Dr. Ramon Quesada, nutrition and exercise specialist at Kaiser-Permanente, Redwood City

Dr. Ramon Quesada, nutrition and exercise specialist at Kaiser-Permanente, Redwood City

April 16, 2014 | by Darcy Blake | Dr. Becky Farley, the popular neuro rehabilitation specialist and physiologist, will speak on the benefits of exercise and Parkinson’s Disease on Friday, April 25, at the Veterans Memorial Senior Center, Redwood Room, 1455 Madison Ave., Redwood City, from 1-3pm. Dr. Farley is the founder of Arizona-based Parkinson Wellness Recovery (PWR!). She developed the LSVT BIG program, a physical therapy program designed for those with PD. Her talk will address the basic science as she advocates for exercise as a first line of defense in PD.

Parkinson’s Women Support chatted with Dr. Quesada, physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at Kaiser hospital in Redwood City, who told his story about the evolution of his involvement in exercise as it relates to Parkinson’s Disease. Dr. Quesada and John Berdoulay, physical therapist at Kaiser, are two of the organizers of Dr. Farley’s talk which is hosted by Stanford APDA in cooperation with Parkinson’s Patients Support Groups (PPSG) and Kaiser Permanente/Redwood City.

Exercise as Neuro-Protective for People with PD
In 2008, Quesada attended a national conference that summarized the studies supporting how exercise maybe neuro-protective for people with PD. Dr.Quesada said, “After the conference, I reviewed the research articles that Dr. Farley had described and my review further fueled my interest. Over the next few years, Kaiser’s functional neurosurgeon Gary Heit (who started the DBS program at Kaiser-Redwood City), referred Kaiser members to me for consultation during their DBS pre-op visits. I learned most of these members had never seen a physical therapist for PD. Many hadn’t heard that exercise was good for them, and they did not know what exercises to do and where to go if they needed help establishing an exercise program. I realized that we had a gap in the services we provided for our members. “

Quesada and Berdoulay formed a committee of Kaiser physical therapists to rectify this gap. “In 2009, we attended the National Parkinson Foundation Allied Team Training for Parkinson (ATTP) conference for 4 days at the Parkinson’s Institute. We also learned Dr. Farley was starting her own non-profit organization, PWR! She wanted to spread the message of how exercise promotes brain health and repair as shown by basic science research.”

A Start at the Veteran’s Memorial Senior Center
When Berdoulay returned from taking Farley’s course for physical therapists and saw that there was a lack of PD exercise programs in the Bay Area, he established his own PWR! Moves weekly exercise class at the Veteran’s Memorial Senior Center in Redwood City. His class is still going strong and has had many devoted attendees for two years, but he realizes that his once a week class is not enough. John’s goal is to help grow a Bay Area network of exercise providers, both therapist and fitness instructors, to provide daily opportunities for PD specific exercise.

“The Kaiser committee had initially explored the idea of formulating our own education program, but we decided it would be best to partner with PWR! We are aligned with Dr. Farley’s vision and, we knew it would be difficult to match her 30 years of experience in Parkinson’s disease rehabilitation. She is also an excellent teacher. Only a handful of teachers are inspiring, and she has that special charisma,” said Quesada. He added, “We have wanted her to come to the Bay Area for quite some time, but it took three years for us to get this event organized and funded.”

A Community Brain Health and Wellness Program in the Future
“Looking towards the future, we think that this model of exercise can transfer to other neurological diseases, including stroke and traumatic brain injury. We expect that the PWR! concept will grow to be a huge community brain health and wellness program where health care organizations will have a proactive role helping their members with neurological conditions stay physically active. PWR! brings both health care organizations and community fitness programs together.”

“We hope Dr. Farley will spark collaboration between health care organizations and local communities, so that we will bring to reality the vision of Dr. Farley: Bay Area communities where all individuals with Parkinson disease receive research-based exercise programming beginning with diagnosis and throughout their lives. Through this partnership, longevity and quality of life can be increased so that end stage Parkinson disease is eradicated!”

 A Ground-breaking Talk on April 25
To attend this ground-breaking talk for the public, RSVP Stanford APDA by April 22nd (or earlier) to ensure a seat as space is limited. RSVP via email Apr25_swrussell@stanford.edu or phone 650-724-6090. When you RSVP, give your name, email address (preferable), phone number, number of people in your party, and the first names of your guests. This two-hour talk is free.

About Parkinson’s Women Support
The  mission of Parkinson’s Women Support is to offer moral support, encouragement and camaraderie for women who are either Parkinson’s Disease patients or caregivers. Check out our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/parkinsonswomen

Other blogs about PWR!
• PRW! inthe Forefront for PD Exercise:
• Five Days at PRW! Gym Tucson:
Trailblazers Test the PWR! Retreat:
Walking is a Miracle:
Growing Strong in 2011:


2 thoughts on “Goal Accomplished: Bring PWR! to Bay Area PD Patients

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    You actually know how to bring a problem to light and make it important.
    A lot more people must read this and understand this side of your story.

    I can’t believe you aren’t more popular
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