Balance and Fall Prevention credential course participants, spring 2023

Acquire Skills in Balance and Fall Prevention

Are you a PT ready to improve the lives of your older patient community through balance and fall prevention? Join APTA Geriatrics for their next Balance and Falls Prevention in Community-Dwelling Older Adults professional credential course.

This two-course, in-person series was designed to support experienced physical therapists as clinical and community fall prevention leaders. It provides a solid foundation through a series of educational components completed over a 12-month period.

  • Course one: two-day in-person program with preparatory work and an onsite skills check
  • Portfolio completion
  • Course two: two-day in-person program with practical and written exams

The Balance and Falls Prevention credential course will take you beyond examination tools and interventions toward expertise in the science of balance and aspects of fall prevention, particularly for community-dwelling older adults. Upon completion, you will directly and immediately apply evidence-based principles in your practice and use what you’ve learned to advocate for local community programs.

See a full list of the requirements to become credentialed as a Balance and Fall Prevention Professional.


Questions about registration? Contact Delaney Fenske.

2024 Cohort: Portland, Oregon
Providence St. Vincent Medical Center

  • Course 1: June 7-9, 2024
  • Course 2: October 26-27, 2024

Registration closed Sunday, May 5, 2024

2023-24 Cohort: Atlanta, Georgia
Mercer University

  • Course 1: October 6-8, 2023
  • Course 2: March 23-24, 2024

Registration closed September 8, 2023

APTA Geriatrics Member: $1,100
APTA or Non-member: $1,300

The Balance and Falls courses provide 42 contact hours.

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Upon completion of this series participants will be able to:
  1. Analyze multi-factorial screening results to determine relative fall risk level and appropriate follow-up care in primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention situations.
  2. Select, administer, and interpret clinically meaningful objective measures of fall risk, balance, and gait based on individual client presentation and goals.
  3. Develop and implement population-based and individualized preventative and rehabilitative strategies to reduce fall risk.
  4. Monitor treatment outcomes with appropriate objective measures and modify the care plan as indicated.
  5. Design and improve interprofessional practice strategies, including communication, collaboration, and referral.
  6. Demonstrate the capacity to act as an effective fall prevention clinical expert, educator, facilitator, and advocate in their community, region, and state.

Our Instructors

Dr. Jennifer Nash is a board-certified Neurological Clinical Specialist by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties of the American Physical Therapy Association. After receiving a bachelor’s of science degree in Exercise Physiology at University of Arizona, she pursued her masters and doctorate degrees in Physical Therapy from Northern Arizona University. Dr. Nash is an Assistant Professor in the School of Physical Therapy at University of Nevada, Las Vegas teaching acute care and cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, balance and vestibular rehabilitation, as well as neurologic rehabilitation. Her research aims involve evidence-based fall prevention programs for older adults including Otago Exercise Program, Stepping On, and Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance. She currently serves as the Chair of the Nevada Goes Falls Free Coalition and Nevada State Advocate for APTA Geriatrics.

Mike Studer,PT, DPT, MHS,NCS, CEEAA, CWT, CSST, FAPTA has been a PT since 1991, a board certified in neurologic PT in 1995, and a private practice owner since 2005. Dr. Studer has been an invited speaker covering 50 states, 10 countries, and 4 continents speaking on topics ranging from cognition and psychology in rehabilitation, aging, stroke, motor learning, motivation in rehabilitation, balance, dizziness, neuropathy and Parkinson Disease. Dr. Studer is an adjunct professor at Oregon State University’s DPT program in Bend, Oregon, where he leads the coursework on motor control and assists the national network of neurologic PT residencies (Neuroconsortium) as well.  Mike is the co-owner of Spark Rehabilitation and Wellness, a multidisciplinary Healthy Aging and Neurology rehabilitation clinic, also in Bend. In 2011, Mike was recognized as Clinician of the Year in the Neurologic and (in 2014) the Geriatric Academies of the APTA. He received the highest honor available in PT in 2020, being distinguished as a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the APTA in 2020, joining a group of under 300 persons at the time for the history of the profession. Mike’s honors additionally reflect his service for Vice Presidency of the Academy of Neurologic PT, the Mercedes Weiss award for service to the Oregon chapter of APTA. He holds a trademark in dual task rehabilitation and has a patent pending on the same. Over his career, Mike has authored over 35 articles, 6 book chapters, and routinely has clinical research projects in affiliation with one of many universities. He is a consultant to Major League Baseball on the motor control of pitching and hitting. As a very fun and lighthearted note, Mike is the four time and current WR holder for the fastest underwater treadmill marathon, a mark that was set most recently in January 2022. 

