not auditors) are eligible for a stipend.
The Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program at the Parkinson’s Foundation offers interactive trainings where nursing educators learn from the best in the PD field.
Attendance at a Parkinson’s support group, the development of an independent scholar project to benefit nursing education and/or patient care and 16 clinical hours supplement our curriculum.
- Introduction to epidemiology, signs, symptoms, presentation and progression of Parkinson’s and the chronic care model.
- Nursing care of a person with PD and family from early through advanced disease.
- Medical management of Parkinson’s.
- Surgical management of Parkinson’s.
- Basic, clinical and nursing research in Parkinson’s.
- Resources for a person with PD and the family.
- Role of the multidisciplinary team and rehabilitation strategies in PD.
- Parkinson’s disease curriculum development in schools of nursing.
- Issues of diversity in Parkinson’s disease.
This continuing nursing education activity was approved by the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation and offers a maximum of 50 nursing contact hours.
Alumni scholars, who have all gone through the accredited train the trainer course, share why nursing school faculty should apply to The Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program at the Parkinson’s Foundation:
"The program has given me a scholarly focus to pursue research."
"Truly the best continuing education program I’ve ever attended."
"The faculty experts who mentored me were incredible and so dedicated to their patients."
"The program is full of practical information from which I have drastically changed my clinical practice and teaching of students."
"Parkinson’s disease has become part of my nursing, my teaching and my life."
"The nurses mentoring me were so knowledgeable and I was amazed at their personal relationships with their patients."
Below we answer the most common questions about The Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program at the Parkinson’s Foundation. If you have additional questions, please contact us at Nursing@Parkinson.org.
We welcome applications from nursing faculty members in schools of nursing in the U.S. and internationally who can share their new Parkinson’s knowledge with nursing students. The program is also open to other nurse educators such as hospital and long-term care in-service instructors and adult/geriatric nurse practitioners if space allows. We call these participants “auditors.”
Yes, we accept international participants. However, the program does not cover travel/lodging costs.
In 2023, 25-30 scholars will be accepted into the Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program at the Parkinson’s Foundation.
Applications are rolling until the program/host site is filled. To give scholars adequate time to participate in the self-paced modules, it is recommended that you apply no later than 6 weeks prior to the date of the 3-day program you have chosen.
You can apply online here. Please indicate whether you are applying as a nurse faculty or as an auditor. When applying, please be prepared to submit your:
- Statement of purpose (why you want to attend the program)
- Two professional references
- Two reference letters
You should hear from the National Director within 2-3 weeks of submitting a completed application online.
Scholars do not have to arrange their clinical time. It is provided during the 3 day in-person sessions at the host sites.
Are you a nurse who works with people with Parkinson's? Our Nurse Webinar Library is designed for and by the Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program scholars at the Parkinson's Foundation exploring the latest PD care innovations.
Nurse scholars represent an innovative nurse educator network working with the Foundation to advance research, care and nursing education. The on-demand webinars below support their ongoing instruction and collaboration. Other professionals who share these goals are invited to view the series.
This series supports the Parkinson's Foundation's mission to make life better for people with Parkinson's disease by improving care and advancing research towards a cure. Support from the Edmond J. Safra Foundation and Lundbeck LLC makes it possible.
Find out how alumni of The Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program at the Parkinson’s Foundation are making an impact on Parkinson's research and care around the country.
Meet Our Annual Awardees
Each year, the program selects a graduate to receive an outstanding achievement award for improving the lives of people with Parkinson’s or for leadership and innovation in nursing education leading to improved care for those with Parkinson’s and their caregiver.
2022 Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Alumni Awardee
Dr. DiBartolo is the Fulton Endowed Professor of Geriatrics at Salisbury University, Salisbury, MD. She is a fellow in the Gerontology Society of America and recipient of many awards, among them the Distinguished Faculty Award at Salisbury University in 2016.
She is an Edmond J. Safra Nurse Scholar, having completed the program in 2015. She has many done many innovative projects in PD, including a TV series on PD shown locally and the development of a formal education program for nursing staff of inpatient facilities. She has presented her work at The World Parkinson Congresses in Portland, OR (2016) and Kyoto (2019) as well as to other professional organizations and conferences. She has multiple publications in peer reviewed journals on PD and Alzheimer’s disease and nursing care.
