Caring for Idaho

Thomas Geriatric Health Symposium

Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, a no-cost, interdisciplinary geriatric health symposium will be held annually for students and clinicians in the rehabilitation sciences. The first symposium was held in December 2008 and focused on mental health. The second symposium will take place on October 30, 2009, during the 22nd Annual Idaho Conference on Health Care. This year's topic is “Balance and Fall Prevention in the Elderly.”


8–9 am Registration and Check-in • Pond Student Union Building, 3rd Floor East Lounge
9–10:45 am Balance and Fall Assessment and Treatment Strategies • PSUB Salmon River Suite Deanna Dye, PhD, PT
Jeff Brockett, EdD, CCC-A
10:45–11 am Break (Visit Sponsor Booths)
11am–12 pm Exercise Prescription in the Elderly to Assist in Fall Prevention • PSUB Salmon River Suite Cindy Seiger, PhD, PT
Alex Urfer, PhD, PT
12-1 pm Lunch break (on your own)
1-2 pm Pathology Related to Balance • PSUB Salmon River Suite Nancy Devine, DPT, PT
2-3 pm Home Safety Interventions for Older Adults with Impaired Balance • PSUB Salmon River Suite Aaron Eakman, PhD, OTR/L


Title of Talk#1: Balance and Fall Assessment and Treatment Strategies (9-10:45 am)

Deanna Dye, PhD, PT

Talk #1, Speaker #1: Deanna Dye, PhD, PT

Bio sketch: Deanna Dye graduated with her PT degree in 1990 from Boston University. Her master’s degree from the University of Wyoming is in adult learning and technology and her PhD is in education from the University of Idaho.

Deanna is currently an Assistant Professor in the Physical Therapist program. Her focus areas are in vestibular disorders, fall prevention, and cardiopulmonary rehab. She co-coordinates and works in the Dizziness and Balance clinic, an interdisciplinary clinic with Audiology. She also conducts and trains individuals for conducting the Fit and Fall Proof Classes offered through the Idaho Public Health District.

She is an active member of the American and Idaho Physical Therapy Association and a member of the Vestibular Disorders Association.

Jeff Brockett, Ed.D., CCC-A

Talk #1, Speaker #2: Jeff Brockett, Ed.D., CCC-A

Bio sketch: Jeff Brockett graduated in 1987 with a master’s degree in Audiology. He later earned an education specialist degree in special education. In 2003, he earned a doctorate in education in instructional technology.

Jeff is currently an Associate Professor and Audiology Program Director in the Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders, and Education of the Deaf. His main interest is in the assessment of the patients with dizziness and/or balance problems. He also enjoys working with patients with hearing loss and amplification technology.

Learning Objectives:
After attending this session, participants will be able to

  1. Determine fall risk of an individual and indications for rehabilitation.
  2. Identify factors that place an individual at risk for falling.
  3. Conduct a 10-minute bedside examination for vestibular involvement and balance deficits.
  4. Recognize various interventions that can help reduce fall risk.
  5. Connect the individual with appropriate healthcare personnel or service according to the identified needs.


Title of Talk #2: Exercise Prescription in the Elderly to Assist in Fall Prevention (11am -12pm)

Alex Urfer, PhD, PT

Talk #2, Speaker #1: Alex Urfer, PhD, PT

Bio sketch: Alex Urfer, PhD, PT is Professor of Physical Therapy and Physiology and the most recent chairperson of Idaho State University’s Department of Physical and Occupational Therapy. His interests in exercise and therapeutic intervention for at risk populations spans 32 years, and he has been active in numerous health promotion activities and grants over that time. His research and teaching interests include the study of exercise interventions for obesity, hypertension, cardiopulmonary pathology and diabetes. He is the recipient of numerous teaching awards, including the 2007 ISU Distinguished Teacher Award.

