Life Rebalanced Live

VeDA's Annual

Virtual Conference

March 4-8, 2024

open now

About Life Rebalanced Live

The Vestibular Disorders Association will be hosting its fourth annual Virtual Vestibular Conference. Vestibular disorders cause a variety of disorienting and debilitating symptoms such as loss of coordination, vertigo, and dizziness, leaving desperate and confused patients searching for answers.

Patients will hear from several different experts on topics relevant to the vestibular disorders community, all from the comfort of their homes. Patients will also have the ability to ask specific questions directly to the speakers.

Free admission includes:

  • Access to five live presentations by premier vestibular healthcare providers.
  • Each presentation is followed by a panel of patients discussing their experience on that day's topic.
  • Closed captions for live presentations and panels.
  • Ability to watch the recorded presentations for 24-hours after the conclusion of the session.
  • Access to online chat rooms where you can ask questions of presenters and connect directly with other participants.

Conference Schedule

February 26 - March 3, 2024
Monday-Friday
9:00a-2:00p PST/12:00p-5:00p EST/5:00pm-10:00pm GMT
Technical Support

Get help accessing the conference platform

All Day
Social Hour

Connect with the vestibular community by engaging in icebreakers and chatting in the community discussion boards

March 4, 2024: Vestibular Migraine, PPPD, and Central Vestibular Disorders
9:00a-10:00a PST/12:00p-1:00p EST/5:00pm-6:00pm GMT
Fireside Chat

With Kristen Steenerson, MD

10:00a-11:00a PST/1:00p-2:00p EST/6:00pm-7:00pm GMT
Patient Panel

With Brian Platzer (PPPD) and Darilys Matos Acevedo (Vestibular Migraine, PPPD)

March 5, 2024: Tinnitus (Ringing in the ears)
9:00a-10:00a PST/12:00p-1:00p EST/5:00pm-6:00pm GMT
Fireside Chat

With Robert Allen, AuD

10:00a-11:00a PST/1:00p-2:00p EST/6:00pm-7:00pm GMT
Patient Panel

With Glenn Schweitzer (Meniere's Disease) and Steve Schwier (Meniere's Disease)

March 6, 2024: How Vestibular Disorders Are Diagnosed
9:00a-10:00a PST/12:00p-1:00p EST/5:00pm-6:00pm GMT
Fireside Chat

With Jeffrey Sharon, MD

10:00a-11:00a PST/1:00p-2:00p EST/6:00pm-7:00pm GMT
Patient Panel

With Mary Ziegler (Ménière's Disease, Vestibular Migraine) and Pat Filipek (Vestibular Migraine and BPPV)

March 7, 2024: Chronic Imbalance From Bilateral Vestibular Hypofunction
9:00a-10:00a PST/12:00p-1:00p EST/5:00pm-6:00pm GMT
Fireside Chat

With Raymond van de Berg, MD, PhD and Amanda Chiao, AuD, PhD, CCC-A

10:00a-11:00a PST/1:00p-2:00p EST/6:00pm-7:00pm GMT
Patient Panel

With Donna McKinney (Bilateral Vestibular Hypofunction) and Kalyn Asher (Bilateral Vestibular Hypofunction)

March 8, 2024: Neurologic Rehabilitation For Vestibular Disorders
9:00a-10:00a PST/12:00p-1:00p EST/5:00pm-6:00pm GMT
Fireside Chat

With Rachel Wellons, PT, DPT, NCS

10:00a-11:00a PST/1:00p-2:00p EST/6:00pm-7:00pm GMT
Patient Panel

With Christine Moyer (PPPD) and Geri McNiece (Vestibular Migraine, PPPD, BPPV)

Hosts

Drs. Danielle Tolman and Abbie Ross facilitate the "fireside chat" discussions with our healthcare experts, and vestibular patients, Heather Davies and Patrick Parkinson, moderate the patient panels.