Dr. DiBartolo developed and launched a massive open online course (MOOC) on the edX platform in 2019. To date, the course has been viewed by over 5800 individuals in over 120 countries. She followed this with a MOOC on Alzheimer’s disease.
We are excited about Mary’s continued enthusiasm for educating others on Parkinson’s disease and proud to present her with the 2022 Annual Alumni Award. Thank you, Mary, for your wonderful and worthwhile efforts.
2021 Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Alumni Awardee
Mo Kyung Sin, PhD, RN, is an associate professor at Seattle University, Seattle, WA, and alumni of the 2019 Visiting Nurse Faculty Program held in Seattle, WA. In addition to classroom content in Parkinson’s disease, Dr. Sin has developed the “Nursing Student Ambassador Program,” a unique curriculum on PD for students in their junior and senior years.
The Nursing Student Ambassador Program consists of two components. The first component of the program is designed for junior-level students. Juniors receive didactics on PD integrated into the Health Assessment and Intervention course covering the pathophysiology of PD, motor and non-motor symptoms, as well as case studies focused on orthostatic hypotension identification and accompanying fall risks. In addition, the cases teach the identification and differences in the assessment of essential tremor and resting tremor and freezing of gait.
The second component of the Nursing Student Ambassador Program is designed for seniors and consists of a competitive exemplar. Six students are selected through a competitive process for the senior exemplar. To be eligible, students must have completed a research course and express great interest in learning more about PD and/or intend to pursue a career in neurology nursing. The students attend a one-day course led by Dr. Sin and guest PD experts. After the course, the students are divided into two groups and challenged to develop an evidence-based project and manuscript.
Professor Sin’s assessment of the Nursing Ambassador Program showed a significant increase in knowledge of PD and a sense of competency in the care of those with Parkinson’s disease. Student feedback on the program was positive, and under Professor Sin’s guidance, the students have published three papers related to their project. The papers are listed below.
Ho, H., Jose, I., Cheesman, M., Garrison, C., Bishop, K., Taber, S., Witt, J., Sin, M.K. (2021). Depression and anxiety management in Parkinson’s disease. Journal of Neuroscience Nursing, 53(4), 170-176.
Garrison, C., Bishop, K., Taber, S., Ho, H., Jose, I. Khemani, P. , Sin, M.K. (2021). Insomnia: An underrecognized nonmotor symptom in Parkinson’s disease. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.nurpra.2021.03.004.
Cheesman, M., Bishop, K., Ho, H., Sin, M.K. (in press). Constipation management in Parkinson’s disease. Journal of Neuroscience Nursing
2020 Safra Nurse Scholar Alumni Awardee
Diane is Clinical Assistant Professor at Villanova University, Villanova, PA. She has exhibited a long-term commitment to excellence in educating nurses about PD and has been an advocate for improving patient care. She was a participant in our pilot VNF held in Philadelphia, PA, in 2009. Since then, she has continued to develop creative programs for her nursing students as well as complete research on patient medication safety during transitions. In the process, Diane has utilized her colleagues in the nursing school who have developed a passion for PD as well.
More recently, Diane has developed an interprofessional program between her nursing school and Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, bringing together nursing, medical, psychology, and nurse anesthetists in simulated PD case work. She has researched the effectiveness in her methods in “Parkinson’s medication error and mock code simulation: Impact on students’ perceived comfort and competency in working with interprofessional teams”.
Diane has published her work in Nursing Education Perspectives and presented her work at the Collaborative Family Healthcare Association Virtual Conference, 2020, the Quality and Safety in Nursing Education Forums, the World Parkinson Congresses and several other venues. Diane was recently recognized in “Nova Worthy, 2020” for her committed care to championing patient care in groundbreaking ways.
In 2018, Stephanie attended The Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program at the University of Toledo. The training and experiences provided there convinced Stephanie that she had to find a way to improve the quality of life for those living with Parkinson’s in Northwest Missouri and Northeast Kansas. Stephanie was chosen for her excellent and most comprehensive efforts to improve quality of life for those with Parkinson’s, her contributions to nursing education for PD and her advocacy work.