Talk #2, Speaker #2: Cindy Seiger, PhD, PT

Bio Sketch: Cindy Seiger, PhD, PT, is Clinical Assistant Professor at Idaho State University’s Department of Physical and Occupational Therapy. She received her Physiotherapy degree from the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, and a Ph.D. in Exercise Sciences from Brigham Young University. Dr. Seiger’s areas of specialization include electrotherapy (pulsed shortwave diathermy, ultrasound), joint mobilization/manipulation, orthopedics (spine, ankle, and shoulder), as well as Geriatrics (balance and gait). Currently, she is a master teacher for the Fit & Fall Proof exercise classes held at the Pocatello Senior Center.

Cindy Seiger, PhD, PT

Learning Objectives:
Following this presentation the participant will be able to:

  1. Understand the essential examination and evaluation tools for balance disorders
  2. Develop an understanding of the basic physiology of balance and the relationship with hearing and vision
  3. Understand the major pathologies and disorders which alter balance mechanisms
  4. Understand the use and implications of various exercise prescriptions for the prevention of falls in the elderly or others who are at risk of falling
  5. Identify safety factors in the home for the prevention of falls


Title of Talk #3: Pathology Related to Balance (1-2 pm)

Nancy Devine, DPT, PT

Talk #3, Speaker: Nancy Devine, DPT, PT

Bio sketch: Nancy Devine completed a B.S. degree in physical therapy from the University of Vermont, an M.S. degree in Biology/Neuroanatomy from Idaho State University (ISU) and a doctor of physical therapy degree from the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions. She is a faculty member in the ISU Physical Therapy Program and enjoys working with community members who have a neurological medical diagnosis.

Learning Objectives:
Following this presentation the participant will be able to:

  1. Recognize the three systems (sight, inner ear, sensation) that assist a person to maintain balance.
  2. Recognize how changes in one (or more) of the three systems of balance may contribute to an increased risk for falls.
  3. Identify some common medical diagnoses that may produce changes in balance function of the elderly.


Title of Talk #4: Home Safety Interventions for Older Adults with Impaired Balance (2-3 pm)

Aaron Eakman, PhD, OTR/L

Talk #4, Speaker: Aaron Eakman, PhD, OTR/L

Bio sketch: Aaron M. Eakman, PhD, OTR/L is an assistant professor and Director of the Occupational Therapy program at Idaho State University. He received his PhD in occupational science from the University of Southern California, a Master’s of Science in occupational therapy from Western Michigan University and a Bachelor’s of Science in psychology from the University of North Dakota. His research publications have addressed fall prevention in the long-term care, neuropsychological correlates of instrumental activities of daily living and activity-based cognitive interventions for persons with traumatic brain injury, the application of complexity science to the study of activity, and the development and refinement of measures of meaningful activity for older adults. His present research interests deal with understanding activity routines for persons residing in assisted living and discovering how people maximize their health and well-being through the pursuit of valued, personally meaningful activities.

Learning Objectives:
Following this presentation the participant will be able to:

  1. Understand how daily activities and the home environment may contribute to fall risk.
  2. Become familiar with common activity and home environment modifications to increase home safety.
  3. Understand the role of occupational therapy in reducing fall risks within the home.


Continuing Education

C.E. credit will be available for the Geriatric Health Symposium. The symposium’s four sessions have been reviewed and approved for up to 4.75 prescribed credits (CMEs) by the American Academy of Family Physicians. The Symposium has been approved for up to 4.75 nursing CEUs. Idaho State University is an approved provider of continuing nursing education by the Idaho Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation. Approved provider number INA08-010. The Symposium will also serve nursing home administrators and residential care facility administrators as well as occupational and physical therapists towards their licensing requirements; a certificate of completion will be provided. Please plan to attend all sessions and sign attendance sheets to receive C.E. credit.


The Geriatric Health Symposium is free of charge thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor but pre-registration is REQUIRED to attend. To pre-register, please complete and return the form below by October 15, 2009. One person per form; duplicate as necessary. For further information, call (208) 282-3155 or email

Thomas Geriatric Health Symposium Registration form

Last Modified: 02/22/11 at 08:25:02 AM