The Northwest District is composed of Erie, Mercer, Cameron,Warren, Venango, Clarion, McKean, Forest, Jefferson, Crawford, and Elk Counties.


Check out the District Newsletter for all the latest news.

Free CEU available to members...Details in the newsletter.

Registration is open for the PAC Family Picnic and Seawolves Baseball Game, Sunday, August 27th.  Bring the whole family!
Register HERE.

Northwest District Mini Combined Sections Meeting

Sponsored by the Northwest District and Penn State DuBois
April 14, 2018
Penn State DuBois Campus
1 College Place, DuBois, PA 15801 Place

The PPTA Northwest District is excited to announce its inaugural Mini Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) taking place April 14, 2018, at Penn State DuBois in DuBois, PA. Sponsored by the NWD and Penn State DuBois, Mini CSM will feature terrific speakers, engaging in hands-on lab sessions, and the ability to connect with fellow PTs, PTAs and students while enhancing your knowledge.

Registration is $50 for members, $100 for non-members and $20 for students. Registration includes admittance to classes as well as lunch.


8:00 a.m.-8:30 a.m. - Registration

8:30 a.m.-8:50 a.m. - Speaker Introductions, Site Orientation, and Certificate & Lunch Information

9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. - Choose One Course

SPACE LIMITED TO 35 REGISTRANTS - BPPV: Evidence-Based Overview of Examination and Treatment Strategies - Courtney Roca PT, DPT, NCS

This course has been approved for 1.5 general and .5 evaluative contact hours. This course has a lab component.

Course Description: Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is the most common cause of dizziness across the lifespan. Variations in the medical management of individuals with BPPV have a significant impact of the healthcare burden of this condition.   This course will provide an evidence-based overview on strategies related to the examination and treatment procedures for patients suffering from BPPV. Learning will be achieved through lecture, demonstration and practice, and video presentation. This course is designed for novice learners to enhance their ability to successfully manage a patient with BPPV.

1. Review epidemiological data related to BPPV
2. Establish an understanding of the basic anatomy and physiology of the vestibular system
3. Identify key subjective and objective evidence-based examination and evaluation procedures related to the diagnosis of BPPV, including the recognition of red flags items indicating the need for referral/further medical diagnostic work up
4. Review evidence based clinical management guidelines and intervention techniques for BPPV 

About the Presenter: Dr. Roca earned her entry-level DPT degree in 2006 from Marymount University in Arlington, VA. She continued her education and training post-graduation in the areas of vestibular and neurologic rehabilitation. She earned her vestibular certification at Emory University in 2011 and became certified as an ABPTS Neurological Clinical Specialist in 2015. She practiced as a full-time clinician in both acute care and hospital-based outpatient settings. She has served as a full-time faculty member at Gannon University in the DPT program since March of 2016. She continues to serve in a limited clinical role at St. Vincent Rehab Solutions, an outpatient clinic located in Erie, PA. In addition to her academic and clinical roles, she has also  actively engaged in various service oriented activities both in the past and present through her work as a faculty advisor for the  Gannon University Physical Rehabilitation Clinic, volunteer for the Northwest Pennsylvania Parkinson’s Partners Community Wellness Exercise Program, secretary for the PPTA Neurologic SIG,  co-chair of the Regional Cancer Center Neuropathy Clinic, coordinator for the St. Vincent Stroke Support group and Mobile Medical Unit Fall Prevention program, and coordinator and developer of the Fall Prevention program for the Benedictine Sister’s of Erie.  Work towards her Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership degree (Ed.D.) has also commenced with an anticipated completion date of August 2020. 

CRPS and Focal Dystonia: A Better Understanding of Factors Can Improve Proper Diagnosis, Treatment and Outcomes
- Eddie St. Clair, PT, DPT, CHT

This course has been approved for 2 general contact hours.

Course Description: The management of pain has always been a component of physical therapy treatment however in recent years the escalation of the opioid epidemic has renewed the focus on none addictive interventions.  One of the most challenging population to treat is patient with a diagnosis of Complex Region Pain Syndrome.  This course should provide the practitioner with a renewed explanation of etiology and evidence-based treatment help manage this difficult patient population. 

Course Objectives:
1. Review neuro anatomy and physiology as it applies to CRPS. 
2. Improve understanding of this patient population 
3. Describe the pathology of focal dystonia and discuss treatment options.
4. Discuss the benefits of biofeedback, graded motor imagery and mirror therapy in the treatment of CRPS.