After returning to Missouri after her VNF experience, Stephanie sought out others interested in making a difference and found two women who possessed equal passion and drive. Stephanie, Dr. Maureen Raffensperger (physical therapist), and Tara Patterson (martial arts and boxing instructor) shared a dream to create a free PD exercise program in St. Joseph, MI. In 2018, Live with PD! was born and began offering three boxing and one BIG AMPLITUDE exercise class (based on LSVT Big) per week. Later, Live with PD! joined the Freudenthal Family (a home health entity) and became the Freudenthal Center for Parkinson’s Disease. Stephanie and her team have continued to develop the center which now offers Singing for PD. The sessions are well attended, and plans are in progress to include cycling, dancing, yoga, Tai Chi, caregiver supports, educational programs and social services. A nurse navigation component is included which provides research for Stephanie’s doctoral thesis.
Additionally, Stephanie has plans to develop and implement a nurse navigator program as the culmination of her doctoral studies. Stephanie plans to undertake a capital campaign in the next several years and her goal is raise $3.5 million to build a Parkinson’s Center for these important community services for those with Parkinson’s disease.
Along with her active role in the community Stephanie maintains an active agenda of teaching nursing students about Parkinson’s and getting them involved. Students participate in a 7-week blog with patients and caregivers providing them with an active learning experience and receive an updated evidenced based lecture. A simulation lab Stephanie has created uses a home care Parkinson’s patient case study. For teaching research strategies, Stephanie is working with her nursing students on assessing nurses’ knowledge on Parkinson’s.
Stephanie works hard in the community and is involved in advocacy work for Parkinson’s disease. Examples include arranging speakers for the local support group, participating in Moving Day 2019 with the Parkinson’s Foundation Heartland Chapter and participating as an Aware in Care Ambassador. She has also presented on needs of those with Parkinson’s disease for staff at a local hospital.
Stephanie takes advantage of opportunities to keep herself up to date on Parkinson’s disease and she, her team members and two of her nursing students attended the Foundation’s Team Training program. Additionally, to keep her skills and knowledge current, Stephanie audited a 2019 Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program and participated in a back to clinic day at Struthers’ Parkinson’s Disease Center in Minneapolis, MN.
The 2018 Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program at the Parkinson’s Foundation annual award is given to two colleagues from Louisiana Tech University, Tara Haskins, DNP, RN, Associate Professor, and Donna Hood, PhD, RN, CNE, Professor and Nursing Director. Drs. Haskins and Hood attended the 2017 program hosted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Drs. Haskins and Hood became interested in Parkinson’s when they were introduced to a Rock Steady Boxing Class locally and then attended the Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2017. Their project was to develop a phenomenological research study of care partners of the Rock Steady Boxing program (publication pending). Part of the outcome of this study was a demonstrated need for more education and support for those facing the uncertainty of the physical, emotional and cognitive symptoms of PD. In searching for resources in their area, Drs. Haskins and Hood found only 5 resources groups/medical communities in the state of Louisiana addressing PD, and very limited access to PD resources and support in the rural northeast and central areas near Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, LA. To addresses their findings, Drs. Haskins and Hood have developed a 4-year plan which brings together University resources to establish a PD Information Center. The Center will train nursing students and leverage multiple disciplines including speech/audiology, kinesiology, nutrition, dietetics and biomedical engineering, developing future leaders while providing resources and interventions for the PD community.
Dr. Haskins holds the Lincoln General-Glenwood Endowed Professorship at Louisiana Tech University and is an Associate Professor. She is a certified Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and has been recognized for her excellence with multiple awards, including the 2018 Louisiana Tech University Foundation Professorship Award for Research, Teaching and Service. She holds a DNP from the University of Tennessee at Memphis, a MSN from the University of Texas at Tyler and a BSN from Northwestern State University, Shreveport, LA
Dr. Hood is the Professor and Director, Division of Nursing, Louisiana Tech University. She is a certified nurse educator and has been recognized for her leadership with the 2018 Louisan Nursing School Administrator of the Year award. She is a certified qualitative researcher, holds a PhD from the University of Texas at Tyler and a MSN and BSN from Northwestern State University, Shreveport, LA.
