Early Achievement in Outreach Award
Established to recognize an individual for evidence of outstanding performance in statewide leadership in extension and/or for professional practice and national recognition of contributions to outreach activities.
Department of Kinesiology
Elizabeth Stegemöller is improving the lives of people with Parkinson’s disease. Since joining Iowa State’s kinesiology faculty in 2013, she has established herself as a leader in not only research related to Parkinson’s disease, but also outreach efforts to touch the lives of those affected by its symptoms.
In summer 2014, Stegemöller started an Ames singing group for those with Parkinson’s disease. Her research demonstrated that singing improves breath control and swallowing, areas of difficulty for many with Parkinson’s disease. The group has received national recognition for its positive results.
With the help of an Engaged Scholarship Funding Program Award through Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Stegemöller expanded the program to record her singing sessions and create a virtual singing group for a rural setting. In areas where credentialed music therapists are scarce, the virtual group will reach individuals who would otherwise never have the opportunity.
Stegemöller also designed a weekly music and movement program in collaboration with a kinesiology department colleague and a student who had a passion for dance. The program assists people with Parkinson’s disease to improve balance and mobility, also helping their cognitive functioning. An additional music and movement dancing group recently started in Des Moines.
More recently, a boxing program was added to the weekly schedule of outreach groups. This group also helps to improve balance and mobility.
In addition to leading these weekly groups, Stegemöller answers countless phone calls from persons who have questions about Parkinson’s disease. She provides a yearly Parkinson’s Disease Research Forum, travels to numerous Parkinson’s disease support groups across Iowa (and into Missouri), and presents lectures for the Iowa chapter of the American Parkinson’s Disease Association.
Stegemöller has built a reputation as a hardworking, generous, passionate, and personable researcher who is committed to serving others through her outreach efforts.