USA Professor Chosen for Prestigious Parkinson’s Faculty Program


Posted on July 27, 2018
Joy Washington


Dr. Blair Saale, assistant professor and assistant director of clinical education, was one of only six physical therapy faculty from around the country chosen for the Parkinson’s Foundation Physical Therapy Faculty Program. data-lightbox='featured'
Dr. Blair Saale, assistant professor and assistant director of clinical education, was one of only six physical therapy faculty from around the country chosen for the Parkinson’s Foundation Physical Therapy Faculty Program.

More than one million Americans have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but research has shown vigorous exercise can improve function and quality of life in individuals with Parkinson’s.

Dr. Blair Saale, assistant professor and assistant director of clinical education in the department of physical therapy in the Pat Capps Covey College of Allied Health Professions at the University of South Alabama, recently participated in a distinguished Parkinson’s Foundation Physical Therapy Faculty Program.

Saale was one of only six physical therapy faculty from around the country chosen for the specialized, four-day “train the trainer” program held at Boston University. The highly competitive program included expert physical therapists, movement disorder specialists, neurologists, surgeons, nurses and speech language pathologists.

“This was a wonderful opportunity for me to learn the most up-to-date, evidence-based practices in caring for patients with Parkinson’s disease and to engage with experts in the field,” Saale said. “They provided a number of patient demonstrations from the physical therapy perspective. We covered everything from signs and symptoms, pharmacology and medicine management to evidence-based examination and interventions. I feel fortunate to have been selected to participate.”

Also fortunate will be the USA students in Saale’s classes. The program also helped faculty create curricula that will better prepare physical therapy graduate students to care for individuals living with Parkinson’s. According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, the number of people living with Parkinson’s globally is expected to double by 2040 to nearly 13 million.

“My role now is to share what I have learned with students and colleagues to prepare the next generation of physical therapists to better care for those individuals living with Parkinson’s,” Saale said. “We also learned the evidence basis for the optimal exercise to benefit Parkinson’s patients. As a practicing physical therapist, I have seen the results in my patients. We will be using a multidisciplinary care model, which includes working with a variety of medical professionals in optimal management of Parkinson’s disease. I look forward to opportunities to collaborate with the other health care professionals in Mobile to improve rehabilitation management in this patient population.”


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