Engage PD

Engage PD

Engage-PD is a physical activity coaching program offered at Columbia University and supported by a community grant by the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. The Engage-PD coaching program provides the opportunity for individuals recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) to have access to expert advice and guidance on engaging in physical activity and exercise programs at Columbia University Parkinson’s Disease Center of Excellence. A physical or occupational therapist is available to provide one-on-one coaching for individuals newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The coaching program involves an initial assessment and coaching session (approximately 60 minutes), up to 5 follow up coaching sessions (approximately 30 minutes each), and a follow up assessment, which can all be completed remotely. The coaching sessions provide individualized, structured support to facilitate and optimize exercise uptake as part of an effective self-management program. The structure of the coaching program is based on previous research in neurodegenerative disease conducted at the Neurorehabilitation Research Lab at Teachers College.


Program Overview

Parkinson's Foundation


Program Faculty and Staff

Lori Quinn, PT, EdD

Dr. Quinn is Associate Professor of Movement Sciences and Kinesiology at Teachers College, Columbia University, and is a physical therapy researcher. Dr. Quinn is the principal investigator of the Engage PD project.


Chelsea E Macpherson, PT, DPT, NCS

Dr. Chelsea Macpherson is a licensed physical therapist and ABPTS board certified neurological clincial specialist. She has extensive experience working with Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders. Chelsea is currently a PhD student in Kinesiology at Teachers College, Columbia University.


Hai-Jung Steffi Shih, PT, PhD

Dr. Shih is a postdoctoral fellow in the neurorehabilitation lab and contributes to Engage-PD. She is a licensed physical therapist and her research focuses on secondary prevention and chronic symptom management, including low back pain and Parkinson’s disease.


Geri Yu, PT, DPT, GCS

Dr. Geraldine (Geri) Yu is a licensed physical therapist and ABPTS board certified orthopedic clinicial specialist. She has extensive experience working with Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders, and has completed multiple continuing education courses in this area including LSVT BIG and Power!Moves.  Geri is currently the assistant supervisor of outpatient physical therapy at Vanderbilt Clinic located on the NYP Columbia campus

Jennifer Reid, PT, DPT, NCS

Jennifer Reid PT, DPT, NCS is an ABPTS board certified Neurologic Clinical Specialist and a certified Vestibular Rehabilitation specialist through Emory University.  Jennifer is owner of Ebb and Flow Physical Therapy, which specializes in the care of the person with neurological diagnoses, a lab assistant/guest lecturer in Columbia University's Doctor of Physical Therapy program and a part-time physical therapist at New York Presbyterian Hospital.


Julie FinemanJulie Fineman, PT, EdD

Dr. Fineman is a licensed physical therapist. She is an assistant professor at Marist College, teaching in the Physical Therapy Program. She is also Masters Coordinator for the Motor Learning Program at Teachers College. Julie has worked extensively with individuals with Parkinson’s disease and is an interventionist involved in the Engage PD study.


Nia Mensah, PT, DPT, PCS

Dr. Nia Mensah is a licensed physical therapist and ABPTS board certified pediatric clinical specialist. She has extensive experience working with children with Cerebral Palsy and individuals with other movement disorders. Nia is currently a Doctoral student in the Motor Learning Program at Teachers College, Columbia University.


Alissa PachecoAlissa Pacheco, M/OT

Ms. Alissa Pacheco is a Licensed and Board Certified Occupational Therapist and is currently a doctoral student in the Motor Learning Program at Teachers College, Columbia. Alissa works with individuals across the life span and has worked in a variety of acute care, inpatient, and outpatient settings, including both Children’s Specialized Hospital and Atlantic Health System in New Jersey. She also enjoys teaching therapeutic yoga to children and adults of all abilities.

Roy Alcalay, MD

Dr. Alcalay is Alfred and Minnie Bressler Associate Professor of Neurology (in the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain).



Hiral Shah, MD

Dr. Shah is Assistant Professor of Neurology at Columbia University Medical Center in the Division of Multispecialty Neurology.




Elizabeth Delaney, LMSW

Ms. Delaney is a Licensed Social Worker and Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence Coordinator at Columbia University Medical Center.



Miriam KingMiriam King, BA

Ms. Miriam King is the study coordinator for Engage-PD and is currently a master’s student in Motor Learning and Control at Teachers College, Columbia University. Miriam joins this project with previous project management and research coordination experience with people with Parkinson’s, and is an affiliated instructor with Dance for PD®.




Research Associate

 Yu Gu, PT, PhD 

 Ms. Yu Go is currently a research associate volunteer at the NRL. She joined  this project with  previous exercises program acceptability and qualitative   research experience.




For more information or to schedule an appointment for the Engage-PD program, please contact Elizabeth Delaney at the Columbia Center of Excellence: ead2179@cumc.columbia.edu, or contact Miriam King at the Neurorehabilitation Research Lab: mk4343@tc.columbia.edu

This program was funded with support from a community grant from the Parkinson's Foundation.


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