Leslie Allison, PT, PhD is an enthusiastic speaker committed to the development of evidence-based practice in rehabilitation. She developed clinical expertise in the evaluation and treatment of balance impairments treating neurologic and geriatric populations. Her current focus is fall prevention in older adults and patients with neurologic disorders, in particular multi-factorial exercise interventions. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Pennsylvania, her advanced Master of Science degree in Motor Behavior from Oregon State University, and her Doctoral degree in Kinesiology from the University of Maryland. Leslie authored the “Balance Disorders” chapter in Umphred’s Neurologic Rehabilitation text. From 2013 to 2015 she served on the APTA Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy GeriEDGE Task Force on Fall Risk Screening and Assessment. She is an original member of the team that developed and delivers the APTA Geriatrics Balance and Fall Prevention credentialing course. She is a retired Associate Professor of Physical Therapy from Winston-Salem State University in Winston-Salem, NC. For the past four years she has served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy. 

Mariana Wingood, PT, DPT, PhD, MPH is a post-doctoral fellow at VA’s Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) and a Delivery System Science Fellowship fellow at  Academy Health. She earned her DPT from SUNY Upstate Medical University in 2012 and a Graduate Certificate in Epidemiology, PhD in Human Functioning and Rehabilitation Sciences, and a MPH from University of Vermont (UVM) in 2021. During her time at UVM, she studied barriers and solutions to incorporating physical activity promotion and prescription within physical therapy, resulting in multiple publications and two awards, the Outstanding Dissertation Award and the Achievement in Public Health Practice Award. Currently, her research focuses on: 1) implementing a clinical program that will help increase adherence to home exercise programs; 2) examining methods physical therapists use to address low exercise self-efficacy; and 3) examining contextual factors that impact the use of the STEADI in outpatient physical therapy practices. Clinically, she became a Certified Exercise Expert of Aging Adults in 2014 and a Geriatric Board Certified Specialist in 2015. She has practiced in various settings, including orthopedic outpatient, neuromuscular outpatient, a falls clinic, skilled nursing facility, and an inpatient rehabilitation facility. Professionally, she currently holds leadership roles through APTA- Geriatrics and American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). For the APTA-Geriatrics she is the current GeriEDGE co-chair and is on the Steering Committee for the Combined Section Meeting. For ACSM, she is a member of the Exercise is Medicine- Older Adult Committee and the Strategic Health Initiative on Aging. Mariana has presented both nationally and internationally and has taught multiple online, hybrid, and in-person courses related to fall prevention.

Lori Schrodt, PT, PhD is a professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at Western Carolina University and clinician in the WCU Balance and Fall Prevention Clinic. Dr. Schrodt specializes in clinical and community-based programs to promote neuro recovery, healthy aging, and fall prevention. Her work emphasizes building and strengthening clinical-community partnerships at the regional, state, and national levels. She is a member of the North Carolina Fall Prevention Coalition, the APTA-Geriatrics/National Council on Aging Task Force and is co-course administrator for the APTA-Geriatrics Balance and Fall Prevention Credential Course Series. Dr. Schrodt holds advanced training as a Credentialed Balance and Falls Professional, Certified Exercise Expert for the Aging Adult, and a Parkinson’s Foundation Physical Therapy Faculty Scholar. She is also a previous recipient of the North Carolina Physical Therapy Association Excellence in Clinical Practice Award and served as chair of the Health Promotion and Wellness Special Interest Group of APTA-Geriatrics.

