Dr. Lorraine Ramig receives the WPC Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Parkinson Community

It is with immense excitement and pride that we share the news that Dr. Lorraine Ramig has been selected to be one of the recipients of the WPC Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Parkinson Community.  This award will be presented at the World Parkinson Congress in Kyoto, Japan on June 5th, 2019.

As described by the WPC,The WPC Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Parkinson Community was created to honor those whose efforts best embody the goals of the World Parkinson Congress. While the three people being honored this year with this award have served the Parkinson’s community differently, they have all made great impact beyond their corner of the globe.”

Read on to learn more about Dr. Ramig’s work and accomplishments that led to this recognition.

Dr. Ramig developed the first effective speech treatment for improving communication in people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) – known today as LSVT LOUD. She pioneered novel treatment concepts back in the late 1980’s (focusing on vocal loudness, intensive-high effort treatment, re-training sensory perception of normal loudness) that today, are well-recognized tenets of effective speech treatment for PD. Dr. Ramig persevered in writing NIH research grants to fund research on effective speech treatments for PD.  Her work is foundational to all speech treatment work that is being done in the area of PD today.  Further, her work in speech treatment for Parkinson’s has expanded to other areas of rehabilitation including physical and occupational therapy.

Dr. Ramig received over eight million dollars in funding for speech treatment research for people with PD from the National Institutes of Health and other funding agencies in her 30+ career as a speech scientist. Her relentless pursuit of the science of effective speech treatment for people with Parkinson’s revolutionized this area of study. In addition to establishing that speech treatment can work and last in people with PD, her research went deeper into understanding the underlying mechanisms of treatment related change. This included basic science studies of electromyographic activity in muscles of vocalization (e.g., thyroarytenoid muscle) and treatment-related changes in brain activity before and after speech treatment. These discoveries have enlightened our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of how PD impacts voice and speech and how the brain changes with effective speech therapy. Today, the research continues! In September of 2018, the third randomized controlled trial of speech treatment in PD was published in the Movement Disorder journal.

Michelle Haub, LSVT LOUD Certified Clinician

“Your passion, knowledge and personal connections have inspired me (and continue to do so) to reach as many people with Parkinson’s as possible and let them know that there is so much they can do to live well with PD!”  -Michelle Haub, MS, CCC-SLP/L

 

 

Dr. Ramig was not satisfied with only conducting and publishing research in speech treatment for PD. It became her mission to bridge the knowledge gap between the “ivory tower research lab” and real-world clinical practice. Unlike pharmaceutical or device based medical research (with established pipelines for getting research into practice), there were no formal mechanisms that existed to facilitate clinical implementation. Ingenuity with her colleagues resulted in the formulation of the LSVT Foundation. This was a non-profit organization that was established to create high-quality education and training courses to teach speech-language pathology professionals and students the methodology of LSVT LOUD. Personal commitment in time, effort and money was given to ensure fidelity of the treatment that was established in research was the same quality of treatment people and families living with PD were able to receive.

 

LSVT LOUD in Brazil, Greece and Japan


LSVT LOUD in Germany, Italy and Philippines

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Commitment to quality treatment delivery for the person living with PD was of the utmost priority in the implementation process. Dr. Ramig has continued to advance the importance of speech treatment for people with Parkinson disease. She co-founded LSVT Global, Inc. an international organization that provides world-class live and online training for speech therapists around the globe to learn LSVT LOUD and for physical or occupational therapists to learn LSVT BIG. The company also partners and supports numerous Parkinson organizations, events and other charities.

LSVT Global, Inc. was founded by Drs. Lorraine Ramig, Cynthia Fox and David McFarland in 2003.  Today, over 40,000 speech, physical and occupational therapists from 70 countries are trained in LSVT LOUD and LSVT BIG. 

Dr. Ramig has impacted the Parkinson community on a local, regional, national and international level through scientific discoveries which have significantly contributed to the understanding of voice and speech disorders and the successful treatment of these disorders in Parkinson disease. Over the last 25 years, the LSVT Foundation and LSVT Global have trained and certified over 25,000 speech therapists from over 60 countries in evidence-based speech treatment.  In recent years, a nearly equal number of physical and occupational therapists have been trained in the parallel LSVT BIG program. This has impacted individual patients, families, therapists, students, Parkinson patient communities and the Parkinson medical communities around the world.  Millions of lives have likely been touched by the cascading effect of Dr. Ramig’s scientific research, university teaching, clinical implementation and professional training, service to the speech science and Parkinson communities, and pure persistence and dedication to her life’s work.

 

Mrs. Lee Silverman

What started as treatment to improve the quality of life of one woman with PD, Mrs. Lee Silverman, has now grown into a global initiative to enhance the lives of people with PD and their families around the world.

 

 

No longer are speech, physical and occupational therapy referrals only made to address symptoms related to advanced PD. Gone are the days where there was little expectation for improvement or lasting changes in light of a chronic, progressive condition. Today rehabilitation is perceived as effective, crucial to care early in the disease, and as important as medical treatments for primary symptom management.

Congratulations Dr. Ramig! 

Dr. Ramig is a Research Professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder, an Honorary Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, Teachers College-New York City and Chief Scientific Officer of LSVT Global, Inc.-Tucson. She is an Honoree and Fellow of the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) and a member of the Board of Trustees of the ASHFoundation.  For thirty years, Dr. Ramig has been leading the research team that pioneered LSVT LOUD, the first evidence-based speech treatment for Parkinson disease (PD). Funded by the National Institutes of Health-National Institutes of Deafness and Communication Disorders (NIH-NIDCD), this research generated three randomized control trials (RCTs), documenting the short and long-term efficacy of LSVT LOUD as well as basic science studies of speech mechanism and neural changes accompanying treatment.  Fundamentals of LSVT LOUD have been expanded to physical and occupational therapy (LSVT BIG). Today LSVT LOUD is being successfully implemented in 60 countries by over 25,000 speech clinicians.