Debra attended the “VNF” at the Muhammed Ali Parkinson’s Disease Center in 2016. Since then she has spoken at her college conference to RN, LPN, NA, and care techs by showing on/off videos, addressing meds on time, safety, exercise and non-motor symptoms. She has influenced over 100 nurses in her first year since completing the “VNF”. She is furthering her efforts to bring knowledge on PD to others by joining her university’s network for humanities, art and neurodegenerative care, a program bringing art and music to those with neurodegenerative processes. Since Debra still occasionally “works a hospital shift” she has been able to influence hospital nurses’ understanding of PD care and share the Aware in Care Kit. Debra has been able to help a close family member who has PD by recognizing that there is so much more to one’s care and needs than she had previously appreciated.
“Prior to my attendance at the Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program at the Parkinson’s Foundation, I felt that I had completed my schooling; having completed my Associate’s and bachelor’s degree in Nursing, followed by my Master’s Degree in Nursing in 2016. However, the program ignited my new aspiration to obtain a Doctorate in Nursing and pursue a career in Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders.”
Dr. Kelly is Associate Professor and Program Director at Columbia University School of Nursing and Dr. Leiningen is Assistant Professor at Monmouth University School of Nursing and Health Studies. Both maintain clinical nursing practices.
After completing their training with the Nurse Faculty Program in 2015, Drs. Kelly and Leiningen developed a 15-week interactive educational activity “Meet Val And Holly: An Experiential Tour Through the Lives of A PD Family,” for their nursing curriculums, which they presented at the 4th World Parkinson Congress in Portland, OR. It walks nursing students through the journey of a person with Parkinson’s and care partner as they cope with a new diagnosis. Throughout the semester-long activity, as students read the journal of “Val and Holly” and submit assignments, we introduce them to Parkinson’s complexities — motor and non-motor symptoms, medication management, nutrition, home safety, care partner stress, adaptive equipment and resources — and the role nurses play in helping people to cope and live well.
The Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program at the Parkinson’s Foundation congratulates and thanks Drs. Kelly and Leiningen for their work as it relates to nursing education to improve care in Parkinson’s.
Dr. Altmiller is Associate Professor at the College of New Jersey and a clinical specialist at Albert Einstein Medical Center. She is an exceptional teacher, having been recognized for her excellence in nursing education with the 2014 Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching.
Dr. Altmiller has rapidly integrated her “VNF” experience into her career in nursing and nursing education, and has had an impact on the field by through the development of tools she is sharing with fellow nursing educators across the U.S.
After her training with VNF, Dr. Altmiller developed and published a case study entitled, “Unfolding Case Study: Applying the QSEN Competencies to the Care of Patients with Parkinson’s Disease," on QSEN, a website highly utilized by nursing faculty around the country. Her case study addresses patient safety in Parkinson's disease. She also presented the case study on PD at the annual meeting of QSEN in San Diego in May 2015. It is now available as a free tool for nursing educators around the U.S. In a very short time, it has had far reaching impact, with nursing professors from across the country using her case study to teach their students about safe Parkinson's disease care.
In addition to Dr. Altmiller’s QSEN work, she has published about quality and safety in graduate and undergraduate nursing education and spoken nationally at other conferences on this topic. She focuses her research on health care delivery communication challenges and educational and clinical arena incivility challenges, which have negative effects on patient safety. The Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program at the Parkinson’s Foundation congratulates and thanks Geralyn for her work on the behalf of nursing education and Parkinson’s disease patient safe care.
Dr. Prettyman is the Nurse Managed Health Center director and School of Nursing at the University of Delaware assistant professor.He co-directs the university’s Parkinson’s Clinic with 2010 awardee Ingrid Pretzer-Aboff. Dr. Prettyman attended the program at Johns Hopkins University in 2013. He has a broad nursing background with specific preventive healthcare expertise. He led the March 2014 opening of the Parkinson’s Disease Telehealth Clinic in Newark, Del., which he and Pretzer-Aboff designed along with other colleagues to serve patients living far from easy access to PD experts. It allows people with Parkinson’s, without easy access to expert care, to telecommunicate with internationally known PD neurologists. This innovative clinic demonstrates that strong leadership and vision can combine clinical services, academic mission and research outcomes into an integrated and effective healthcare model. Dr. Prettyman is proud that he could provide an immersive educational platform focused on PD for three graduate nursing students and 11 undergraduate students in the clinic’s first six months. He plans to soon expand PD immersion for graduate and undergraduate students.