Emma L. Phillips, PT, DPT is a Board Certified Geriatric Clinical Specialist and a Certified Expert for Exercise in the Aging Adult. She received her DPT from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN and completed a Geriatric Residency at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN. She has worked in various settings including Home Health, Outpatient, Acute Care, and Inpatient Rehab focusing on providing outstanding care to older adults, emphasizing balance and fall prevention. She currently works as a physical therapist at Greater Baltimore Medical Center.

She has previously served on the GeriEDGE work group for APTA Geriatrics, the Balance and Falls Special Interest Group as Vice-Chair, and currently serves as Secretary for the Residency and Fellowship Special Interest Group for APTA Geriatrics. She has spoken nationally at CSM and NEXT conferences of the American Physical Therapy Association on topics relating to the Geriatric population.

Dr. Dewane is an associate professor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  She is board certified by the American Physical Therapy Association in Neurology, Credentialed Balance and Falls Professional, and certified in vestibular rehabilitation. Dr. Dewane has been practicing PT for over 35 years, with majority of her clinical experience dealing with neurologic dysfunction especially those with balance and vestibular problems, and older adults with risk of falls. Dr. Dewane has done numerous presentations regionally on vestibular rehabilitation, and falls and the older adult, particularly focused on the role of cognition on falls and fall prevention. She has also presented nationally and internationally on the topics of fall risk and cognition. She is a member of the Wisconsin Falls Group. She has promoted an Interdisciplinary Falls Risk Screen program for Older Adults to facilitate change and risk modification with person specific interventions using localized resources that look at the cultural environment. She is also the faculty advisor for the UW Madison PT student Pro Bono Clinic which provides ongoing PT services for under-insured people with neurologic dysfunction.

Dr. Diane Huss has been a board-certified Neurological Clinical Specialist by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties of the American Physical Therapy Association since 1997. She received her undergraduate degree in PT from the University of North Dakota in 1980, a master’s degree in Adult Fitness with a minor in Higher Education from James Madison University in 1990, and her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Montana in 2010. Dr. Huss has been providing PT services in patients’ homes through UVA-Continuum Home Health Care the past 26 years having established the rehabilitation services program and serving as the Rehabilitation Manager for 18 years after which she continued to provide direct services in patients’ homes while managing staff orientation and ongoing staff education in a senior PT capacity. Beginning in 2003, she concurrently served as the physical therapist consultant to the UVA functional neurology and neurosurgery teams that perform Deep Brain Stimulation, and MR Guided Focused Ultrasound. Dr. Huss continues to provide support for these teams in the areas of complex patient care and education, fall prevention and balance rehabilitation, as well as selecting and conducting functional assessments and data management for clinical and research outcome measurement activities, co-authoring greater than fifteen journal publications with these teams.

Dr. Huss has extensive experience and expertise working with people with Parkinson’s disease, Essential Tremor and other neurological impairments including SCI as well as home health service delivery for all ages and diagnoses. Her focus of professionalism is the prevention of falls and maintenance of an active healthy lifestyle for people who are aging with and without a disability. Dr. Huss has been the director/co-author and/or consultant for a number of grant projects several of which were directed at detecting and avoiding falls in the home. She served as a member of the development team and remains a trainer for the APTA-Geriatrics Balance and Fall Prevention Credential Course Series and holds advanced training as a Credentialed Balance and Fall Prevention Professional. She presents CME programming throughout the country and has been a frequent invited speaker at chapter and national meetings of the APTA, the National Association of Home Care, Focused Ultrasound Foundation, and Movement Disorders Society.

The Balance & Falls course series is intended for any licensed physical therapist (PT).

Physical therapist assistants (PTA) are not eligible to participate in the Balance & Falls course series.

