Cathi A. Thomas, MS

Assistant Professor of Neurology

  • Title Assistant Professor of Neurology
  • Office Shapiro Building, 725 Albany St., 7th floor, Boston, MA 02118
  • Phone 617-638-7737
  • Education Boston University, MS
    Boston State College, BSN

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.


Girnis JL, Cavanaugh JT, Baker TC, Duncan RP, Fulford D, LaValley MP, Lawrence M, Nordahl T, Porciuncula F, Rawson KS, Saint-Hilaire M, Thomas CA, Zajac JA, Earhart GM, Ellis TD. Natural Walking Intensity in Persons With Parkinson Disease. J Neurol Phys Ther. 2023 Jul 1;47(3):146-154. doi: 10.1097/NPT.0000000000000440. Epub 2023 Apr 4. PMID: 37016469; PMCID: PMC10330027.

Saint-Hilaire MH, Thomas CA. Delivering a Diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease and Parkinsonism with Wisdom and Sensitivity. Semin Neurol. 2023 Feb;43(1):178-184. doi: 10.1055/s-0043-1763509. Epub 2023 Feb 28. PMID: 36854395.

Zajac JA, Cavanaugh JT, Baker T, Duncan RP, Fulford D, Girnis J, LaValley M, Nordahl T, Porciuncula F, Rawson KS, Saint-Hilaire M, Thomas CA, Earhart GM, Ellis TD. Does clinically measured walking capacity contribute to real-world walking performance in Parkinson’s disease? Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2022 Dec;105:123-127. doi: 10.1016/j.parkreldis.2022.11.016. Epub 2022 Nov 15. PMID: 36423521; PMCID: PMC9722599.

Zajac JA, Cavanaugh JT, Baker T, Colón-Semenza C, DeAngelis TR, Duncan RP, Fulford D, LaValley M, Nordahl T, Rawson KS, Saint-Hilaire M, Thomas CA, Earhart GM, Ellis TD. Are Mobile Persons With Parkinson Disease Necessarily More Active? J Neurol Phys Ther. 2021 Oct 1;45(4):259-265. doi: 10.1097/NPT.0000000000000362. PMID: 34091569; PMCID: PMC8460597.

Ellis TD, Colón-Semenza C, DeAngelis TR, Thomas CA, Hilaire MS, Earhart GM, Dibble LE. Evidence for Early and Regular Physical Therapy and Exercise in Parkinson’s Disease. Semin Neurol. 2021 Apr;41(2):189-205. doi: 10.1055/s-0041-1725133. Epub 2021 Mar 19. PMID: 33742432; PMCID: PMC8678920.

Rawson KS, Cavanaugh JT, Colon-Semenza C, DeAngelis T, Duncan RP, Fulford D, LaValley MP, Mazzoni P, Nordahl T, Quintiliani LM, Saint-Hilaire M, Thomas CA, Earhart GM, Ellis TD. Design of the WHIP-PD study: a phase II, twelve-month, dual-site, randomized controlled trial evaluating the effects of a cognitive- behavioral approach for promoting enhanced walking activity using mobile health technology in people with Parkinson-disease. BMC Neurol. 2020 Apr 20;20(1):146. doi: 10.1186/s12883-020-01718-z. PMID: 32312243; PMCID: PMC7171812.

Tickle-Degnen L, Stevenson MT, Gunnery SD, Saint-Hilaire M, Thomas CA, Sprague Martinez L, Habermann B, Naumova EN. Profile of social self-management practices in daily life with Parkinson’s disease is associated with symptom severity and health quality of life. Disabil Rehabil. 2021 Nov;43(22):3212-3224. doi: 10.1080/09638288.2020.1741035. Epub 2020 Apr 1. PMID: 32233702; PMCID: PMC7529710.

Reynolds GO, Saint-Hilaire M, Thomas CA, Barlow DH, Cronin-Golomb A. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety in Parkinson’s Disease. Behav Modif. 2020 Jul;44(4):552-579. doi: 10.1177/0145445519838828. Epub 2019 Mar 31. PMID: 30931594; PMCID: PMC8137685.

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. PMID: 30715489.

Ma HI, Gunnery SD, Stevenson MT, Saint-Hilaire M, Thomas CA, Tickle-Degnen L. Experienced facial masking indirectly compromises quality of life through stigmatization of women and men with Parkinson’s disease. Stigma Health. 2019;4(4):462-472. doi: 10.1037/sah0000168. PMID: 33225063; PMCID: PMC7678084.

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. PMID: 29951580; PMCID: PMC6018742.

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. PMID: 29796338; PMCID: PMC5960860.

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. PMID: 29722873.

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. PMID: 29228835; PMCID: PMC6179928.

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. PMID: 28926496.

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. PMID: 27285568; PMCID: PMC5003752.

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. doi: 10.1007/s11136-016-1329-z. Epub 2016 Jun 3. PMID: 27259581; PMCID: PMC5106304.

Sparrow D, DeAngelis TR, Hendron K, Thomas CA, Saint-Hilaire M, Ellis T. Highly Challenging Balance Program Reduces Fall Rate in Parkinson Disease. J Neurol Phys Ther. 2016 Jan;40(1):24-30. doi: 10.1097/NPT.0000000000000111. PMID: 26655100; PMCID: PMC4681297.

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. PMID: 25225972.

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. PMID: 24885181; PMCID: PMC4016672.