Dr. Rowe has been a nursing educator since 1989. Chronic illness, family nursing, simulation and curriculum development are the focus of her most recent teaching. She consults across the country on learning theory in nursing education, simulation design and curriculum, and has won teaching and scholarships awards at the University of Portland. Recently Linfield College-Good Samaritan School of Nursing appointed her full professor. She was hired to help implement a competency-based curriculum.
Dr. Rowe was chosen in appreciation of her work as the editor on the leading nursing textbook on U.S. family nursing, now used in more than 100 nursing schools. Her Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program project was including a chapter on Parkinson’s disease in the context of families dealing with chronic illness in this book. This effort to enhance nursing education on Parkinson’s disease has the potential to reach thousands of nursing students in the U.S. and Canada.
Johanna Romero deSlavy participated in The Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Program at the Parkinson’s Foundation at Johns Hopkins University in 2011. Mentored by Margaret McCormick (2011 Awardee), she took the PD simulation laboratory experience outside the university and into the hospital setting, educating newly hired nurses on Parkinson's care. She is helping to meet the needs of Parkinson's patients in the acute care setting. She is co-author with Ms. McCormick on "Teaching with Technology: Improving critical thinking through the use of a simulated unfolding case study in Parkinson's Disease," in the Journal of Neuroscience Nurses in February 2013.
Margaret participated in the 2010 Johns Hopkins University program. An excellent nursing educator at Towson University in Maryland, she developed “Teaching with Technology: Improving Critical Thinking Through the Use of a Simulated Unfolding Case Study on Parkinson’s Disease.” Her project recognizes the power of simulation labs in nursing education. Many universities plan to replicate this model for nursing student Parkinson’s disease education. Her unfolding case study follows a patient from early diagnosis to the middle stages of Parkinson’s, and then on to the advanced care period. She integrates family involvement and caregiver roles by having some students role-play parts, while others are nurses and the voice of the patient. Ms. McCormick presented her work at the 2010 Second World Parkinson Congress in Scotland. More recently, she completed an article with co-author Rebecca Dunlop, BSN, RN, host site coordinator for the program at Johns Hopkins University, entitled "Placebo surgery in clinical trials research for Parkinson's Disease," which is now in press.
Dr. Pretzer-Aboff received the first-ever Alumni Award in 2010. She participated in the 2009 pilot program. She continues to be actively involved in improving the lives of those with Parkinson’s disease through her research in a home exercise PD program that incorporates supportive telephone care and home visits. She also established a group exercise program for those with Parkinson’s disease, assisted with a PD support group, assisted with establishing an alliance of PD support groups and presented a poster on PD at the 2nd World Parkinson Congress in Scotland, 2010. Never to tire, she also visited her state Senator and advocated for the hiring of a movement disorder trained physician for the state of Delaware which previous to her involvement had none.
Most recently, Dr. Pretzer-Aboff has been the driving force behind the first nurse managed Parkinson's disease telehealth clinic at the University of Delaware, which opened in March 2014. Her current research is a collaborative study with the Department of Engineering at the University of Delaware to evaluate the effect of step synchronized vibration on people living with Parkinson's disease.
Scholar Engagement Series
Scholar Alumni and nurses with a need to know are invited to our spring and fall Scholar Engagement Series. This is a time when participants of the Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program present their work to their colleagues in the program and guests. One (1) nursing contact hour is awarded for participation which is free. If you have not participated in the Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program but are interested in joining us for the scholar engagement series, please email GVernon@Parkinson.org so we can include you in the upcoming events.
Password Protected Scholar Page
This repository is for Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program at the Parkinson’s Foundation alumni and includes a link to the alumni book and independent projects.
To access this page, you must be a scholar of the program. If you are a scholar and you have not received the password for page access, please contact Gina Dyer at GDyer@Parkinson.org.
This award supports up to a maximum of $10,000 for three (3) alumni to take their EJS VNF Program independent project to the next step or to explore expanding another idea that would enhance their ability to teach about Parkinson’s or increase learning of Parkinson’s disease among nurses, students, or patients. Only EJS VNF Scholars who have completed their Independent Project may apply.
When applying, please address the scope of impact that your project will have on the PD community, for instance, distinguish if an immediate vs long term impact, or research vs community impact project. The Grant Awardee will also be matched with a Nurse Mentor, for a period of one-year, to offer guidance, support and encouragement to help cultivate the development of the project.