Yes—the Balance & Falls courses provide the most up-to-date information for assessment and intervention, as well as holistic management of fall risk. Earning your Balance & Falls Professional Credential provides documentation of advanced clinical expertise in balance and fall prevention strategies across the clinic-to-community continuum of care for employers, insurance companies, referral sources, and the community.

To become an ABPTS Specialist, you must meet a requirement for a number of clinical practice hours and pass an examination. How a PT increases their knowledge in preparation for the exam is their choice. The Balance & Falls courses will likely help PTs to better prepare for the ABPTS Geriatric Specialization exam.

The registration fee for the Balance & Falls course series includes:

  • Course lab manuals
  • Continental breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for each day of the course1
  • Certificates of completion and certification as a Credentialed Balance & Falls Professional
  • Access to online exam
  • Administration and grading of skills checks and portfolio2

1Participants are responsible for their own dinner plans. Dinner is not included in the price of registration.

2To attain the Balance & Falls Professional Credential, completion of the Otago Exercise Program online training is required as a part of a portfolio before Course 2. This separate training costs $50 and awards 3.0 contact hours. Individuals who have already completed the training may elect to present their certificate in lieu of re-training.

To earn the Balance & Fall Professional Credential, you must:

  • Attend all in-person courses*
  • Complete and pass 2 skills checks and an online exam,
  • Complete a comprehensive graded portfolio between Courses 1 and 2

*If absenteeism occurs during either of the courses, arrangements must be made with Delaney Fenske to fulfill the requirements.

The Balance and Falls Professional credential was developed to support physical therapists as clinical and community fall prevention leaders. The course series brings a uniquely comprehensive and objective program to the clinician who aspires to be a well-rounded expert in both the science of balance and the avenues of fall prevention, particularly for the community dwelling older adult. Some courses, or parts of courses, focus more on tools for examination and balance interventions, but this series goes beyond that.

The design of the credential series is unique and promotes continued development of the experienced therapist who is ready to improve the health of society as it relates to balance and fall prevention. It provides opportunities to directly and immediately apply evidence-based principles in your practice, as well as guided support to utilize your local community programs and advocate for your specific regional needs. Learning activities are aimed at increasing each participant’s self-efficacy for implementing the knowledge and skills acquired.

Yes, participants will need to review some assigned readings, learning activities, self-practice of standardized tests and measures, and complete a pre-quiz before arriving on-site for Course 1. A skills check will be administered on the Friday evening before the start of Course 1, based on proficiency with the selected tests and measures.

You will receive specific directions about the completion of the pre-work a few weeks prior to Course 1, with ample time for completion.

Completion of a graded comprehensive portfolio is required to attain the Balance & Falls Professional Credential. The portfolio includes:

  • Development of a comprehensive clinical case study based on a current patient/client
  • A community asset and gap analysis for evidence-based programs, physical activity programs, and other fall prevention resources and services
  • Completion of the online Otago Exercise Program training. This training is a separate cost of $50 and awards 3.0 Contact hours. Individuals who have already completed the training may present their certificate in lieu or re-training.

Detailed portfolio instructions will be provided during Course 1. Completed portfolios will be electronically submitted a several weeks prior to attending Course 2.

Interested individuals with specific concerns or questions regarding completion of the portfolio components should contact Delaney Fenske.

The Balance & Falls courses will provide 42 contact hours in total. The following hours will be awarded upon completion.

  • Course 1 – 18.5 Contact Hours
  • Individual Portfolio – 10.0 Contact Hours (home study)
  • Course 2 – 13.5 Contact Hours

Participants are encouraged to check with their State Licensure Board to see if the courses count towards continuing education credit.

Requests for cancellation must be received in writing to Delaney Slattery at least 7 days prior to the course start date. Registration fees will be refunded in full, less a $50 administrative fee.

In the event that the course should be cancelled by APTA Geriatrics or the host site, registration fees will be refunded in full. The Academy of Geriatrics will not be responsible for reimbursement of non-refundable airline or train tickets or hotel stays. Registrants will be notified of cancellation on or before 30 days prior to the course start date.

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