About the Presenter: Eddie St. Clair, PT, DPT, CHT, is the director of physical therapy for West Park Rehab. Eddie entered the medical field in 1988 when he was trained as a field medic in the United States Air Force. At that time, he also received his national EMT certification. After completing his enlistment, he continued his education in Atlanta Georgia at DeKalb College and earned an Associate of Applied Science degree as a Physical Therapist Assistant. At this time, he worked with patient with traumatic brain injury. In 1996, he returned to Georgia State University to earn his Bachelor of Science degree as a Physical Therapist. Eddie then moved to Franklin in 1999 and established West Park Rehab along with co-owner Timothy Schell, PT. While in practice, Eddie earned his Clinical Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy from Temple University in December of 2006.  Most recently, Dr. St. Clair completed his board certification in hand therapy.
11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. - Choose One Course
Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation: A Functional Introduction - Nicole Santoriello PT, DPT

This course has been approved for 1 general contact hour.

Course Description: The pelvic floor muscles contribute functionally to pelvic girdle stability, bladder and bowel function, sexual appreciation, and breathing. Pelvic muscle impairments can cause pelvic dysfunctions if unrecognized. Orthopedic therapists can benefit from increased knowledge of the pelvic floor as impairments can also contribute to many orthopedic conditions. The focus of this continuing education seminar is to introduce basic pelvic floor anatomy, function and dysfunction, evaluation and treatment techniques that are applicable to a wide variety of patient populations. 

Course Objectives:
Upon completion of this course, the participant will be able to:
1. Anatomy
    a. Identify the bony, ligamentous, and muscular components of the pelvis
2. Function
    a. Understand the function of the three layers of pelvic floor muscles
    b. Understand the role of the pelvic floor in core stabilization 
3. Dysfunction
    a. Understand common pelvic floor dysfunctions, including:
        i. Risk Factors
        ii. Symptoms
        iii. Evaluation
        iv. Treatment by a pelvic floor physical therapist 
        v. When to refer to pelvic floor rehabilitation
    b. Understand common orthopedic conditions that may be impacted by pelvic floor dysfunctions,
        i. Risk Factors
        ii. Symptoms
        iii. Evaluation
4. Treatment
    a. Understand and instruct a patient in pelvic floor strengthening/re-education exercises and relaxation techniques.
    b. Understand and instruct patients in correct activation patterns for core stabilization exercises.  
    c. Understand how to integrate the pelvic floor and core stabilizers into treatment of orthopedic

About the Presenter: Nicole Santoriello PT, DPT is the Facility Director at PHOENIX Rehabilitation & Health Sciences, Inc. in Brookville, PA. She is a graduate of University of Pittsburgh with a B.S. in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and received her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Georgia State University in 2008. Following graduation, she returned to Pennsylvania and began her career in outpatient orthopaedics. She also has experience in acute care, skilled nursing, and home health. In 2014 Nicole joined the staff of PHOENIX Rehabilitation where she founded the Women’s Health program. Nicole became interested in Women’s Health Physical Therapy while in graduate school and completed a clinical affiliation at the University of Tennessee, focusing on pelvic floor rehabilitation and lymphedema. She has completed advanced training with the Herman and Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute.

Special Considerations for Patients with Neurological Diagnoses in the Acute Care Setting - Amanda Dailey, PT, DPT, NCS

This course has been approved for 1 general contact hour.

Course Description: Considering the constraints of today's health care system, it is becoming increasingly more challenging for patients to have access to post-acute care rehabilitation.  Therefore, it is imperative to maximize patient outcomes in the acute care setting to best prepare them for the next step.   An evidence-based approach to unique considerations indicated for patients with neurological diagnoses in the acute care setting, specifically those with stroke, spinal cord injury, and traumatic brain injury will be described.  This will include early mobility in the intensive care unit, strategies to prevent secondary complications, outcome measures specific to this population and clinical setting, and case studies.
Course Objectives:
1. Describe potential barriers to physical therapy evaluation and treatment of patients with neurological diagnoses in the acute care setting.   
2. Understand the importance of early mobility of patients with neurological diagnoses, including indications and contraindications. 
3. List evidence-based practices utilized in the acute care setting to prevent secondary complications and maximize outcomes for patients with neurological diagnoses. 
4. Identify clinically relevant and useful outcome measures that are appropriate for patients with neurological diagnoses in the acute care setting.

About the Presenter: Amanda earned her DPT from Gannon University in 2012.  She worked at UPMC Shadyside followed by UPMC Mercy, including two years at the UPMC Mercy Rehabilitation Institute.  Amanda has worked at UPMC Hamot since 2015 and currently also works as an outpatient neurological physical therapist for UPMC Centers for Rehab Services.  She obtained her Neurologic Clinical Specialist Certification in 2016.
12:15 p.m.-1:30 p.m. - Lunch (Provided) and Vendor Appreciation

1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. - Choose One Course
SPACE LIMITED TO 35 REGISTRANTS - Evaluation and Treatment of Anterior Glide Medial Rotation Syndrome of the Hip: A Manual Therapy Approach - Clarke Seyler PT, DPT, FAAOMPT, OCS, Cert. MDT

This course has been approved for 2 general contact hours. This course has a lab component.