Parkinson Study Group QE3 Investigators; Beal MF, Oakes D, Shoulson I, Henchcliffe C, Galpern WR, Haas R, Juncos JL, Nutt JG, Voss TS, Ravina B, Shults CM, Helles K, Snively V, Lew MF, Griebner B, Watts A, Gao S, Pourcher E, Bond L, Kompoliti K, Agarwal P, Sia C, Jog M, Cole L, Sultana M, Kurlan R, Richard I, Deeley C, Waters CH, Figueroa A, Arkun A, Brodsky M, Ondo WG, Hunter CB, Jimenez-Shahed J, Palao A, Miyasaki JM, So J, Tetrud J, Reys L, Smith K, Singer C, Blenke A, Russell DS, Cotto C, Friedman JH, Lannon M, Zhang L, Drasby E, Kumar R, Subramanian T, Ford DS, Grimes DA, Cote D, Conway J, Siderowf AD, Evatt ML, Sommerfeld B, Lieberman AN, Okun MS, Rodriguez RL, Merritt S, Swartz CL, Martin WR, King P, Stover N, Guthrie S, Watts RL, Ahmed A, Fernandez HH, Winters A, Mari Z, Dawson TM, Dunlop B, Feigin AS, Shannon B, Nirenberg MJ, Ogg M, Ellias SA, Thomas CA, Frei K, Bodis-Wollner I, Glazman S, Mayer T, Hauser RA, Pahwa R, Langhammer A, Ranawaya R, Derwent L, Sethi KD, Farrow B, Prakash R, Litvan I, Robinson A, Sahay A, Gartner M, Hinson VK, Markind S, Pelikan M, Perlmutter JS, Hartlein J, Molho E, Evans S, Adler CH, Duffy A, Lind M, Elmer L, Davis K, Spears J, Wilson S, Leehey MA, Hermanowicz N, Niswonger S, Shill HA, Obradov S, Rajput A, Cowper M, Lessig S, Song D, Fontaine D, Zadikoff C, Williams K, Blindauer KA, Bergholte J, Propsom CS, Stacy MA, Field J, Mihaila D, Chilton M, Uc EY, Sieren J, Simon DK, Kraics L, Silver A, Boyd JT, Hamill RW, Ingvoldstad C, Young J, Thomas K, Kostyk SK, Wojcieszek J, Pfeiffer RF, Panisset M, Beland M, Reich SG, Cines M, Zappala N, Rivest J, Zweig R, Lumina LP, Hilliard CL, Grill S, Kellermann M, Tuite P, Rolandelli S, Kang UJ, Young J, Rao J, Cook MM, Severt L, Boyar K. A randomized clinical trial of high-dosage coenzyme Q10 in early Parkinson disease: no evidence of benefit. JAMA Neurol. 2014 May;71(5):543-52. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2014.131. PMID: 24664227.

Parkinson Study Group SURE-PD Investigators; Schwarzschild MA, Ascherio A, Beal MF, Cudkowicz ME, Curhan GC, Hare JM, Hooper DC, Kieburtz KD, Macklin EA, Oakes D, Rudolph A, Shoulson I, Tennis MK, Espay AJ, Gartner M, Hung A, Bwala G, Lenehan R, Encarnacion E, Ainslie M, Castillo R, Togasaki D, Barles G, Friedman JH, Niles L, Carter JH, Murray M, Goetz CG, Jaglin J, Ahmed A, Russell DS, Cotto C, Goudreau JL, Russell D, Parashos SA, Ede P, Saint-Hilaire MH, Thomas CA, James R, Stacy MA, Johnson J, Gauger L, Antonelle de Marcaida J, Thurlow S, Isaacson SH, Carvajal L, Rao J, Cook M, Hope-Porche C, McClurg L, Grasso DL, Logan R, Orme C, Ross T, Brocht AF, Constantinescu R, Sharma S, Venuto C, Weber J, Eaton K. Inosine to increase serum and cerebrospinal fluid urate in Parkinson disease: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Neurol. 2014 Feb;71(2):141-50. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2013.5528. PMID: 24366103; PMCID: PMC3940333.

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. PMID: 23552335; PMCID: PMC4266140.

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. PMID: 23520058; PMCID: PMC6267776.

Tickle-Degnen L, Ellis T, Saint-Hilaire MH, Thomas CA, Wagenaar RC. Self- management rehabilitation and health-related quality of life in Parkinson’s disease: a randomized controlled trial. Mov Disord. 2010 Jan 30;25(2):194-204. doi: 10.1002/mds.22940. PMID: 20077478; PMCID: PMC2831132.

Miller JW, Selhub J, Nadeau MR, Thomas CA, Feldman RG, Wolf PA. Effect of L-dopa on plasma homocysteine in PD patients: relationship to B-vitamin status. Neurology. 2003 Apr 8;60(7):1125-9. doi: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000055899.24594.8e. PMID: 12682318.

Taylor CA, Saint-Hilaire MH, Cupples LA, Thomas CA, Burchard AE, Feldman RG, Myers RH. Environmental, medical, and family history risk factors for Parkinson’s disease: a New England-based case control study. Am J Med Genet. 1999 Dec 15;88(6):742-9. PMID: 10581500.

Joost O, Taylor CA, Thomas CA, Cupples LA, Saint-Hilaire MH, Feldman RG, Baldwin CT, Myers RH. Absence of effect of seven functional mutations in the CYP2D6 gene in Parkinson’s disease. Mov Disord. 1999 Jul;14(4):590-5. doi: 10.1002/1531-8257(199907)14:4<590::aid-mds1007>;2-2. PMID: 10435495.


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