Dan Riley – A Personal Perspective from a Person with Parkinson’s Disease

Dan is a SUNY Brockport graduate, with dual degrees in Economics and History.  He also has a C.P.M.degree from the National Association of Purchasing Management.

He has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease for 17 years and an active volunteer and member of the local support group for the past 6 years.  Currently retired, Dan enjoys golf, fishing, chess and his seven grandchildren.

Dr. Fahed Saada – Sleep in Parkinson’s Disease

Dr. Fahed Saada joined St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, New York. As a neurohospitalist, Dr. Saada cares for hospitalized patients, with or at risk for neurological disorders and disease. He also works as a general neurologist in the Camillus area.

Dr. Saada earned his Doctor of Medicine from St. Matthew’s University School of Medicine. Following his graduation from medical school, Dr. Saada completed his internal medicine internship at Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio; a residency in neurology at University of Florida College of Medicine in Jacksonville, Florida; and a clinical neurophysiology fellowship at University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York.

In 2015 Dr. Saada was recognized by the University of Florida with The Louis S. Russo Award for Outstanding Professionalism in Medicine. This honor is presented annually to one resident displaying the highest standards of medical professionalism, substantiated by a commitment to personal behavior that reflects the core values of the consummate physician. As a neurology fellow at University of Rochester, Dr. Saada received the Neurology Fellow Teaching Award in 2016, bestowed by neurology residents in recognition of an exceptional instructor who has made extraordinary contributions to resident teaching.

Dr. Saada is now the section chief of neurology and the stroke program director at St. Joseph’s hospital.

Dr. Saada is a member of the American Academy of Neurology. Dr. Saada is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

Julie Lombardi PT, DPT, NCS and Liz Horton PT, DPT – Freezing of Gait

Dr. Julie Lombardi is a Board Certified Neurologic Clinical Specialist in physical therapy with a passion for working with people with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) as well as those with vestibular impairments. She has dedicated most of her post graduate education to learning about both of these topics to provide the most effective treatments for people with PD and or dizziness. In 2006 as a physical therapy student at Upstate Medical University she started “Smooth Moves,” a dance program for people with PD, and has since gone on to obtain certifications in RockSteady Boxing (RSB) and PD specific therapies including LSVT BIG and PWR!Moves in order to continue to provide the PD community with the most effective treatment options.

She has had the pleasure of coaching with RSB Syracuse and has continued her relationship with this organization by serving as a board member for Empower Parkinson Inc. She has also been an active educator of the local PD community with speaking at several support groups, the “Living an Active Life with PD” annual conferences, and on Upstate’s HealthLink podcast.

Liz’s professional experience as a neurologic physical therapist has been in both inpatient, home care, and outpatient rehabilitation settings in Syracuse NY, Washington, DC and Rockville, MD.​ ​During these experiences she developed a passion for working with those with PD. She truly believes in the benefits for comprehensive education and exercise for those with PD to regain quality of life.  She has received specialist certification in neurology.  She is certified in LSVT Big, Big for Life, and PWR! Movement therapies for Parkinson.  She has specialized training in vestibular conditions.  She also has completed her 200-hour yoga certification.  Liz focuses on rehabilitation of individuals with a variety of neurological diagnoses and problems with balance and dizziness.  She participates in teaching several courses as an adjunct faculty member in the physical therapy program at SUNY Upstate. She is also a co-investigator in a clinical trial at SUNY Upstate studying the benefits of a community exercise group in those with Parkinson’s Disease.  She is on several national committees and was named volunteer of the year in 2021 for the Degenerative Disease special interest group.

In Liz’s free time, she enjoys spending time with her two children, husband, and pug.  Liz loves gardening, painting, yoga, and baking with her kids.

Becky Auyer PT, CMC, CDP – The Reality of Caregiving: Taking care of yourself while taking care of others

Becky is a Licensed Physical Therapist and an Advanced Professional with the Aging Life Care Association. She holds a Care Manager Certification through the Academy of Certified Care Managers and is a Certified Dementia Practitioner. With over 40 years of Home Care and Geriatric specialization, she is knowledgeable of the challenges facing the aging population and passionate about assisting them to “Age Well.” She has developed close affiliations with numerous home health agencies, businesses, vendors, and service providers and makes sure that she recommends the very best for her clients.

Her personal journey involved the care and medical advocacy for her mother who handled 25 years of Parkinson’s Disease with grace and determination.  She was the inspiration for Inspire Care in 2011. Becky believes that you become “Family” when you enlist the compassionate services provided by the Inspire Care Team.

