On Saturday April 13, 2024 we hosted our annual Living Well Parkinson’s Disease Conference at the Hilton Garden Inn Southpointe.  This event is the region’s most comprehensive one-day conference focused on improving the lives of people affected by Parkinson’s Disease. With over 300 in attendance, we were able to share knowledge and resources with new and familiar faces.

Although this event has passed,

you can watch the presentation videos below.

You can watch last years presentations on our YouTube channel.  Check them out here.


8:30am-9:30am – Registration/Breakfast – Continental breakfast available. Resource vendor area open. Attendee arrive!

9:30am-9:40am – Welcome – Christine Haythorn, CEO PFWPA

9:40am-10:20am – PresentationLost in translation: Overcoming communication challenges related to cognition in PD by John Dean, SLP 

10:20am-10:30am – Movement Break – Exercise break led by Renee Robinson

10:30am-11:00am – PresentationCaregiving topic presented by Hope Grows

11:00am-12:00pm – Keynote Presentation – Parkinson’s Play by Matthew Moore and Krista Stauffer with time for Q & A

12:00pm – 1:00pm – Lunch – Break for lunch. Visit resource vendor area.

1:00pm – 2:00pm – Ask the Expert PanelAsk the Expert Panel with all MDS (Dr Leichliter, Dr Oblack, Dr Suski, Dr.Nikita Urval, Kaci Monhart, CRNP, Jessica Kappel, PA-C).

2:00pm-2:40pm – PresentationDance like a butterfly, Punch like a bee: Should boxing and dance be part of my exercise routine? by Josefa Domingos, PT 

2:40pm-3:00pm – Closing Remarks and Evaluations  – Casey Peluso, VP Programs and Outreach

Hilton Garden Inn Southpointe

 1000 Corporate Drive

Canonsburg, PA 15317

Planning on staying in the hotel the night before so you don’t have to drive to the conference early in the morning?

Use our discount code for the Hilton Garden Inn Southpointe here.

Parkinson’s Specialist and Speech Language Pathologist

John M Dean is a speech-language pathologist specializing in Parkinson’s disease and related disorders since 2007. In addition to his clinical work, he has launched networks of interdisciplinary Parkinson’s rehab teams and founded award-winning startups building technologies for people with Parkinson’s. He is a co-author with Josefa on Parkinson’s exercise-related publications, including peer-reviewed papers on boxing. He’s also trained in Power Punch for Parkinson’s (Colorado). John is the chair of the Health Professionals Special Interest Group (HP SIG) of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society (MDS) and co-chairs the Web Editorial Board. He is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Davis Phinney Foundation, in addition to being a founding member of Parkython, a pro bono initiative to highlight interesting startups for Parkinson’s around the world.

Presentation Topic: Lost in translation: Overcoming Communication Challenges Related To Cognition In PD

Certified Fitness Trainer

Trainer for 10 years, whose personal mission is to help people safeguard their health through exercise, healthy eating, stress management and sleep management. Owner of Reset Fitness for six years and instructor of PFWPA Mobility and Balance exercise class at Macedonia FACE-K Leroy Irvis.

Presentation Topic: Leading Interactive Movement Break

Licensed Professional Counselor, Holistic Psychotherapist, Certified Thanatologist, Horticultural Therapy, Founder and Clinical Director of Hope Grows

Lisa Story, a nature enthusiast, is the founder of Hope Grows, a non-profit organization Cultivating Caregiver Wellness. A Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified, Thanatologist, Lisa’s professional experience in grief & bereavement and the connection to the natural world has led her to the path of the non-profit. She also holds Certificates in Addictions Counseling and Horticultural therapy.

Presentation Topic: Stress and Caregiving

Educator, Performance Artist, Playwright, and Parkinson’s Activist

Matthew Moore is the Artistic Director of Lamp and Light Productions and has a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre from George Washington University. He has written several one-person plays that he has performed around the country in addition to acting in many local and regional productions. His favorite roles have been Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, Iago in Othello, and Winston Churchill in the world premiere of “Drums of War.” He was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s in 2019 and wrote a play about Parkinson’s as a way to fight back using the power of the arts. He and Krista have toured the country with the Parkinson’s play and are committed to raising awareness and helping PD patients and care partners communicate more effectively.

Presentation Topic: Performing What I Didn’t Say: A Journey Through Parkinson’s

Academy Director, Boxland Media Studios

Krista Lively Stauffer, a graduate of Otterbein University’s Theatre Department, is a local professional actor on stage and screen.  Some of her favorite stage credits include AVENUE Q (Kate/Lucy), Spring Awakening (Adult Authority Figure), and SHE KILLS MONSTERS (Agnes). She is the Head of the Academy Acting Program at Boxland in Worthington, OH. She is also a TV/Film actor and Casting Director represented by The Talent Group and PCG Talent. By day, she plays the role of Mom to Keys and Gabriel, and the role of Mrs. to Douglas.

