• Neurodegenerative Diseases Header
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases Networking Group

    Neurodegenerative Diseases Networking Group



    Members of the NDNG

    The people behind the Neurodegenerative Diseases Networking Group



    On 26 October 2017, the Neurodegenerative Diseases Networking Group held its largest business meeting ever at the Atlanta Hilton in Atlanta, Georgia, USA!

    ACRM Neurodegenerative Diseases Networking Group (NDNG) brochure cover thumbnail

    CLICK for PDF

    Rehabilitation in neurodegenerative conditions is getting increasing attention as an effective treatment to maintain independency and decrease disability. The Neurodegenerative Diseases Networking Group of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine is specialized in neurodegenerative rehabilitation research and scholarship.


    Our Mission

    As one of the leading groups in the USA, our mission is to rapidly disseminate knowledge on evidence-based practice for improved health, wellness, and quality of life; and promote innovative biomedical research to identify ways in which these goals can be better translated into clinical practice through physical medicine and rehabilitation.

    The people behind NDNG promote research on  Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinsonism and many other important neurodegenerative conditions.

    NDNG Opportunities

    • Service on the executive committee and/or task forces
    • Research collaborations
    • Continuing education opportunities
    • Opportunities to plan educational programs and presentations for the ACRM conference
    • Industry partnership

    ACRM 2018 Call for Proposals

    The Program Committee invites proposals focused on research evidence and its translation into clinical practice for presentation at the ACRM 2018 Annual Conference in Dallas.



    How does ACRM Help Neurodegenerative Diseases?

    NDNG Accomplishments

    • 415 NDNG members including 216 ACRM members
    • Unique Innovative Neurodegenerative publications ( i.e., IE Pages)
    • Non-stop content  at the annual conference
    • A diverse and strong Neurodegenerative Task Forces representation
    • Specialized state-of-the-art  Instructional Courses and Symposia at ACRM 2017 Conference

    NDNG Activities at the 2017 Annual Conference

    The NDNG contributed to an exciting program for the annual conference. Unique expertise related to Parkinson's, MS, AD, ALS, HD, cognition, physical activity, arts and sciences were offered to attendees.

    The NDNG Business Meeting was held on 26 October.


    Neurodegenerative Diseases Lecture Luncheon

    Erwin van Wegen

    Erwin van Wegen

    The annual Neurodegenerative Diseases Lecture Luncheon was held on 27 October and featured Dr. Erwin van Wegen and his talk titled, Patients as Partners in Research and Community Health Care.  Dr. van Wegen is associate professor in neurorehabilitation at the Department’s of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Medicine at the VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam.

    Dr. van Wegen’s research has been externally funded since 1999 by NINDS, NASA, NIAAA, the Dutch Parkinson disease Patient Society, ZonMw, Internationaal Parkinson Fonds, the European Research Council, and others.  His lab uses neurophysiologic techniques (mobile EEG, tDCS), body worn technology against freezing of gait, continuous activity monitoring, and iOS and Android app development for physical activity promotion in Parkinson’s disease.

    Dr. van Wegen gained an international reputation through work on the Parkinson study ‘RESCUE’ (Research on Cueing).  He is well published in the field of neurorehabilitation research with publication of over 100 international papers and serves on several international editorial boards. He is a fabulous teacher of allied health care professionals within the Netherlands-based ParkinsonNet, and highly respected in the clinical and rehabilitation research community.


    Chat with the Experts: Neurodegenerative/Neuroplasticity/ Community-Based Rehabilitation

    Neurons to Neighborhoods Chat with the Experts Panel: Mark Hirsch, Erwin Van Wegen, Patricia Heyn, and Maria Carollo

    Mark A. Hirsch, Erwin E.H. Van Wegen, Patricia Heyn, and Marie Cavallo

    On 26 October, members of the NDNG participated in a Chat with the Experts panel that engaged attendees on neurodegenerative and neuroplasticity topics, From Neurons to Neighborhoods. The panel included:

    • Mark A. Hirsch, PhDCarolinas Rehabilitation, Department of PM&R, Carolinas Medical Center
    • Erwin E. H. van Wegen, PhD, Associate Professor, Amsterdam University
    • Patricia Heyn, PhD, FGSA, FACRM, Associate Professor, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
    • Marie Cavallo, PhD, CHC, CHPCAssociate Chief Compliance Officer, AHRC New York City


