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FPTA Spotlight: Melanie Lomaglio, PT, MSc, DPT

Where do you practice?

I, along with my husband David Lomaglio (also a PT), founded STARS Rehab in 2008 in St Augustine, Florida, and I practice out of The Parkinson's and Neurologic Health Center, an interdisciplinary specialized subsidiary of STARS.  More recently, I founded the ReBloom Center, a non-profit organization that provides free group exercise, voice training, education and social support for all people impacted by Parkinson's, and is led by a team of physical therapists and a speech therapist.

Tell us about your practice.

The Parkinson's and Neurologic Health Center is a unique and welcoming space where people impacted by Parkinson's and other neurologic conditions become part of a community and are given access to rehabilitation from time of diagnosis and for life. We follow a "dental model" of care whereby people are seen at least two times a year for a rehab checkup.   If the checkup reveals a problem, one-on-one care is provided to restore lost or fading function or to prevent falls.  If the patient has maintained their functional status, we congratulate them and schedule them for their next checkup. To help prevent mobility or voice and swallow regression between bouts of therapy, we push people into our free group wellness classes.   We offer 11 targeted neuro-fitness classes each week — from singing and yoga, to noncontact boxing and PWR Moves functional training classes at four different challenge levels to meet the unique needs of all people living with a progressive neurologic condition.

What led you to become a PT?

Well, it's simply the best career ever.   Over the years I have been in multiple settings from acute care hospitals, homehealth care, inpatient rehab, academia and currently outpatient private practice. Every setting has allowed professional and personal growth and opportunities that have taken me to the place I am today.  After more than 25 years of practice, I am still excited to get up and make a real difference in people's lives.  Everyone needs a purpose in life to feel fulfilled and to be happy as a human. This career gives me purpose, and my patients reward me everyday with their commitment, hard work and will to fight back against Parkinson's disease.

What’s your favorite thing about being a PT?

My favorite thing about being a PT is that I can change directions within the field of physical therapy and never get bored.   I have worn many hats and will continue to do so.   I am a physical therapist, and at the same time I am a leader, mentor, volunteer and a patient advocate.  One day I will retire knowing that I have made an impact and a difference to both my patients and my profession.


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