Danielle Tolman Headshot

Danielle Tolman, DPT
Balancing Act Rehabilitation

Dr. Danielle Tolman, PT is a physical therapist who specializes in the evaluation and treatment of patients with vestibular and balance dysfunction. She obtained her BA in Healthcare Management and her doctorate degree in physical therapy from Misericordia University and is a self-proclaimed “Vestibuloholic”, which is “a person who is addicted to, or excessively fond of the vestibular system, its dysfunction, and the treatment of its dysfunction.”  In combination with her passion of working with patients living with vertigo and dizziness, she developed an educational 3D printed model of the vestibular apparatus for both patient and clinician education. Along the lines of education, she teamed up with Dr. Abbie Ross, DPT, NCS to create a podcast/YouTube series called “Talk Dizzy To Me”, where they interview experts and patients about various topics pertaining to vestibular dysfunction. In addition, Dr. Ross and Dr. Tolman developed patient-focused courses to empower those living with dizziness and vestibular dysfunction with the knowledge of how to improve quality of life. 

She completed the Vestibular Competency Course presented by Duke University School of Medicine & the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) in Atlanta, Georgia and is LSVT Big certified for the therapeutic treatment of Parkinson’s Disease. She also served on the Vestibular Disorders Association’s (VeDA) board for 3 years. 

Abbie Ross headshot

Abbie Ross, PT, DPT, NCS
Balancing Act Rehabilitation

Dr. Abbie Ross is a physical therapist with board-certification in neurologic rehabilitation, which includes the evaluation and treatment of vestibular and balance dysfunction. She obtained her BA in Biology from Le Moyne College and her doctorate degree in physical therapy from Upstate Medical University, both located in Syracuse, NY. With countless hours of additional training in the management of symptoms associated with vestibular dysfunction, including the Vestibular Competency Course presented by Duke University School of Medicine & the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), her passion is empowering people on their vestibular journey to regain control of their life by learning how to effectively manage symptoms.

 

In 2018, Dr. Ross founded one of the first virtual physical therapy practices in the nation and continues to provide one-on-one vestibular rehabilitation services. Expanding Balancing Act’s services, she teamed up with Dr. Danielle Tolman to create a podcast/YouTube series called “Talk Dizzy to Me”, publish complimentary information across social media platforms, and develop self-help courses to empower patients to feel better, faster. She also proudly serves on the Vestibular Disorders Association’s (VedA) board.

Heather Davies

Heather Davies
Meniere's Disease Patient

Heather began having 1-2 episodes of vertigo yearly in the late 1990s.  In October 2016, she began having pressure and numbness on the right side of her head that radiated down the side of her face, along with tinnitus and body weakness.  As her symptoms intensified, they were joined by vertigo that she experienced daily for nearly 6 months, along with hyperacusis, dizziness and a multitude of other symptoms.  These symptoms forced her to take a leave of absence from her nursing career, step down from teaching fitness classes, withdraw from college and surrender her driver’s license.  While attending numerous doctor’s appointments, trying to figure out what was happening to the body she no longer recognized, she spiraled into a deep depression.  Finally came a diagnosis, then trials of medication until finding what worked for her.  Through meditation, journaling, nutritional changes, vestibular rehab, yoga, learning to love herself again and making her family's dreams her driving force, she continues to learn how to live her best life despite the symptoms. In early 2022, Heather started the Meniere’s Muse podcast for Vestibular Warriors to share their personal journeys, in hopes that the power of connection will give hope and inspiration to others living with vestibular disorders. She believes together we find our strength by empowering each other to move forward in our journeys, by learning to lean on and support one another so no one feels alone.

Patrick Parkinson

Patrick Parkinson
Meniere's Disease Patient

I was diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease when I was 15 years old. I managed the classic Meniere’s symptoms (fluctuating hearing loss, episodic vertigo, ear pressure, brain fog etc.) pretty well for the first 10 years through college and early career, but they slowly started worsening for the next 6 years until I eventually had to leave work due to months of daily vertigo. 
 
