Dr. Dawn Saracino, physical therapy associate instructor in the Department of Clinical and Applied Movement Sciences in the University of North Florida’s Brooks College of Health, was recently accepted into the distinguished Parkinson’s Foundation Physical Therapy Faculty Program.
The intensive course is open to only 12 select physical therapy faculty per year, which allows educators to fully immerse themselves in the latest Parkinson’s research and care. Saracino, an Atlantic Beach resident and senior physical therapist at Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital, will attend the program at Oregon Health and Sciences University later this month.
“We’re so proud that Dr. Saracino has been chosen to participate in this prestigious program,” said Dr. Beven Livingston, UNF physical therapy program director. “Dawn will bring the most current evidence-based rehabilitation research on Parkinson’s back home to UNF. This is a wonderful opportunity for our program and one of our most qualified and passionate educators.”
Saracino was invited to apply to the program due to her past training and participation with the Parkinson’s Foundation. She’s participated in several local roundtable events, including one with Mayo Clinic, discussing evidence for the effects of exercise on Parkinson’s patients and their caregivers. She has contributed to several scholarly research activities, including studying gait and balance in the neurological and older-adult populations.
The competitive train-the-trainer program teaches faculty leaders across the U.S. so they can, in turn, educate physical therapy students with the latest cutting-edge research. Saracino, a longstanding UNF physical therapy faculty member, has taught several graduate-level courses on campus in neurology, spinal cord injury/prosthetics and therapeutic medicine. In addition to being licensed as a physical therapist, she’s also certified as a neurological specialist.
Saracino is currently helping to organize and serving on the committee for two Parkinson’s Foundation events that will happen this fall at UNF. An interactive patient education program “Managing Parkinson’s Through Rehabilitative Therapies” will take place Saturday, Sept. 15, at UNF’s Student Union; registration and information for this free event is available via the website. This event will precede a Moving Day Jacksonville fundraising walk event, Saturday, Nov. 10, at UNF’s Coxwell Amphitheater; find Moving Day information here.
Saracino is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Physical Therapy Association, Florida Physical Therapy Association, International Society of Gait and the Posture Research, Neurology Section of APTA. She earned her transitional doctoral degree in physical therapy from Shenandoah University, a Master’s of Health Science from University of Florida and a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy from State University of New York.
The Parkinson’s Foundation makes life better for people with Parkinson’s disease by improving care and advancing research toward a cure. The foundation builds on the energy, experience and passion of the global Parkinson’s community. Affecting nearly 1 million Americans and 10 million worldwide, Parkinson’s disease is the second-most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s and is the 14th-leading cause of death in the United States.