The Parkinson’s Foundation Nurse Faculty Award is for a maximum of $10,000 a year. Up to 10% of the award total, i.e., $1,000, may be used to defray indirect costs. Salary support is permitted.
This award is open to EJS VNF Scholars who completed their Independent Project only.
The application process will be open from Monday, September 12th through Monday, November 14, 2022. Review will take place in November/December and notices of award will go out in December 2022.
With the number of people living with Parkinson's increasing and the shortage of neurologists specializing in the disease, the Parkinson’s Foundation supports the training of more nurses through professional education and now supports their research through the Nurse Faculty Award.
The following Edmond J. Safra Nurse Faculty Scholars received nearly $10,000 in grant funding from the Parkinson’s Foundation to launch individual projects to help make life better for people with Parkinson’s.
Diane M. Ellis, MSN, RN, CCRN
Research Scholar, Villanova University
Edmond J. Safra Nurse Faculty Scholar, University of Pennsylvania 2009
Diane’s project will further her prior works on Medication Safety in PD during transitions. She has been conducting research on this topic within nursing student groups, interprofessional groups and will now study hospital care staff nurses. Prior research indicates hospitalized patients with PD often do not receive their medications on time, experience an abrupt stoppage, have medications omitted or inappropriately prescribed such as antidopaminergic medication, with 61 percent of patients suffering poor outcomes. These adverse events during hospitalization contribute to overall decline in patients with PD and even death.
To improve quality and safety among this population, a study focusing on the omission of time sensitive medications will be conducted at two to three large academic healthcare institutions. Pre- and post-test results will be compared before and after an educational intervention among approximately 600 clinical nurses. This study holds great potential for dissemination among clinical nurses for improvement of quality and safety for those living with PD.
Carey Heck, PhD
Director, Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program, Thomas Jefferson University
Edmond J. Safra Nurse Faculty Scholar, Muhammad Ali Parkinson’s Center 2020
Dr. Heck’s project will focus on discussing difficult news in PD. Receiving the initial diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease is a significant life event for many individuals. Studies have demonstrated the positive impacts of skillful provide communication around this event, often termed discussing difficult news or “breaking bad news.” Conversely, negative impacts are experienced by both patient and provider with inept communication. Nurse practitioners (NPs) scope of practice includes the diagnosis and management of acute, chronic, and complex health conditions. Diagnosis and prognosis discussions are often new skill sets for nurses transitioning to an NP role. Current NP curricula offer little formal training on this essential skill. As a result, NP students often feel ill-prepared to discuss new diagnosis with patients causing distress and potentially negatively impacting patient experiences.
The SPIKES protocol is a validated framework for discussing difficult news with patients and families. This project serves as the first of a three-part series consisting of a learning module and simulation session for training NP students. This project offers learners a robust experience in the safety of a simulated environment with faculty support and oversight.
Char Miller, DNP
Edmond J. Safra Nurse Faculty Scholar, University of Toledo 2018
Ju Young Shin, PhD, APRN, ANP-C
Edmond J. Safra Nurse Faculty Scholar, John’s Hopkins 2013
Lori Cooke, DNP, Med, RN-BC
Edmond J. Safra Nurse Faculty Scholar, University of Toledo 2018
Scholar and Host Nurse Publications
Aggarwal, R., Pretzer-Aboff, I., Winfree, K.N., Dhankar, G, Shiva, T., Vashista, V., Behari, M. (2019). Clinical outcomes of step synchronized vibration training in Parkinson’s disease patients with freezing of gait. Annuals of Movement Disorders, 2(1), 15.
Ahn, S., Chen, Y. Bredow, T., Cheung, C. Yu, F. (2017). Effects of non-pharmacological treatments on quality of life in PD: A review. Journal of Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease. 4(1): 10.
Bartzak, P.J. (2016). Orthostatic hypotension as an expression of autonomic dysfunction occurring in the Parkinson’s patient. MEDSURG Matters, 25(6), 1-9.
Beck, C.A., Bera, D.B., Biglan, K.M., Boyd, C.M., Carter, J. Dorsey, ER et al (2017). National randomized controlled trial of virtual house calls for Parkinson’s disease. Neurology, 89(11), 1152-1161.
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