My recovery journey took me to the true roots of many of my symptoms and empowered me with new tools to unwind them. I'm now on a journey to help others live their fullest life in the face of Meniere's and other vestibular conditions as the owner of My Meniere's Coach
 
Please feel free to learn more at https://www.mymenierescoach.com/ or follow along on my Instagram at my.meniere's.coach

Expert Speakers

 

Kristen Steenerson

Kristen Steenerson, MD
Neurologist

Kristen Steenerson is a board-certified neurologist with fellowship training in otoneurology. After graduating cum laude from Claremont McKenna College where she was honored as an All-American in lacrosse, she continued on to medical school at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. After four years of medical training and annual ski passes, she proceeded to the Mayo Clinic in Arizona for neurology residency. There, she discovered the beauty of the Sonoran Desert as well as an unmet need in balance disorders and vertigo, motivating her to pursue a fellowship in otoneurology at Barrow Neurological Institute. She joined Stanford University in 2017 with positions in both Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery and Neurology to jointly address the junction of inner ear and brain disorders. Her specific interests include vestibular migraine, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, PPPD, Ménière's disease and international neurology.

Robert Allen

Robert Allen, AuD
Audiologist

Robert Allen, Au.D, is the clinical director, lead clinician, and co-founder of Topple Diagnostics.

Dr. Allen earned his Communication Sciences and Disorders undergraduate degree from University of Texas before starting his Doctor of Audiology program at Auburn University. While in training, Dr. Allen sub-specialized in evaluating and managing patients suffering from dizziness and balance dysfunction.

He returned home to Atlanta, GA to begin practicing and help patients in need. Dr. Allen aims to provide quick 
and easy access to vestibular diagnostic services so patients can be seen faster and begin their next steps toward healing sooner. He also offers complete management so that his patients and our referring medical providers are informed with the recommendations for next steps in care. Dr. Allen utilizes a comprehensive and patient centered approach to evaluation and management. This ensures that each patient is fully evaluated while also making sure that no unnecessary testing is performed.

In his spare time Dr. Allen enjoys competing in triathlons, watching Texas Longhorns football, and spending time with his wife and two children.

Jeff Sharon

Jeffrey Sharon, MD
Neurotologist

Dr. Jeffrey D. Sharon is an associate professor of otology, neurotology, and skull base surgery at UCSF. He is also the director of the balance and falls center.   He is originally from New Jersey, and completed a residency in otolaryngology at Washington University in Saint Louis, and a fellowship in skull base surgery at Johns Hopkins.  Clinically, he is active in treating patients with hearing loss, vestibular disorders, and skull base tumors like vestibular schwannoma.  His research interests focus on the vestibular system, and trying to find more effective treatments for dizzy patients.

Raymond van de Berg

Raymond van de Berg, MD, PhD
Otorhinolaryngologist

Raymond van de Berg is Professor and ENT-surgeon at Maastricht University Medical Center, with a special interest in vestibular disorders and cochlear implantation. His research initiatives mainly focus on the vestibular implant, bilateral vestibulopathy and vestibular diagnostics. He obtained his first PhD (in medicine) cum laude, which won several scientific prizes. A second PhD was obtained in biophysics (maximum score). He is also head of the Department of Audiology, Head of the Vestibular Department and Chair of the Bárány Society Educational Committee.

Amanda Chiao

Amanda Chiao, AuD, PhD, CCC-A
Audiologist

Amanda Chiao (she/her/hers) is an Assistant Professor and the Director of the Pediatrics and Vestibular Evaluation Laboratory at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, Department of Surgery. Dr. Chiao is also a pediatric audiologist at El Paso Children’s Hospital where her clinical expertise includes audiological and vestibular diagnostic testing in infants and children, and concussion. She received her Au.D. and Ph.D. in Audiology and Vestibular Function-Assessment from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock. Following, she completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Boys Town National Research Hospital focusing on pediatric vestibular function and assessment. Dr. Chiao was a prior faculty member at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where her research focused on vestibular deficits following sports concussion and funded work on oto-vestibulotoxicity from substance misuse. Dr. Chiao recently relocated back to her hometown of El Paso, Texas to be a practicing cand researcher within her own community. Dr. Chiao’s research interests continue with her funded work in studying oto-vestibulotoxicity among people with substance use disorders and understanding the otologic and audiologic health disparities among Latinos and underserved patient populations.