Course Description: This 2-hour presentation will begin with a brief overview of Shirley Sahrmann’s Movement Impairment Syndromes.  The Anterior Glide Medial Rotation Syndrome of the Hip will be emphasized.  Attendees will be introduced to common subjective presentation in patients with AGMR.  As part of the lab portion of the presentation attendees will review special tests that reveal the presence of AGMR of the hip as well as manual therapy techniques and corrective exercises that are useful in treating patients with AGMR of the hip.

Course Objectives:
1. Introduce the attendees to the Movement Impairment Syndromes specifically, Anterior Glide Medial Rotation (AGMR) of the hip.
2. Identify common subjective and objective findings in a patient with AGMR of the hip.
3. Review and perform tests to confirm presence of AGMR of the hip.
4. Demonstrate and practice manual therapy techniques in the lower quarter that are beneficial to patients with AGMR of the hip.
5. Demonstrate and practice corrective exercises in the lower quarter that are beneficial to patients with AGMR of the hip.
About the Presenter: A graduate of Youngstown State University in 2000, Clarke been practicing physical therapy for 18 years. He became certified in Mechanical Diagnosis and Treatment in 2009 and received histransitional Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Rosiland Franklin University in 2015. In 2016, Clarke became a Fellow in the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT).  In 18 years, he has practiced in orthopedic physical therapy clinics with the majority of that time specializing in occupational medicine. 

Integrating Prevention and Wellness into Physical Therapy Clinical Practice - Mary Jean Taylor PT, PhD, PCS

This course has been approved for 2 general contact hours.

Course Description: Morbidity and mortality in the US is largely associated with chronic non-communicable disease, which in many cases can be prevented with the adoption of positive lifestyle behaviors. Physical therapists have much to offer in terms of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention particularly as it relates to physical literacy.  This course will address: wellness as a multi-factorial construct, social and ecological determinants of health and wellbeing, the AMSO model of behavior change and its application to physical literacy and clinical scenarios, development and implementation of community-based wellness programming using the precede-proceed model, programmatic evaluation utilizing standardized outcomes, and paradigms for reimbursement of wellness related services.   

Course Objectives:
Upon completion of the course, participants will be able to:
1. Identify multiple factors associated with optimal wellbeing and apply this knowledge in the evaluation and treatment of their patients.
2. Recognize the influence of social and ecological determinants and identify strategies to ensure access to preventative physical therapy care.
3. Describe the AMSO model of behavior change and apply concepts related to physical literacy into clinical practice.
4. Utilize the precede-proceed model for wellness-related programmatic development, implementation, and evaluation.
5. Compare and contrast paradigms for reimbursement of wellness related services. 

About the Presenter: Mary Jean Taylor graduated from Ithaca College with her BS in PT and her Masters degree in Developmental Disabilities from New York University. She received her PhD in Health Promotion and Wellness from Rocky Mountain University in 2016 and was awarded the Student Scholar Award for her research on fitness and health promotion programming in adolescent females. Taylor has been recognized as a Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Pediatrics since 1994. She has created, implemented, and published research related to community-based wellness programming across the lifespan.  She currently serves as director of University Wellness at Gannon and is an adjunct faculty member at Columbia University.


Beth Gustafson
Northwest District Director
Term: 1/1/16-12/31/18

(814) 871-7709: w
(814) 871-5548 : f
(814) 724-9485 : c


Andrea Kessler
Northwest District
Vice Chair
Term: 1/1/16-12/31/18

Ann Lowrey
Ann Lowrey
Northwest District

Term ends 12/31/20

Northwest District
Term ends 12/31/20
Pamela Gentile
Northwest District
Term: 1/1/16-12/31/18
Erie, PA
814-833-0018 :w
814-833-0018 :f 

Committees and Liaison

Brent Szymusiak
Northwest District
Nominating Committee Chair

Donna Skelly
Northwest District
Legislative Ambassador
1402 South Hill Road
Erie, PA 16509
814-871-7505 : w
814-871-5662 : f 

Pam Reynolds
PA PT PAC Treasurer
(814) 871-7796
Tom Hudson
(814) 871-5648 : w
(814) 871-5662 : f
Martin (Marty) Maloney

NW District

NW Central PPTA Sub District Liaison
814-375-3520 : w

814-375-3025 : f