Board of Directors
PD Gladiators, Inc. is a Georgia nonprofit corporation. We are governed by a Board of Directors currently consisting of the following members:
Sarah Blanchard, MS: Sarah is a personal trainer and wellness coach at her studio in the Decatur area. She
is a person with Parkinson’s disease. In 1992, she earned her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of California at Santa Cruz in History. She earned her Master’s Degree in Exercise Science with an emphasis in Wellness and Health Promotion from Georgia State University in 2001. She also received training through Wellcoaches to help individuals make lasting health related behavior change. Sarah is an active participant in PD Gladiators classes and is passionate about movement and its’ effects on health. She serves as Chair of our Program Committee.
Krista Boniecki, PT, DPT: Krista is as a physical therapist at WellStar Kennestone Neuro Rehabilitation in Marietta, Georgia. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Florida State University and received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy in 2009 from the University of North Florida. Krista specializes in the treatment of neurologic disorders, with an emphasis on Parkinson’s disease. She is a certified LSVT® BIG therapist and a member of the American Physical Therapy Association. Krista serves as Chair of our Volunteer Coordination Committee.
Andrew Friede, MD, MPH: Andy is a Registered Mediator at Cerulean Mediation. He is a senior leader and business-focused expert with 30 years of experience in leadership, strategic planning, management, medicine, public health, analytics, informatics, business and business development, finances, marketing, M&A, relationship development, dispute resolution, and strategic alignment. He is a former Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at SRA International and served as Branch Chief and Medical Epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Andy serves as Chair of our Grant Writing Committee.
Larry Kahn, JD: A 1985 graduate of Yale Law School, Larry is a retired tax attorney specializing in international mergers & acquisitions, a novelist and a person with Parkinson’s disease. He is active in the Atlanta Parkinson’s community and is a true believer in the medicinal value of vigorous and varied exercise. Larry is also a director of the Livramento Delgado Boxing Foundation, Inc. and the Yellow River Center, Inc., Georgia nonprofit corporations dedicated to providing PD-specific exercise opportunities to people with Parkinson’s disease and their care partners. He serves as the President and Chairman of the Board of PD Gladiators and Chair of our Consumer Outreach Committee.
Rozina Merchant, PT, DPT: Rozina is as a physical therapist at WellStar Kennestone Neuro Rehabilitation in Marietta, Georgia. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences from the University of Western Ontario and received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy in 2011 from the Emory University School of Medicine. Rozina specializes in the treatment of neurologic disorders, with an emphasis on Parkinson’s disease. She is a certified LSVT® BIG therapist. Rozina serves as Chair of our Therapist Outreach Committee.
Amy Morse, PT, DPT: Amy is as a physical therapist at Emory Neurological Rehab at Brain Health Center in Atlanta. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Exercise/Sports Science from Elon University and received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy in 2011 from the Medical University of South Carolina. Amy specializes in the treatment of neurologic disorders, with an emphasis on Movement Disorders. She is a certified LSVT® BIG therapist and a trained PWR! clinician. Amy teaches Parkinson’s Disease lab to Doctorate of Physical Therapy students at Emory University and Georgia State University. She volunteers with the National Parkinson Foundation Moving Day® Atlanta and coordinated volunteer physical therapists and DPT students for Livramento Delgado Boxing Foundation’s PD Gladiators Boxing Training for PD program. Amy serves as Chair of our Clinician Outreach Committee.
Brian Taylor: Brian is a realtor at Ansley Atlanta Real Estate. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Finance. He moved to Atlanta in 2008 to start a career with PricewaterhouseCoopers as an auditor. After figuring out that he worked way too much and was not personally fulfilled, he made a move into the tennis arena. He taught tennis at the Carl E Sanders YMCA and most recently at Ansley Golf Club as the Head Tennis Professional of the Adult Program. Brian is also a director of the YMCA of Metro Atlanta and the Chair of our Fundraiser Event Committee.
Board Advisors: The following individuals participate in the deliberations of, and advise, the PD Gladiators Board of Directors and serve on the volunteer committees that conduct the day-to-day operations of the organization.
Madeleine E. Hackney, PhD: Dr. Hackney serves as PD Gladiator’s Research Advisor. She is a Research Health Scientist at the Atlanta VA Center for Visual and Neurocognitive Rehabilitation and an Assistant professor of Medicine in the division of General Medicine and Geriatrics at the Emory School of Medicine. She holds a Ph.D. in Movement Science from Washington University and a BFA in Dance from NYU, Tisch School of the Arts and has also been an American Council on Exercise certified personal trainer since 2000. Dr. Hackney’s extensive research interests include inquiry into challenging exercise programs–traditional exercise, Tai Chi and partnered tango classes–designed to improve physical function and quality of life in people with PD, older adults and those with serious mental illness. In 2014, she co-founded MDT Education Solutions, which has trained dozens of fitness and allied health professionals how to develop and lead safe, evidence-based exercise programs for people with PD at all stages of the disease, including almost all instructors in the PD Gladiators Metro Atlanta Fitness Network (including the YMCA of Metro Atlanta). She posts a popular blog on the PD Gladiators website, “The Exercise Files: A Researcher’s Perspective.”
Jorge L. Juncos, MD: Dr. Juncos serves as PD Gladiator’s Medical Advisor. He is Associate Professor of Neurology at Emory University School of Medicine and a practicing movement disorder specialist and clinical investigator in the Emory Movement Disorders Program. A graduate of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, he served residencies in internal medicine at Roosevelt Hospital in NYC and neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital. He did research in Parkinson’s at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center and at the Salpetriere Hospital in Paris, France. He is the co-author of over 70 scientific publications and has a keen interest in studies on the effect of exercise on Parkinson’s disease patients. Dr. Juncos is the Medical Director on the Executive Board of the Georgia Chapter of the American Parkinson Disease Association. He served as a director of PD Gladiators from 2014 to 2016.
Kelly Lukridge: Kelly serves as PD Gladiator’s YMCA Liaison. She is the Wellness Director of the Carl E. Sanders Family YMCA in Buckhead and instructs the Parkinson’s Movement Class at that branch as part of the PD Gladiators at the Y program. A 2012 graduate from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Exercise Science Health Fitness, Kelly has a passion for educating individuals on ways to incorporate lifestyle changes to improve their overall health and physical well-being. As YMCA Liaison, Kelly will participate actively in PD Gladiators’ management, seeking to find synergistic opportunities that strengthen the YMCA’s “PD Gladiators at the Y” program and PD Gladiators’ mission.
The Board of Directors is also advised by the members of the Parkinson’s community on our Advisory Board.
Annie Long: Annie serves as PD Gladiator’s Associate Director and is responsible for the day-to-day administration of all program-related organizational matters. A 2006 graduate from Texas Christian University with a degree in English, she has a passion for PD Gladiators’ mission—her mom is a Gladiator, too. Annie brings a decade of nonprofit experience to PD Gladiators, including leadership experience as the National Manager, Signature Events for the National Parkinson Foundation. Before her promotion to National Manager, she launched the inaugural Moving Day Atlanta event for the National Parkinson Foundation in 2013. Her prior experience as a communications consultant positions her well to lead PD Gladiators’ outreach efforts.