    Congratulations to 2017 Poster Award Recipients

    Patricia Heyn

    Neurodegenerative Diseases Best Poster Award

    Association Between Gait Speed and Cognitive Function in Adults with Cerebral Palsy
    Patricia Heyn, Alex Tagawa, Zhaoxing Pan, Amy Bodkin, James Carollo

    Moon-Young KimNeurodegenerative Diseases Early Career Poster Award

    Relationship between Executive Function Components and Activities of Daily Living in Elderly with Mild Dementia
    Moon-Young Kim, Ji-Hyuk Park, Jong Bae Kim, Hae Yean Park

    Arzu Guclu-GunduzNeurodegenerative Diseases Women & Minorities in Science Poster Award

    Relationship Between Muscle Strength and Functional Exercise Capacity in Patients With Multiple Sclerosis
    Arzu Guclu-Gunduz, Cagla Ozkul, Taskın Ozkan, Yasemin Aydın, Ceyla Irkec


    Join Now

    One of the most valuable benefits of ACRM membership is the opportunity to participate in the many interdisciplinary special interest groups (ISIG) and networking groups. Please contact the NDNG Membership Officer, Hannes Devos, PhD, DRS or the NDNG Chair, Patricia Heyn, PhD, FGSA, FACRM  to learn more about this networking group and ways to participate.

    Click the JOIN NOW button to learn more or contact Member Services at +1.703.435.5335 for personal assistance.




    NDNG Welcomes Industry and Stakeholder Involvement and Partnerships

    The NDNG understands the importance of working in synchronicity with all the key stakeholders involved in the care and cure of neurodegenerative diseases. For this reason, we invite corporate partners, including startup companies, to associate with our networking group as an important contributor.

    In addition, we have several opportunities for the industry to contribute and sponsor important activities related to the science of neurodegenerative diseases.  If you are involved with the ND industry and you would like to participate in the NDNG as a member, please contact Terri Compos.  If you are interested in sponsoring NDNG activities, please contact Jenny Richard.


    About the NDNG Leadership

    The leadership of the Neurodegenerative Diseases Networking Group consists of a rich and diverse specialized group of professionals each contributing with their unique expertise to the activities of the NDNG. These entities include:



    Patricia Heyn

    Program Committee Liaison

    Patricia Heyn, PhD, FGSA, FACRM
    Associate Professor, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
    Senior Scientist, Center for Gait & Movement Analysis, Anschutz Medical Campus
    University of Colorado
    Aurora, CO

    Mark Hirsch

    ACRM Awards Committee Liaison

    Mark A. Hirsch, PhD
    Senior Scientist, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Director, Carolinas PM&R Core Lab Director, Resident Rsearch Education (PM&R)
    Carolinas Rehabilitation
    Carolinas HealthCare System
    Charlotte, NC

    Deborah Backus

    Program Committee Liaison

    Deborah Backus, PT, PhD, FACRM
    Director, Multiple Sclerosis Research
    Eula C. and Andrew C. Carlos Multiple Sclerosis Rehabilitation & Wellness Program
    Shepherd Center
    Atlanta, GA

    Shilpa Krishnan

    Early Career Networking Group Liaison

    Shilpa Krishnan, PT, PhD
    Research Scientist
    Emory University
    Atlanta, GA

    Hannes Devos

    International Networking Group Liaison

    Hannes Devos, PhD, DRS
    Director, Laboratory of Advanced Rehabilitation Research in Simulation at KUMC
    Kansas University Medical Center (KUMC)
    Department of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science
    Kansas City, KS

    Jake Sosnoff

    ACRM Communications Committee Liaison

    Jacob Sosnoff, PhD
    Director, Motor Control Research Laboratory
    Department of Kinesiology & Community Health
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Urbana-Champaign, IL

    Melike Kahya


    Melike Kahya, PT, MS
    University of Kansas Medical Center
    Kansas City, KS


    Brooks C. Wingo, PhD
    Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy
    University of Alabama at Birmingham



    NDNG Task Forces



    Julie FaietaCHAIR: Julie Faieta, MOT, OTR/L

    PhD Student, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
    Graduate Research Associate, Division of Occupational Therapy
    Ohio State University College of Medicine
    Columbus, OH

    The Alzheimer’s Disease Task Force aims to develop and disseminate up-to-date and clinically relevant research on the treatment of both at risk and diagnosed Alzheimer's disease (AD) populations. Building on the current body of evidence, the group works to produce meaningful literature for those living with AD, their caregivers, and the healthcare team. To learn about upcoming opportunities to participate, contact the chair, Julie Faieta.

