Tampa gets grant for Parkinson wellness program


The Jewish Community Center of Tampa and University of South Florida Health have won a competitive, $150,000 joint grant to establish a Parkinson’s Disease wellness program.


The National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) of Miami chose the Tampa application in a national competition, funding the effort with a three-year, $75,000 grant to the Jewish Community Center (JCC) and a similar $75,000 grant to USF.


The JCC-wellness concept was piloted successfully in New York City. NPF is extending it to Tampa, Boston and Washington. The programs emphasize wellness for Parkinson’s patients through physical exercise, education and social interaction. The programs offer what NPF describes as low-cost services and will be open to anyone with PD.


The JCC’s partner is USF Health’s Byrd Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center. According to NPF, the programs will deliver services to “help people living with Parkinson’s stay active, connected and empowered.”


Recent research has demonstrated that regular exercise is a key factor in PD patients’ retaining a sense of well-being and continued involvement in normal daily activities.


The Tampa center will offer three Parkinson’s-specific fitness classes per week, a weekly care partner support group and seasonal educational events. The program will be located at the Jewish Community Center in the Citrus Park area at 13009 Community Campus Dr.


For more information contact Jen Goldberg at 813-264-9000 or jennifer.goldberg@jewishtampa.com. She said the program will begin in January


“We are excited by this opportunity to bring needed services to the Parkinson’s community and to partner with USF and its nationally recognized mobility center,” said Goldberg, the JCC’s executive director of education and special projects.


According to Robert Hauser, MD, Director of the USF Health Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center, “…research has demonstrated that regular exercise improves quality of life and may slow progression of disease.”



NPF recognizes the Byrd Center as a National Center of Excellence, a prerequisite for a city to gain a JCC Parkinson program.


The program is open to the full community – no matter a participant’s medical or religious affiliation, PDF says, adding: “Classes are offered at low-cost, and JCC membership is not required to participate in the program.” Charges have not yet been set, Goldberg said.


The program is funded through the support of The Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation. “This program is on the cutting edge of the international movement towards greater collaboration between patients, providers and community organizations,” said Amy Lemen, managing director of the Edmond J. Safra National Parkinson’s Wellness Initiative.



The nationally recognized, three-year-old Parkinson Place in Sarasota already serves the South Tampa Bay area. It is funded by the Sarasota-based Parkinson Research Foundation The 11,000 square foot facility is open five days a week, offering a broad range of educational, exercise and social services at no charge.


The new JCC-USF program will bring less frequent patient support services to the North Bay area. Both are connected to USF Health through faculty members who practice at both institutions.


Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects nearly one million people in the U.S. Although promising research is being conducted, there is currently no cure for PD.








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