APDA receives the 2018 Outstanding Community Partner Award

The Program in Occupational Therapy selected the Greater St. Louis Chapter of the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) as this year’s recipient of its Outstanding Community Partner Award. The award recognizes organizations that have developed and sustained a collaborative relationship with the Program, and share our vision, values and goals.

The Greater St. Louis Chapter is one of the largest among the APDA chapters in the United States. Their primary function is to serve as a central location where people with PD, care partners, medical professionals, students and other interested individuals can call or write to receive the latest information, including free printed material, medical and support system referrals, quarterly newsletters, exercise classes, support groups, educational programs and much more. They also inform individuals about current studies and research projects related to Parkinson disease in which they might wish to participate. The APDA offers over 70 exercise classes and sees more than 600 individuals and family members each month across Missouri and Southern Illinois.

“Like the Program in Occupational Therapy, the APDA takes a biopsychosocial view of health and well-being. It strives to provide opportunities for meaningful engagement and programs/tools so people with PD can live well with their condition,” says Erin Foster, OTD, MSCI, OTR/L, who nominated the organization. “It is especially good at conveying the benefits of, and providing opportunities for, social participation and physical activity. It works to raise public awareness of PD and build a strong supportive community of people with PD and their families, care partners, medical professionals and students.”

Chartered in 1984, the APDA selected Washington University as its host institution and has been under the medical supervision of Dr. Joel S. Perlmutter, chief of the movement disorders section—adult neurology, for the past 32 years. During that time, the APDA has welcomed OT student involvement including providing them with numerous volunteer opportunities, inviting students to conduct educational programming, allowing students to observe programs, and publishing student articles in their nationally-distributed newsletter. Students in Foster’s laboratory specifically collaborate with the APDA on various research projects. In terms of curricular activities, the APDA is currently working with students on a needs assessment for young-onset PD for a community course.

“We feel so fortunate to have a wonderful partnership with Washington University and have its students and alumni facilitate community PD exercise classes and support groups,” says Deborah Dalin Guyer, MA, executive director of the Greater St. Louis Chapter of the APDA. “It is a joy to help individuals and families navigate the journey and serve as a central resource for people with Parkinson disease, care partners, medical professionals, students and members of the community. Public awareness and educational programs play a vital role in the Chapter’s activities.”

Guyer accepted the award on May 4 during the Program’s 10th annual Occupational Therapy Scholarship Day.

Previous honorees:

2017 - Paraquad

2016 - St. Louis NORC

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