PT on leading edge of Parkinson’s care
By Alex Branch
A UNT Health Science Center professor is preparing physical students to provide innovative care that can improve the quality of life for the nearly 1 million Americans expected to have Parkinson’s disease by 2020.
Howe Liu, PT, PhD, Professor of Physical Therapy, participated in the Parkinson’s Foundation Physical Therapy Faculty Program. It brings together educators to immerse themselves in the latest evidence-based findings in Parkinson’s research and care.
Only 12 physical therapy faculty members were accepted this year into the competitive program, which is designed to “train the trainer” so participants can teach their students the latest innovative care.
“The program provided new information and strategies on how physical therapists can collaborate with other health professionals to improve the quality of care for these patients,” Dr. Liu said. “People with Parkinson’s can benefit a great deal from physical therapy.”
Dr. Liu attended training in August at the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Ore. Although the primary purpose is to share the information with students, Dr. Liu also will incorporate it into his clinical work and community service for people with diagnosis of Parkinson’s-like diseases in senior living communities.
Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation.
“Parkinson’s is a challenging, progressive disease that gets worse with time,” Dr. Liu said. “We want our students to be well-prepared to work in teams to make a difference in these people’s lives.”