Cathi A. Thomas, RN, MS, CNRN

Assistant Clinical Professor of Neurology

  • Title Assistant Clinical Professor of Neurology
  • Office Shapiro Building, 725 Albany St., 7th floor, Boston, MA 02118
  • Phone 617-638-7737

Educational Background

Ms. Thomas earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Boston State College in 1979 and a Master of Science in Nursing from Boston University School of Nursing in 1987 as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Neurology and Rehabilitation Nursing. She is ABNN certified in Neuroscience Nursing.  She joined the Boston University School of Medicine Department of Neurology in 1984.

Clinical Care

Ms. Thomas has worked extensively with individuals with Parkinson’s disease and their families.  As a Clinical Nurse Specialist, she has developed programs to assess the impact of Parkinson’s disease on  patient’s and families.


Her research activities have included participation in over fifty research studies and she is an active member of the Parkinson Study Group (PSG).  She was a co-investigator in a NIH-NIA study “Self-Management in Parkinson’s Disease.”  This work examined the role of exercise and education on quality of life. Positive results of this study have led to the ongoing development of “Wellness Exercise Programs” in Massachusetts.  She is currently a co-investigator in the NIH study “Social Self-Management in Parkinson’s.”

Community Outreach & Teaching

As Coordinator of the American Parkinson Disease Association Information and Referral Center, she has participated in over 250 presentations to professional and lay groups.  She regularly speaks to support groups and educates health care professionals about PD.  She has facilitated local and national conferences for the APDA and American Association of Neuroscience Nurses. She is the Site-Director of the PDF Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program.

Professional Affiliations

Ms. Thomas is a member of the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses, Movement Disorders Society,  and Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society.


Ms. Thomas is the recipient of the Salvatore A. Esposito, Sr. Coordinators Award and the American Parkinson Disease Association National Service Award.


Reynolds GO, Saint-Hilaire M, Thomas CA, Barlow DH, Cronin-Golomb A. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety in Parkinson’s Disease. Behav Modif. 2019 Mar 31:145445519838828. doi: 10.1177/0145445519838828. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 30931594.

Ellis T, Latham NK, DeAngelis TR, Thomas CA, Saint-Hilaire M, Bickmore TW. Feasibility of a virtual exercise coach to promote walking in community-dwelling persons with Parkinson disease. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2013 Jun;92(6):472-81; quiz 482-5. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e31828cd466.

Roy SH, Cole BT, Gilmore LD, De Luca CJ, Thomas CA, Saint-Hilaire MM, Nawab SH. High-resolution tracking of motor disorders in Parkinson’s disease during unconstrained activity. Mov Disord. 2013 Jul;28(8):1080-7. doi: 10.1002/mds.25391. Epub 2013 Mar 20.

Vergara-Diaz G, Osypiuk K, Hausdorff JM, Bonato P, Gow BJ, Miranda JG, Sudarsky LR, Tarsy D, Fox MD, Gardiner P, Thomas CA, Macklin EA, Wayne PM. Tai Chi for Reducing Dual-task Gait Variability, a Potential Mediator of Fall Risk in Parkinson’s Disease: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. Glob Adv Health Med. 2018 May 17;7:2164956118775385. doi: 10.1177/2164956118775385. eCollection 2018.

Ellis TD, Cavanaugh JT, DeAngelis T, Hendron K, Thomas CA, Saint-Hilaire M, Pencina K, Latham NK. Comparative Effectiveness of mHealth-Supported Exercise Compared With Exercise Alone for People With Parkinson Disease: Randomized Controlled Pilot Study. Phys Ther. 2019 Feb 1;99(2):203-216. doi: 10.1093/ptj/pzy131.

Sprague Martinez L, Thomas CA, Saint-Hilaire M, McLaren J, Young J, Habermann B, Tickle-Degnen L. Using a Macro Social Work Strategy to Improve Outreach in Parkinson’s Disease Research. Soc Work. 2018 Jul 1;63(3):265-268. doi: 10.1093/sw/swy026.

Berger S, Chen T, Eldridge J, Thomas CA, Habermann B, Tickle-Degnen L. The self-management balancing act of spousal care partners in the case of Parkinson’s disease. Disabil Rehabil. 2019 Apr;41(8):887-895. doi: 10.1080/09638288.2017.1413427. Epub 2017 Dec 12.

Gunnery SD, Habermann B, Saint-Hilaire M, Thomas CA, Tickle-Degnen L. The Relationship between the Experience of Hypomimia and Social Wellbeing in People with Parkinson’s Disease and their Care Partners. J Parkinsons Dis. 2016 Jun 3;6(3):625-30. doi: 10.3233/JPD-160782.

Tickle-Degnen L, Saint-Hilaire M, Thomas CA, Habermann B, Martinez LS, Terrin N, Noubary F, Naumova EN. Emergence and evolution of social self-management of Parkinson’s disease: study protocol for a 3-year prospective cohort study. BMC Neurol. 2014 May 2;14:95. doi: 10.1186/1471-2377-14-95.

Ma HI, Saint-Hilaire M, Thomas CA, Tickle-Degnen L. Stigma as a key determinant of health-related quality of life in Parkinson’s disease. Qual Life Res. 2016 Dec;25(12):3037-3045. Epub 2016 Jun 3.

Vernon GM, Leiningen C, Thomas CA, Dunlop SR. Essential tremor & Parkinson disease: Recognizing the differences. Nurse Pract. 2017 Oct 18;42(10):35-40. doi: 10.1097/01.NPR.0000524667.01599.d0.

Goldman JG, Vernaleo BA, Camicioli R, Dahodwala N, Dobkin RD, Ellis T, Galvin JE, Marras C, Edwards J, Fields J, Golden R, Karlawish J, Levin B, Shulman L, Smith G, Tangney C, Thomas CA, Tröster AI, Uc EY, Coyan N, Ellman C, Ellman M, Hoffman C, Hoffman S, Simmonds D. Cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s disease: a report from a multidisciplinary symposium on unmet needs and future directions to maintain cognitive health. NPJ Parkinsons Dis. 2018 Jun 26;4:19. doi: 10.1038/s41531-018-0055-3. eCollection 2018. Review.

Vernon GM, Carty AE, Salemno CM, Siskind MM, Thomas CA. Understanding Parkinson disease: an evolving case study. Nurse Pract. 2014 Oct 15;39(10):1-10. doi: 10.1097/01.NPR.0000453646.44157.83.

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