Rachel Wellons

Rachel Wellons, PT, DPT, NCS
Physical Therapist

Rachel Wellons, PT, DPT, NCS received her Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences in 2002, followed by a Masters in Physical Therapy in 2003 from the University of Scranton and transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Thomas Jefferson University in 2006. Dr. Wellons practiced physical therapy full time from 2003 to 2010 in Acute Care, Outpatient, and Inpatient Rehabilitation settings.  She became a Board Certified Specialist in Neurologic Physical Therapy in 2009.  Dr. Wellons attended the APTA Vestibular Rehabilitation Competency course in 2008, followed by the Advanced Vestibular Rehabilitation Course in 2010.  Dr. Wellons ran the Vestibular Rehabilitation Program at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital from 2006-2010.

Dr. Wellons joined the faculty at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans in January 2011 at the rank of Assistant Professor of Clinical Physical Therapy was promoted to Associate Professor of Physical Therapy in 2018.  Her teaching responsibilities include neurorehabilitation courses, prosthetics and orthotics, and a professionalism course.  Dr Wellons has been involved with the Vestibular Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy (ANPT) for over 10 years, serving as the Podcast Coordinator, Online Educational Coordinator, and Chair (2020-present).  She has also published research and presented posters in the area of clinical translational research with respect to balance and vestibular disorders, Interprofessional Education, Case-Based Learning, and strategies to increase clinical reasoning in Physical Therapy Education.  Dr. Wellons has spoken at multiple local and national conferences in the area of Vestibular Rehabilitation.  Dr. Wellons maintains an active clinical practice on the LSU Health Sciences Center campus treating individuals with Vestibular Disorders, Imbalance, and Neurologic Disorders in a faculty practice clinic. 



Patient Panelists

 

Brian Platzer

Brian Platzer
PPPD

Brian Platzer was diagnosed with PPPD in 2019.  He is an 8th grade English teacher and the co-founder of Teachers Who Tutor | NYC.  He is also the author of the novels BED-STUY IS BURNING and THE BODY POLITIC (Atria/Simon & Schuster) as well as the parenting book TAKING THE STRESS OUT OF HOMEWORK (Avery/Penguin Random House).  His writing has appeared in the New York Times (for which he wrote a series on vestibular disorders), The New Yorker, The Atlantic, New York Magazine, and many other publications.  He lives with his wife and two young sons in Brooklyn, NY.

Darilys Mateo-Acevedo

Darilys Matos Acevedo
Vestibular Migraine, PPPD

Darilys Matos Acevedo was diagnosed with VM & PPPD in April 2023 after 4 years undiagnosed. She is a private Early Childhood Educator and poet born and raised in Puerto Rico, who moved to Massachusetts 8 years ago for graduate school.  Darilys is a VeDA volunteer Ambassador and leader for VeDA’s only Spanish-speaking support group. Her poetry can be found in Tonguas Literary Magazine Vol 13, Acentos Review (Dec. 2020,) Toyon Vol 67 (2021) Multilingual Literary Magazine. In spite of the VM journey she still loves to travel, especially back home to PR.

Glenn Schweitzer

Glenn Schweitzer
Meniere's Disease

Glenn Schweitzer is an entrepreneur, health coach, blogger, and the author of two best-selling books, “Mind Over Meniere’s: How I Conquered Meniere’s disease and Learned to Thrive” and “Rewiring Tinnitus: How I Finally Found Relief from the Ringing in My Ears”. He is passionate about helping others who suffer from tinnitus and vestibular disorders and has worked with nearly 1000 patients one-on-one from all over the world over the last 8 years, helping sufferers to habituate to their tinnitus and find lasting relief from the ringing in their ears. Glenn is also columnist for HealthyHearing.com and volunteers as an Ambassador Board Member for the Vestibular Disorders Association (VEDA). He continues to raise awareness for tinnitus, Meniere’s disease, and other vestibular disorders, spreading his message of hope to those in need.