Becky has a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy from Ithaca College. She is a 2019 Excellence in Healthcare Award honoree in the category of “Impact Player” among Central New York healthcare professionals. In 2020, Inspire Care was recognized as a COVID-19 Resilient Response Honoree by CenterState CEO, as a company that continued to provide client services during a worldwide pandemic. Becky has made a number of community presentations on Aging Well. She currently serves on the Professional Advisory Committee for Hospice of Central New York and the Finger Lakes.

Chaya Lee Charles MS, RDN, CSG, CDN – Food as Medicine in Parkinson’s

Chaya Lee Charles is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with over ten years of experience working with the aging population in Central New York.  She is a Board-Certified Specialist in Gerontological Nutrition with a passion for using food as medicine.

Patrick VanBeveren, DPT, MA and Marlene Reinmann – Empower Parkinson’s Inc: The Past, The Present and the Future

Patrick VanBeveren DPT, MA is a nationally recognized physical therapist with over 49 years of experience.  He has been a co-investigator on research papers and co-authored a book chapter on Exercise Prescription for Older Adults.  He is a certified Rock Steady Boxing coach and founder of RSB Syracuse.  He is also the founder of Empower Parkinson, Inc. and serves as the Executive Director of the not-for-profit.  He is a certified Tai Chi instructor.  As well as performing administrative duties for Empower he instructs classes on a daily basis.  He is a former President of the New York Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association and has served on numerous national professional committees.

Marlene Reinmann has volunteered with The Parkinson Education and Support Program of CNY and has Chaired this wonderful Conference for the last 9 years.  She’s a graduate of SUNY Cortland and has spent her 20-plus- year career working with seniors in the CNY community.

Dr. Tinatin Chabrashvili – Professor of Neurology at SUNY Upstate Medical University Department of Neurology

Dr. Tinatin Chabrashvili was recently appointed Professor of Neurology at SUNY Upstate Medical University Department of Neurology. In addition to teaching responsibilities, Dr. Chabrashvili will be involved in research in the Neuroscience Program and serving patients in the Movement Disorders Clinic. Her specialties and certifications are in neurology, behavioral neurology, and movement disorders neurology. Dr. Chabrashvili comes to Upstate from Tufts Medical Center/Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. She is a graduate of Tbilisi State Medical School in the Georgia, Russia and earned her PhD at the Institute of Neurology at the Russian Academy of Medical Science focusing on Parkinson’s Disease and Huntington’s Chorea. Subsequently, she completed the Fellowships in movement disorders at the Institute of Neurology at the Russian Academy of Medical Science and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke at the National Institute of Health, Bethesda, MD. Her research focus is on the characterization of novel mechanisms for death of dopaminergic neurons in a mouse model for Parkinson’s disease and novel biomarker initiative in patients with Parkinson’s disease. In 2008, she completed the Residency at Emory University School of Medicine. Her work has been recognized with several honors and awards: Gold Medal for Excellence – Education Ministry of Georgia (Russia), Fogarty International Fellowship – National Institute of Health, Bethesda, MD 6th Annual Astra Zeneca Young Cardiovascular Investigator Meeting – Montreal, Sellie Mae Young Investigator Award – National Kidney Foundation. The Parkinson’s community looks forward to the expertise and support Dr. Chabrashvili will bring to the CNY Parkinson’s community.

Dr. Ray Dorsey Professor of Neurology and Director of the Center for Health & Technology at the University of Rochester.

Dr. Ray Dorsey is the David M. Levy Professor of Neurology and Director of the Center for Health + Technology at the University of Rochester. The Center seeks to provide care and research opportunities to anyone anywhere. Ray and his colleagues have written Ending Parkinson’s Disease, a book that provides a prescription for ending this debilitating condition.

Ray previously directed the movement disorders division and neurology telemedicine at Johns Hopkins and worked as a consultant for McKinsey & Company. His research has been published in leading medical, neurology, and economic journals and has been featured on National Public Radio, in The New York Times, and in The Wall Street Journal. In 2015, the White House recognized him as a “Champion for Change” for Parkinson’s disease.

Jill Weldum, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Jill Weldum, LMFT, has volunteered with empower Parkinson for two years in the gym providing encouragement. She also facilitates support group meetings for boxers and care partners and occasionally teaches Tai Chi. She feels blessed to be part of the community!

Chaya Lee Charles Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Chaya Lee Charles is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with over ten years of experience working with the aging population in Central New York. She is a Board-Certified Specialist in Gerontological Nutrition with a passion for using food as medicine.