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Speaker Series

Upcoming Speakers

Physicians, fitness experts, wellness coaches and more, if it’s a topic that will enhance the lives of those living with YOPD, we want to share it. This list updates regularly so please check back often to see who’s up next in our Speaker Series.

    • 06/11/2024
    • 7:00 PM
    • Virtual Event

    Speaker Series - Preventing Freezing of Gait using Wearable Robotics in Parkinson's Disease

    June 11, 2024 7:00 PM EDT

    We are honored to have three esteemed researchers presenting on Gait dysfunction. 

    • Understand how Freezing of Gait impacts movement and walking in PD
    • Explore the potential of next-generation wearable robotics to improve Freezing of Gait in people with PD. 
    • Learn about ways to help us develop impactful solutions aimed at preventing Freezing of Gait using wearable robotics

    About the Presenters

    Franchino Porciuncula, PT, DScPT, EdD is a Research Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy at Boston University.  Trained as a physical therapist and as a rehabilitation scientist, Dr. Porciuncula’s research focuses  on developing rehabilitation/exercise interventions by targeting biomechanical, cognitive, and behavioral processes of gait dysfunction. His research includes the development of wearable technologies through robotics and digital health solutions to promote sustainable and impactful outcomes in Parkinson’s disease (PD), stroke, and other movement disorders. 

    Nicholas Wendel, PT, DPT, NCS: Nick is a physical therapist at the Center for Neurorehabilitation where he provides patient care and participates in research and education activities with persons with Parkinson disease and related movement disorders. Prior to joining the Center for Neurorehabilitation, he was a senior physical therapist at Newton-Wellesley Hospital where he provided physical therapy to patients with various neurologic conditions including Parkinson Disease, stroke, concussion, multiple sclerosis and individuals with balance dysfunction. 

    Christina Lee, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral fellow in bioengineering at the Harvard Biodesign Lab. She received her Ph.D. in 2023 from The University of Michigan and her B.S. and M.S. in 2018 from Northwestern University, in biomedical engineering. Her research interests lie in understanding how individuals with neuromuscular impairment interact with assistive devices through the investigation of fundamental biomechanics and performance-related measures during device use in the lab and in the community.

    • 07/16/2024
    • 7:00 PM
    • Virtual Event

    Speaker Series - Adventures with YOPD

    July 16, 2024 7:00 PM EDT


    Kat and Ken Hill will join us to talk about their two year adventure living in a 22-foot trailer while traveling around the USA. They will share about the lessons learned and challenges encountered along the way.

    ·      Benefits of living with less stuff while managing PD

    ·      The energy it takes to travel.

    ·      Living in the moment with progressing disease and age.

    Kat Hill is based in the Pacific Northwest, US. She believes that we can choose joy in our lives no matter what we are faced with. Movement, mindfulness and gratitude help her navigate the challenges of living with Young Onset Parkinson’s disease. After her diagnosis at age 48 she left her career as a nurse midwife after delivering over 800 babies.

    She and her husband Ken have spent the last 18 months living and traveling in an Airstream caravan with their trusty Yorkshire terrier Baxter.

    Kat is an author and advocate for finding wellness despite a diagnosis. She speaks around the world for the World Parkinson Congress and The Davis Phinney Foundation and is also a co-founder of the Women’s Parkinson’s Project. Her co-authored book, Being Well with Chronic Illness, Hatherleigh Press is available at all book outlets. You can find her at

    Ken Hill recently completed a 30-plus year career in public health information technology. His wife Kat was diagnosed with YOPD in 2015. They are proud to have three adult children.  Ken has lead a Parkinson’s care-partners support group, volunteered with Parkinson’s Resources of Oregon, and helped coordinate 130 volunteers during the 2023 World Parkinson’s Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Ken is now a Firefighter in High Prairie, Washington.

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Young Onset Parkinson’s Network is sponsored in part by a grant from the Parkinson’s Foundation.

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