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2015-10-23 digital edition

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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2019 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


October 23, 2015  RSS feed
Front Page

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Tampa selected for national Parkinson’s initiative

The National Parkinson’s Foundation has selected the Tampa Jewish Community Center & Federation to participate in a new national initiative to help people living with the disease to stay active, connected and empowered.

The Tampa JCC & Federation will work along side the USF Health Byrd Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center to implement Phase 2 of the Edmond J. Safra National Parkinson’s Wellness


The program is scheduled to launch in January.

Although there is no cure, “research has demonstrated that regular exercise improves quality of life and may slow progression of disease,” according to Robert Hauser, MD, director of the USF Health Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center.

That’s where USF’s Movement Disorder’s

Center and Tampa JCC comes in. The two organizations “will work together to bring exciting exercise programs to the Tampa Bay Area as part of the Edmond J. Safra Wellness Initiative,” Hauser said.

Beginning in January, the Tampa JCC will offer three Parkinson’s-specific fitness classes per week, a weekly care partner support group and seasonal educational events.

The program is open to the entire community – no matter a participant’s medical or religious affiliation. Classes are offered at low-cost and JCC membership is not required to participate in the program.

Class schedules and application information will be available in November.

“Of the treatments available today, exercise remains the most promising way to try to slow the impact of Parkinson’s. Our goal was to partner with leading community organizations to help ensure that people have access to safe and Parkinson’s-appropriate exercise programs,” said Peter Schmidt, National Parkinson’s Foundation chief mission officer.

“We were very impressed with the proposal for a Tampa JCC and USF Movement Disorders Center partnership and expect to see this program changing the lives of people with Parkinson’s in the greater Tampa area,” said Schmidt. “Parkinson’s can be a socially isolating condition, so engaging community organizations is the key to reaching the people who most need our help.”

Affecting an estimated one million Americans and four to six million worldwide, Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s. It is associated with a progressive loss of motor control (e.g., shaking or tremor at rest and lack of facial expression) as well as non-motor symptoms (e.g., depression and anxiety).

There is no cure for Parkinson’s and 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States alone.

Jack Ross, executive director of the Tampa JCC, said the organization is proud to be part of the new initiative and bring programming to Tampa area residents living with Parkinson’s.

“With generous support from the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation, this program will enhance the JCC’s ability to fulfill our mission and serve everyone in the community. The initial response to the program has been strong and supportive; there is a significant need for wellness programs for people living with Parkinson’s and their families,” said Ross.

The Edmond J. Safra National Parkinson’s Wellness Initiative grew out of the ground-breaking Edmond J. Safra Parkinson’s Wellness Program-NYC, which began in 2007 through a collaboration between the Manhattan Jewish Community Center and the Marlene and Paolo Fresco Institute for Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders at the NYU Langone Medical Center. The Greater Boston and Greater Washington DC communities participated in Phase 1 of the initiative. Phase 2 builds on the success of these programs.

For more information about The Edmond J. Safra National Parkinson’s

Wellness Initiative, visit

For more information on programs at the JCC, contact Jen Goldberg, executive director of Education and Special Projects at the Tampa JCC and Federation: 813.769.4702 or

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