    The primary goal of these endeavors is to enhance the quality of life for those affected by AD through production and dissemination of high quality and clinically-applicable research. Roles within the group will include co-authoring peer-reviewed journal articles, developing patient/caregiver targeted information and education pages, and producing scholarship on the work being produced by the task force.

    In addition, members will have the opportunity to participate in monthly meetings to discuss the status of current work and to deliberate on future aims. Outlined below are a number of anticipated projects to support the previously described goals:

    • Systematic review of the current literature on non-pharmacological interventions for the treatment of AD
    • Literature describing the role of rehabilitation professionals/clinicians in the treatment of AD populations
    • Information/education pages describing topics such as AD stages/symptoms, and environmental supports and community resources relevant to AD populations
    • Investigation into assistive technology, such as virtual reality, cognitive support, and environmental support technology, that has the potential to positively impact the quality of life and well-being of individuals affected by AD
    • Survey members for additional project ideas during annual​/monthly meetings

    Mark Hirsch


    CHAIR: Mark A. Hirsch, PhD
    Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
    Carolinas Rehabilitation
    Charlotte, NC


    In 2016, the Awards Task Force developed three NDNG Poster Awards, including:

    • NDNG Early Career Poster Award
    • NDNG Best Poster Award
    • NDNG Women & Minorities in Science Poster Award

    The NDNG Poster Award recipients are selected each year by the Awards Task Force to promote and acknowledge excellence in rehabilitation research and scholarship.

    See past recipients >>

    Learn about award criteria >>


    Michele YorkCO-CHAIR: Michele York, PhD, ABPP-CN
    Baylor College of Medicine
    Houston, TX

    CO-CHAIR: Anna DeJoya, PT, DSc, NCS
    TIRR Memorial Hermann
    Houston, TX

    The Education Task Force has the goal to provide opportunities to members to develop and publish neurodegenerative related materials designed to provide consumer-friendly information on topics relevant to rehabilitation medicine, including basic background or overview as well as provide opportunities for members to work collaboratively in scientific peer-review publications. These can be targeted toward people with disabilities, caregivers, clinicians; policy makers and researchers.

    If you have an idea for a publication or want to join the NDNG Education Task Force, please contact Michele York.



    CHAIR: Cherie Hyder, Pharm D, JD











    Members in the Spotlight

    Shilpa Krishnan

    Shilpa Krishnan

    Dr. Shilpa Krishnan Receives NIDILRR Switzer Research Fellowship

    Congratulations to NDNG Secretary, Dr. Shilpa Krishnan, who was awarded the 2017 NIDILRR Switzer Research Fellowship to investigate a Patient-Centered Pressure Ulcer Outcome Preferences: A Mixed-Methods Study.



    Mark Hirsch

    Mark A Hirsch

    Ray of Hope Award honored Dr. Mark A. Hirsch and Dr. Sanjay S. Iyer

    This award is given annually by the Parkinson Association of the Carolinas to a person who has supported its mission “to serve as a resource for individuals and their families affected by Parkinson’s disease in the Carolinas through education, community outreach, and direct support.”

    The honorees Sanjay S. Iyer, MD,  Danielle Englert, MD, and Mark A. Hirsch, PhD, were presented the award during the 2016 Bill & Betty Ray Awardees Luncheon and Awards Ceremony in recognition of their dedication to research and treatment of Parkinson’s Disease and support of the Parkinson’s Association of the Carolinas.


    NDNG Resources

    Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

    ND Related Information/Education Pages (IEPs)

    These fact sheets are published in the ACRM journal, Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, as tear-out pages. They are designed to provide consumer-friendly information on topics relevant to rehabilitation medicine, including basic background or overview, or brief how-to suggestions. They are targeted toward people with disabilities, their caregivers, or clinicians and are designed to be torn out of the journal and and copied (or downloaded) for distribution.

    1. Coping With Caregiver Burnout When Caring for a Person With Neurodegenerative Disease: A Guide for Caregivers
    2. Physical Activity Recommendations for the Aging Brain: A Clinician-Patient Guide
    3. Decisions About Driving for Persons With Neurodegenerative Conditions
    4. What Is Mild Stroke?
    5. Brain Gaming: A User's Product Guide for the Clinician
    6. Pseudobulbar Affect
    7. Memory and Traumatic Brain Injury
    8. Cognitive Problems After Traumatic Brain Injury
    9. Emergency Preparedness for People With Disabilities
    10. Guide to Living With Aphasia

    ND Related Organizations and Societies