CureDuchenne Launches Occupational Therapist Certification Program to Improve Care for Individuals with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
Leading Global Nonprofit Expands Professional Training Program to Meet Specialized Needs of Individuals with the Neuromuscular Disease
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., (October 10, 2022) – CureDuchenne, a global leader in research, patient care and innovation for improving and extending the lives of those with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, today launched the CureDuchenne Occupational Therapist Certification Program. The CureDuchenne Occupational Therapist Certification Program provides advanced training to help occupational therapists deliver superior care to meet the specialized needs of individuals with Duchenne as they develop and maintain the skills needed for daily living, working, and independence. The program builds on the organization’s Physical Therapist Certification program, the first program of its kind specifically designed to help individuals living with Duchenne prolong ambulation and delay many areas of disease progression.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a fatal genetic disease that affects roughly 1 in 5,000 male births, and more than 300,000 individuals around the world live with Duchenne. Individuals with this aggressive muscle-wasting disease are typically diagnosed as toddlers, lose the ability to walk
in by their early-teens and often succumb to the disease in their mid-20s. There is no cure, and few treatment options exist to change the disease’s prognosis, but proper physical therapy and occupational therapy are critical to maintaining mobility, flexibility, and quality of life for people living with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Beneficial at all stages and ages of the disease, therapy even has the potential to delay Duchenne’s progression and significantly improve quality of life. However, the unique aspects of the rare disease require a specialized set of skills and knowledge for physical and occupational therapists so that they do not cause muscle injury to patients who are already at risk for severe muscle degeneration.
“When it comes to Duchenne, no two individuals are alike. Each person requires a flexible, individualized treatment plan to provide the greatest benefit and they need specially trained experts to help them,” said Debra Miller, founder and CEO of CureDuchenne. “CureDuchenne’s professional certification program is a seal of approval from industry experts. People living with Duchenne can have confidence that therapists who have completed the program are qualified providers with the knowledge and expertise to offer the highest standard of care.”
Through this program, CureDuchenne Certified Physical and Occupational Therapists are equipped with the knowledge of what stretches, exercises, home program routines and medical equipment are most beneficial, and least harmful, for individuals with Duchenne. These therapists receive ongoing training and assessments, ensuring they are up to date on the most current practices.
Danielle Forrest, OTR, OTD, developed the program’s curriculum in partnership with CureDuchenne. Forrest is an occupational therapist at Children’s Health Rehabilitation and Therapy Services in Dallas, TX, with nine years of experience in pediatrics at Children’s Health. She recently completed her doctorate with a focus on educating occupational therapists about Duchenne and is involved in clinical trials for patients with Duchenne.
“CureDuchenne has a long track record of serving the Duchenne community with the very best expertise and most current standards of care,” said Forrest. “I’m very excited to join them in launching this critically important professional program so that everyone living with Duchenne can find accessible ways to fully participate in life.”
CureDuchenne’s Professional Program is consistently at the forefront of the field, evolving new methods and techniques to provide optimal care and training therapists in distant corners of the world. Offering both online and in-person professional training, the program reaches clinics in rural areas and allied healthcare professionals across borders. Since the Professional Program’s inception in 2015, CureDuchenne has trained 1,500 physical therapists through professional courses, including through accessible online programs.
CureDuchenne Certified Occupational Therapist certification process and requirements include passing an examination on course materials, submission and approval of required documents, and annual recertification requirements. Skills will be maintained through annual recertification requirements and ongoing interaction with the CureDuchenne Professional Development team. For more information, please visit www.cureduchenne.org/occupational-therapy or contact Education@CureDuchenne.org.
CureDuchenne is recognized as a global leader in research, patient care and innovation for improving and extending the lives of those with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. As the leading genetic killer of young boys, Duchenne affects more than 300,000 individuals living today. CureDuchenne is dedicated to finding and funding a cure for Duchenne by breaking the traditional charitable mold through an innovative venture philanthropy model that funds groundbreaking research, early diagnosis, and community education. For more information on how to help raise awareness and funds needed for research, please visit www.cureduchenne.org.