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Parkinson's Wellness Classes

The Emerson Parkinson’s Program is pleased to offer free online wellness classes for patients and caregivers. This program is supported by a community grant from the Parkinson’s Foundation.

All classes will be held virtually, and participants are welcome to register for all three. Each course will be offered five times throughout the next year. However, participants may only take a specific free course once. Please speak with your instructor about paid class options or visit our Steinberg Wellness Center schedule to see when upcoming classes are available.

To register, please fill out the form below the class descriptions. Due to class size limits, you must register separately for each class that you would like to attend.

Introduction to SPEAK OUT! and LOUD Crowd

In this 8-week course, we will meet every Friday morning for 50 minutes. Participants will learn speech therapy methods following the SPEAK OUT! model developed by Parkinson Voice Project. We will practice these methods as a group in a virtual format via Zoom. In addition to drill work, we will also get to know each other and practice speaking with intent in structured conversation. Some meetings will include education about Parkinson's disease-related topics. Participants will be encouraged to speak to their physicians about a referral for individualized speech therapy before, during or after this course.

  • WHEN: 10-10:50 a.m. on Fridays beginning October 15 through December 10. No class on November 26.
  • CLASS SIZE: 6 participants
  • NOTE: Due to licensing requirements, this class is only available to Massachusetts residents.
  • INSTRUCTOR: Joy Walsh has been working with patients with Parkinson's disease for over 20 years. She became certified in Lee Silverman's Voice Treatment (LSVT) in 2004 and was trained in the Parkinson Voice Project's SPEAK OUT! and LOUD Crowd in 2016. She created the first LOUD Crowd in Massachusetts at Emerson hospital in 2017 and has grown Emerson's LOUD Crowd to two thriving groups. LOUD Crowd is partially funded by a grant from the Massachusetts chapter of the American Parkinson's Disease Association, and a second grant from Parkinson Voice Project has provided further training and supplies. In addition to her commitment to helping people with Parkinson's disease restore their voice/speech, she also treats patients with voice and swallowing impairments. Joy is committed to providing quality, innovative health care in a community hospital setting.

Introduction to Dance for PD

The internationally-acclaimed, research-backed Dance for PD program, founded in 2001, offers specialized dance classes to people with Parkinson’s and their caregivers in more than 300 communities around the world. Students experience the joys and benefits of dance while creatively addressing symptom-specific concerns related to balance, cognition, motor skill, depression and physical confidence. The program uses dance to empower students to explore movement and music in ways that are refreshing, enjoyable, stimulating and creative. A recent study in the journal Brain Sciences shows that participation in a weekly Dance for PD class effectively slowed both motor and non-motor Parkinson's symptoms over a period of three years.

Classes are taught by professionally-trained dancers who are movement experts with knowledge about balance, sequencing, rhythm and aesthetic awareness that is useful to people with PD. Movement variety includes modern, ballet, tap, folkloric, traditional social dance, yoga, martial arts, improvisation and choreographic repertory to engage a participant’s mind and body and create an enjoyable, social environment for artistic exploration. Dance for PD has been featured in The New York Times, NPR, USA Today, NBC, and other major networks. Susanne Liebich, a teaching artist and the first certified Dance for PD teacher in Massachusetts, has conducted dance classes for the Steinberg Wellness Center for 10 years. Click here to view a demonstration of the class from the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn.

  • WHEN: 11 a.m. - noon on Tuesdays beginning October 12 through November 30.
  • CLASS SIZE: 20 participants
  • INSTRUCTOR: Susanne Liebich has been a dance and certified movement instructor, a choreographer and a program director for over 30 years. She was one of the first certified Dance for PD instructors in the world, and is on the Emerson Hospital Parkinson’s Disease Committee. For the last 10 years, she has been teaching Parkinson’s Movement. As a senior fitness expert, she has expanded her exercise regime to include movement which enhances and sustains the health of the aging adult. She takes a balanced, holistic approach to exercise, blending traditional, expressive and therapeutic movement to create overall health and wellbeing. In addition to the Steinberg Wellness Center, she works at independent senior, assisted living and memory communities in the greater Boston area. She also has certifications in Stott Pilates, Black Belt Nia, Moving to Heal and Total Barre. Most recently, her classes include instruction in both therapeutic dance and injury prevention for older adults and other special population groups with limited mobility, such as individuals with Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and arthritis.

Circuit Training for People with Parkinson’s

Led by a licensed physical therapist, this circuit class will focus on amplitude-based exercises to address functional skills that are often impacted by Parkinson’s, including posture, flexibility, strength and balance. The class will start in sitting position and progress to various positions incorporating concepts from LSVT Big and PWR! (Parkinson Wellness Recovery), as well as cardiovascular training. Modifications to each movement will be provided to challenge all participates safely. Partners are encouraged to join in the fun.

  • WHEN: 11 a.m. - noon on Fridays beginning October 15 through December 10. No class on November 26.
  • CLASS SIZE: 12 participants
  • INSTRUCTORS: Heather Mistry PT, DPT, is a board certified neurological clinical specialist. Heather completed her Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Northwestern University. She is PWR!Moves and LSVT BIG certified therapist and is Rock Steady Boxing certified. Liz Chausee PT, DPT, completed her Doctorate of Physical Therapy at UMass Lowell. She is an LSVT BIG certified therapist and soon to be PWR!Moves certified.