Presentation Topic: Performing What I Didn’t Say: A Journey Through Parkinson’s

Board Certified Neurologist, Allegheny Neurological Associates 

Dr. Timothy Leichliter is a board-certified neurologist practicing at Allegheny Neurological Associates.  After receiving his M.D. at Temple University School of Medicine he completed his internship and residency at Allegheny General Hospital.  This was followed by a fellowship in Movement Disorders under the supervision of Dr. Susan Baser.  He currently specializes in treating patients with various movement disorders including essential tremor, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, dystonia, and others.  He is also currently doing clinical research in the areas of Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease.  Other interests include Deep Brain Stimulator treatment for various movement disorders, botulinum toxin injection, as well as other novel treatment strategies for ET, PD, and other movement disorders.

Presentation Topic: Ask the Expert Panel with Movement Disorder Specialists (MDS)

Neurologist, Independent Health System  

Dr. Austin Oblack is a board certified neurologist practicing within Independence Health (formerly Excela Health).  After receiving his D.O. at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), he completed his neurology residency at Allegheny General Hospital.  He then completed a fellowship in Movement Disorders under the guidance of Dr. Shilpa Chitnis and Dr. Elan Louis.  Dr. Oblack specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders such as essential tremor, dystonia and Huntington’s disease among others.  He also has expertise in the selection and treatment with advanced therapeutic options such as Deep Brain Stimulation and High Frequency Ultrasound as well as the utilization of botulinum toxin injections for dystonias as well as spasms and spasticity.

Presentation Topic: Ask the Expert Panel with Movement Disorder Specialists (MDS)

Chief Movement Disorders Division, UPMC, Co-Director, Movement Disorders Fellowship, Director, UPMC, Huntington’s Disease Society of America

Valerie Suski, DO, is a neurologist certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. She is director of the UPMC Huntington’s Disease (HDSA) Center of Excellence, co-director of the Movement Disorders Fellowship, clinical director for the Movement Division, and an associate professor of Neurology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She received her medical degree from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed her residency at Virginia Commonwealth University, followed by her fellowship at Duke University.
Dr. Suski’s clinical and research interests include movement disorders and their symptomatic management and neuroprotection in phase II and III trials. She has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals and is a member of the Movement Disorders Society, the American Academy of Neurology, and the American Osteopathic Association.

Presentation Topic: Ask the Expert Panel with Movement Disorder Specialists (MDS)

Nikita Urval, MD
Board certified neurologist, Butler Memorial Hospital

Dr.Nikita Urval is a board-certified neurologist practicing at Butler Memorial Hospital. She received her MD at West Virginia School of Medicine then completed her neurology residency and her Movement Disorders Fellowship at Mount Sinai Beth Israel: Icahn School of Medicine in New York, NY.

Presentation Topic: Ask the Expert Panel with Movement Disorder Specialists (MDS)

Neurology, Allegheny Neurological Associates

Kaci Monhart is a board-certified Nurse practitioner who is currently employed at Allegheny Neurological Associates with AHN.  After receiving her BSN from Duquesne University, she worked in critical care primarily in the Medical ICU at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital prior to perusing an advanced degree in Family Practice once again at Duquesne University. During this time, she was a clinical faculty member for the University teaching both undergraduate and second-degree students while working part-time in the various ICUs within the UPMC health system. She is currently working under the supervision of Dr. Timothy Leichliter, a movement disorder specialist within the practice. She specializes in the management of various movement disorders including Parkinson’s Disease, Essential tremor, Huntington’s disease, dystonia and other disorders. She is trained to perform Deep Brain Stimulator adjustments for the diagnoses including PD and ET, Botox injections, and other treatment strategies for movement disorders.

Presentation Topic: Ask the Expert Panel with Movement Disorder Specialists (MDS)

Movement Disorders Neurology, UPMC

Jessica Kappel, PA-C, specializes in movement disorders neurology and is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. She practices at University of Pittsburgh Physicians, Department of Neurology and is affiliated with UPMC Presbyterian. She completed her master of science at Chatham University PA Program.

Presentation Topic: Ask the Expert Panel with Movement Disorder Specialists (MDS)

Parkinson & Movement Disorders Physiotherapist Specialist, Parkinson Researcher

Josefa Domingos is a Physiotherapist specializing in Parkinson’s with almost 20 years of working exclusively with people with Parkinson’s & other movement disorders. She is an educator, clinician, and researcher. Josefa’s career has focused on creating and implementing specialized care for people living with Parkinson’s, including boxing programs for Parkinson’s. Based on her PhD research, she has published several papers, including the boxing programs she implemented. She is also trained in Boxercise (UK). Josefa is the National Health Coordinator at the Portuguese Parkinson Patient Association (APDPk) and co-founder of Young Parkies Portugal (YPP). She currently holds several international positions, including being the president of Parkinson’s Europe, a member of the scientific committee for the Davis Phinney Foundation, and a member of the Wellness Group for the Movement Disorder Society (MDS).

Presentation Topic: Dance Like a Butterfly, Punch Like A Bee: Should Boxing And Dance Be Part Of My Exercise Routine?