Erin Edmundson, DPT of the Huntsville Hospital's Parkinson's Care Clinic provided a guest lecture and mock physical therapy evaluation experience for a class of 40 Samford University Physical Therapy Students in their third year of training on July 11th.
Joining her was fellow PAA Board Member, Teri Henley, a retired professor from the University of Alabama living with PD, who provided the students with an uplifting and empowering story of how to live well with Parkinson's disease. Additionally, Clarissa Sharp MPT, a lifelong dancer and Dance for PD instructor, provided the group with examples of exercise and movement targeted for persons with PD.
Samford University's Doctor of Physical Therapy is a three-year program with a heavy emphasis on the sciences, equipping students with the foundational knowledge needed to make evidence-based clinical decisions for their patients and their families.
"This event allowed us to bring the best movement specialists in the state together for these students to learn hands-on what it is like to provide therapeutic services to Parkinson's patients," said Henley. "When it comes to Parkinson's, education is power. There is no better way for these students to learn than by working directly with the experts and patients so that we have more advocates in the field of movement-based therapies for those of us living with Parkinson's. I am honored to have been a participant and share my story."
This isn't the first time these students have participated in Parkinson's related events. The University's PT Program also sends many students to volunteer at various organizations, such as PD Fight Club and Dance for PD throughout the Birmingham metro area. "Being able to work with those of us facing Parkinson's in hands-on environments as volunteers also allows these students to adapt their physical therapy techniques to focus on Parkinson's specific movement therapies," concluded Henley.