Gannon University Participates in 8th Annual Purposeful Movement and Wellness Program
Posted: April 5, 2017
Gannon University occupational therapy students and staff are
collaborating with community partners to offer the spring session
of the eighth annual Purposeful Movement and Wellness Program.
The program allows graduate-level students the opportunity to
connect classroom theory with real-life experience by actively
engaging and interacting with people with Parkinson's disease.
The program, which started in 2009, engages participants in
wellness and exercise activities tailored to people with
Parkinson's disease. Participants attend sessions consisting of
general exercises and education that will address posture and
breathing, increased range of motion, flexibility and strength,
balance retraining and strategies for achieving greater
independence with community mobility and daily living skills.
The program is offered during the fall and spring academic
semesters at the Salvation Army Senior Center, 1022 Liberty St. and
over the summer on Gannon's campus and is a collaborative effort
with Parkinson Partners of Northwestern Pennsylvania, Hamot Health
Foundation and the Salvation Army Senior Center. The program was
presented at the 2016 World Parkinson Congress in Portland, OR.
Graduate occupational therapy students provide direct, hands-on
assistance and develop mutually beneficial, therapeutic
relationships with the participants. Together, they work as a team
to support the participants' wellness goals.
Chelsea Cox has participated in the program for two years, most
recently as a graduate assistant. In that role, she prepared
warm-up or cool-down activities and obstacle courses or relay
races, and also created exercises for the participants. "The part I
found most meaningful was teaching the participants how to line
dance," said Cox, who has danced since she was three years old.
"To incorporate dance into my major was special and meaningful
to me. Dance helps to make improvements in balance, cognition and
memory, and both the men and women enjoyed this. It was fulfilling
to see the participants being able to laugh and have fun for an
hour and a half each week. Not only are we helping them physically,
but the psychosocial component is equally as important."
The Purposeful Movement and Wellness Program is one of the
many outreach initiatives that the Gannon community is part of and
relates back to one of the strategic goals of the University -
engaging in the community.
David LeVan, DHSc, program director of the occupational therapy
program, said of the Wellness Program, "Together with community
partners, Gannon is providing an invaluable resource to people with
Parkinson's disease and an opportunity for students to actively
learn knowledge and skills need for success as future healthcare
Potential participants can apply online at
www.parkinsonpartners.org or contact Lynne Gotham, coordinator of
Parkinson Partners of Northwestern Pennsylvania here or