Assistant Professor & Coordinator of the Pre-Professional Phase Academic Curriculum

A hallmark of effective healthcare is understanding and being empathetic to the patient experience. With the global number of people living with Parkinson’s disease (PD) expected to reach nearly 13 million by 2040, teaching practitioners in every discipline about the disease as students will prove an effective preparation for the next generation.

Leading this charge at Daemen is Dr. Lisa Inglis, who teaches courses on neuromuscular practice to physical therapy students in the second year of their professional phase.

Dr. Inglis, who joined the university in 2016, has led several research projects in her time with students at Daemen. Her graduates have gone on to specialize in PD, get advanced certifications after graduation, and become leaders in the field as a result of her mentorship.

In addition to her work at Daemen, Dr. Inglis has received certifications and continues to partner with organizations in the fight against PD, such as Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT Big”‘), Parkinson Wellness Recovery! Moves (PWR!Moves™), and The Parkinson’s Foundation.

Q: What began your interest in the area of Parkinson’s Research?

Parkinson’s disease was the focus of my research project when completing a transitional doctorate before I came to Buffalo. I kinda fell into it, as it was the predominant neuro population of the region where I was living at the time.

Seeing that there was potential for maintenance – to prevent loss of function – really inspired me. From there, I started going to get more certifications in LSVT BigTM, PWR!MovesTM, and lots of different programs that have really changed the ways that I can practice and help people.

Q: Many think of treatment as medicinal or surgical interventions. What is Physical Therapy’s role in treating PD?

This is one place where we really are learning that exercise is medicine. For sure, we know that our patients with Parkinson’s stay healthier longer, are able to move longer and better if they remain more active.

There are strong clinical practice guidelines out there, which came out in 2022, that guide clinicians to try to standardize care. We’re working to ensure that PT is accessible to all patients with PD.

Q: How has working with patients affected by PD changed the way you work with patients overall?

In neuro rehab, we’re often dealing with someone who has had a stroke or a brain injury – an acute event – and trying to get them back to where they were, or as close to that as possible.

With PD, we start out with someone who looks fairly healthy and we’re trying to maintain and keep that for as long as we can. As a neuro therapist, I enjoy getting to sit on the side of preventative medicine where we don’t always get to visit.

My take away from it is not being afraid to drive intensity, to push patients, and to see how much they can actually do.

Q: What role does this play for you in the classroom?

I want my students to have a good experience, but I also try to look at how can I make this research of value to the participants who are coming in.

It’s an efficient way to tick a lot of boxes – trying to get scholarship, trying to teach, and trying to help clinical populations at the same time.