Steve Stewier

Steve Schwier
Meniere's Disease

In the month of September, 2020, Steve Schwier rode an e-bike 1,400 miles from Denver, Colorado to Columbus, Ohio to bring awareness to Meniere’s Disease. His difficult and grueling ride is chronicled in his memoir, “On the Vertigo: One Sick Man’s Journey to Make a Difference,” which is now available for purchase on Amazon.

Diagnosed in 2013, Steve had been able to do little in that time but stay on his couch and manage his symptoms. But one year ago, Schwier decided to get up and ride his bike across America to be the voice of a suffering, silent minority.

Despite the horrendous nature of the disease, Steve tells his story with humor, grace and heartfelt reflection. His ride raised more than $10,000, all of which went to Meniere’s Disease awareness and research.

Mary Ziegler

Mary Ziegler
Vestibular Migraine, Meniere's Disease

Mary lives in Oak Park, Illinois, with her husband of 47 years. She and Jim have four adult children and five grandchildren. Now retired, Mary taught high school, edited magazines, taught preschool, and served as a speech-language pathologist.

One morning in 1999, Mary was getting ready for work as usual. She felt the bathroom spinning violently, dropped to the floor, and crawled back into bed, where the room continued to spin rapidly for 6 hours. After Mary’s primary care doctor ruled out a heart attack, she began her long journey toward diagnosis.

Through reading information from VEDA, a lot of testing, and many doctor visits, Mary learned she had Meniere’s Disease and Vestibular Migraine. While she continued to work as long as possible, eventually vestibular symptoms forced Mary into retirement. She also had to stop driving.

Mary misses work and yet has adjusted to being a different version of the active grandmother and “young retired senior” she had planned to be. Mary attended last year’s VEDA conference, where she made many new friends. That led to a support group for Retired Vesties, which has been meeting since. It is a new joy for Mary and a highlight of her week.

Pat Filipek

Pat Filipek
BPPV, Vestibular Migraine

 

Pat's journey started on July 25, 2021, with a severe Vertigo attack that led to chronic migraine without aura. She has had a temporal biopsy, a CT scan, an MRI, and MRV, and all tests showed that her brain was healthy. The only symptoms she experienced were dizziness and 24/7 head pain. The diagnosis for the dizziness was vertigo (BPPV), which was the easiest fix. She has worked with two neurologists with no success, and the journey is ongoing.

Being invited to join an Invisible Illness support group has helped her a lot. Getting the right team of medical professionals is the most important thing she has learned. She is learning about vestibular disorders and has found that information to be very helpful.

Being a VeDA Ambassador has proved to be a wonderful experience for her. She hopes to raise awareness by providing information she found helpful and would like to pay it forward for all the support and kindness she has received.

Donna McKinney

Donna McKinney
Bilateral Vestibular Hypofunction

Donna McKinney is a mom of three and a grandma to one grandson. Since her diagnosis of bilateral vestibular loss in 2014, she has "retired" from her physically active career as a youth and senior fitness director. Donna is also a certified health coach and diabetes prevention coach and is hoping to return to work on a part-time basis.

Donna enjoys cooking, spending time with her family, going for long rides, and day trips with her partner Alec, who has been by her side through every dizzying step of this diagnosis.

In May of this year, she received the multichannel vestibular implant as part of the study at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland. Donna is so grateful for that opportunity and for VeDA. Their support is crucial for vestibular patients.

Kalyn Asher

Kalyn Asher
Bilateral Vestibular Hypofunction

Kalyn Asher lives in Texas, splitting her time between Dallas and Austin, with her husband, Greg, and 2 dogs, Macy & Milo.  Her oldest daughter is 22 and recently graduated Auburn University and now works in Corporate Communications for Southwest Airlines.  Her youngest daughter is a Sophomore at the University of Oregan studying Human Physiology.  Kalyn is the owner of 2 advertising agencies, supporting large and small businesses with their media buying and planning across the U.S.

In 2009 Kalyn started having issues with her vision and balance.  Her stress level was high.  Her husband was a stay-at-home father of the girls who were 7 and 5 and they were building their first house.  After several months of bumping into walls and difficulty driving and walking while turning her head, she started seeing doctors.  For 4 years Kalyn met with 3 Neurologists, 1 ENT, 2 Eye doctors and finally a Neurotology specialist.  There were multiple MRIs, a Lumbar Puncture and many other tests.  The Neurotologist finally diagnosed Kalyn with Bilateral Vestibulophathy.  It is believed that Kalyn was given Gentamicin during her C-Section in 2004 and this caused all the hair loss on her inner ear.  Vestibular Therapy was prescribed along with lots of good sleep to properly rest the brain.

Christine Moyer

Christine Moyer
PPPD

After two years of overwhelming stress, anxiety, and trauma, accompanied by chronic ear infections, Christine suddenly became bedridden with debilitating non-vertigo dizziness. Her medical team deemed her "the perfect storm" when she was diagnosed with PPPD in 2022. After seeing thirteen doctors in thirteen weeks, she understood the need for self-advocacy in finding a proper diagnosis. Through lifestyle changes, her faith in God, vestibular rehab therapy, and medication, she was able to slowly regain her stability. Christine's goal is to spread hope and positivity on her social media platforms while educating about vestibular disorders. You can find her on Instagram at @thatdizzzygirl.

Geri McNiece

Geri McNiece
Vestibular Migraine, PPPD, BPPV

Having motion sickness as a child, Geri also struggled with migraine headaches and altitude sickness as she grew into adulthood. In 2000, at the age of 40, she began having vertigo, which popped up before takeoff on a short plane trip one morning, for work. That day changed life as she knew it.

Geri began to have chromic dizziness, vision and sound issues, feeling hungover with regular imbalance episodes. She discovered hula hooping in 2007 to be a helpful distraction, as she created her business, aRoundJoy

Vestibular issues lingered, however, so after 22 years of self-treatment, numerous ER trips, tests and doctor visits, she decided that 2023 was THE year she'd get REAL answers. She credits finding VeDA via social media as her biggest motivation and inspiration to get help.

Exercise, medication, tools and mindset work are all part of Geri's daily life now. Surprisingly, her treatment team all agree that involvement with the hoop was of great benefit all these years - something she always felt, but couldn't explain. It was finally during VRT sessions, at the age of 63, that she learned the science behind how moving with a hoop actually helps the vestibular system.

Getting tested, diagnosed and going to VRT has been very validating, giving Geri a more positive outlook AND an exciting new direction for her business - helping other vestibular patients find joy of movement through hooping. Follow her on social media - @aroundjoy

Frequently Asked Questions

Feedback from previous years

"I am very thankful to this conference. It is such a blessing and privilege to have this information to guide me through my ordeal. You have helped me not feel so alone and "weird" because I have this invisible disease. Thank so much from the bottom of my heart to everyone who put this amazing conference together. All your hard work and caring has helped me and everyone who struggles with vestibular dysfunction."

friends joining hands

Feedback from previous years

"Thank you for this  wonderful conference! It was so informative. Now I know what my difficulties are & who my people are. It's such a great relief."

friends joining hands
"Support" on a tablet

Feedback from previous years

"I LOVED this conference! I’m grateful that it was virtual and recorded so I could still watch it when my vestibular issues weren't acting up. Thank you for this wonderful resource!"

"Support" on a tablet
Training session

Feedback from previous years

"Thank you for making the conference available to all and making the cost for the webinars affordable. The information and the ability to connect with so many people who are struggling like I am is invaluable."

Training session

 

Previous Year's Recordings

If you missed VeDA's previous Virtual Conferences you can still watch the sessions by purchasing the recordings. Your purchase gets you lifetime access to the full conference to watch at your leisure and rewatch as many times as you want while providing support for the free articles and resources that are available from VeDA to vestibular patients all over the world.

 

Thank you to the conference sponsors

 

Hainlen Discovery Fund at the University of Minnesota