In late January at Combined Sections meeting Rebecca Stephenson, Susan Clinton, and Tracy Spitznagle participated in a three series panel on a Global Volunteerism: From Organization to Boots on the Ground. The panels were on women’s health in human rights from panels of world leaders in physical therapy, educators, clinicians and physical therapists who are involved in non-profits, mission trips, faith-based trips and university educational programs. The combined panels shared how ideas grown into organizations, nonprofits and how opportunities for influencing women’s health globally can be a very personal journey.
Emma StokesBSc (Physio), MSc (Research), MScMgMt, PhD, president of the WCPT (World Confederation of Physical Therapy) was the first speaker, originally from Ireland now directing the PT program in Dubai. Her research focuses on professional practice, both national and international and she spoke about leadership in the physical therapy and those values of concepts, contexts, characteristics, challenges, capitalism and consequences that are all a part of how we lead. She spoke of the Clifton Strengths theme in 4 domains of strategic thinking, executing influence, relationship building and executing as successful aspects of leadership. Dr. Stokes reminded us that leadership is a mindset and that “In the shelter of each other we live” from an Irish Proverb. “In healthcare, joy is not just humane, it is instrumental and that you cannot give what you do not have.” She closed with the theme of two up, two down and two sideways and how we should look to help two who are coming in their career behind us, look ahead to two that are ahead and two that are peers- all opportunities to give and receive guidance and encouragement.
The second panel included Jill Boissonnault who gave the history of the International Organization of Physical Therapists in Women’s Health (IOPTWH) and how that organization has grown to include 25-member countries with specialty sections on women’s health. From a grassroots perspective, Rebecca Stephenson shared how one can be inspired to improve women’s lives through non-profits and global education with how key conversations that appear as chance circumstances grow into creating non-profits and inspiring therapists to contribute to global education. Susan Clinton presented on the challenges of marketing, fundraising and organizational development of a non-profit. Tracy Spitznagle demonstrated how education on women’s health physical therapy can have a ripple effects for a country and how collaboration with physical therapists and physicians can have long lasting effects on women seeking healthcare. From there research grows and the opportunities for physical therapists to teach with in their own communities enhances care for women and their families.Laura Keyser spoke on Forging a Path in Global Health: Building Capacity for a Rehabilitation Health Workforce in the Democratic Republic of Congo and her work through the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and Engender Health.
The last panel of four speakers was started with Karen Abraham who spoke on International Service and the Shenandoah University Physical Therapy Program: A tale of Passion, compassion and Lessons Learned of her experiences of student global experiential learning in Japan, Germany, Australia, Italy and Kenya. Barb Settles Huge presented on "Aprendemos juntos" Lessons on Mentoring, culture and Health care from the Dominican Republic. Kate Farr-spoke of The Joys & Difficulties of Global Service Reflections from a Medical Missionary in Jos Nigeria, and Lori Mize rounded out the panel with her thoughts and experiences on the beginnings of Service Learning from Origin to Implementation with her travels with students to Italy and St. Lucia.
Written by: Rebecca Stephenson