Rock Steady Boxing (RSB) is thriving nationwide. Except in Tampa.
This proven, highly effective exercise program for People With Parkinson’s (Parkies, in my vernacular) is short of enrollees in Tampa. The monthly average is 10. The same class in nearby St. Petersburg (Pinellas County, to be exact) averages 34 boxers.
Program director Jordan Brannon can’t explain the difference. “Same metro area. Same people. I am puzzled.”
She told Tampa boxers their program will end December 31 unless 20 steadfast participants are aboard. That’s her breakeven financial number. She is redoubling her recruitment efforts in Tampa.
I am in the Tampa program. See below for the letter I wrote Oct. 18 to University of South Florida Health (Neurology). USF Neurology responded Oct. 24 (below).
The Rock Steady difficulties are the second setback for PD patient-care initiatives in Tampa Bay.
USF Health (Neurology) was chosen as one of nine national 2016-17 test sites for the PD SELF information-and-action training program for Parkies. Seven of the nine sites were renewed for 2017-18. Tampa was not. (I was a “co-facilitator” of the Tampa program for part of its run.)
Diane Cook, PD SELF program director, has written that results of the 2016-17 rollout “were very positive and showed significant improvement in self-efficacy leading to improved anxiety, depression, stress and perceived support.”
University of South Florida Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center is a Parkinson’s Foundation National Center of Excellence.
My letter to Dr. Clifton Gooch, Neurology Director at USF Health follows:
Dear Dr. Gooch,
I write representing the urgent concerns of the 10 regular adherents of Rock Steady Boxing/Tampa.
We need the help of your physicians and staff to ensure the future of the Tampa RSB program. Program Director Jordan Brannon (a USF grad) told us Monday that the program is financially not viable. Unless there are 20 active participants by year’s end, the program will close.
Brannon said she will redouble her recruitment efforts.
Evidence is overwhelming and unassailable of RSB’s restorative power for PWP. RSB is expanding rapidly nationwide and worldwide. We will be an outlier should we lose the Tampa program.
USF Neurology, through the Parkinson’s Foundation (Miami office), has financially supported Brannon in creating and expanding her Largo and Tampa RSB programs.
We request USF neurologists redouble their efforts to bring RSB to patients’ attention. A physician’s push is vital in motivating PWP to commit to a rigorous and regular exercise program.
The Byrd Center is justly proud of its sponsorship of the growing Jewish Community Center programing for PWP.
We in RSB/Tampa request equal footing.
Gil Thelen (on behalf of RSB/Tampa adherents)
Dr. Gooch replied Oct. 24 as follows: