RDG Conference Report of Edward James R. Gorgon

Write up about the Conference

Initially organized to mark the 18th anniversary of the establishment of the faculty and the 80th anniversary of the establishments of Thammasat University, the International Allied Health Sciences Conference is aimed at achieving the following purposes:

  1.  To explore and distribute, knowledge, information and data from research in medical innovation to health related professionals;
  2. To facilitate knowledge, information and data exchange between health related professionals and research internationally;
  3. To provide an opportunity for new or young researchers to learn and discuss knowledge, information and data with experts and experienced researchers in Health Sciences.

The conference included up-to-date scientific sessions on health science innovations in the fields of: biochemicals sciences, medical technology, physical therapy, natural medicine and sport sciences. This conference served as a venue for developing networks and partnerships; transfer knowledge, information and data in order to enhance research and clinical management; and share knowledge among speakers and delegates from a wide range of professional backgrounds. Several universities and institutes who has joined as the co-hosts of the conference including: Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau, Thailand: The Catholic University of Korea, Korea; George Washington University, United States: University of Medical Technology Yangon, Myanmar; University of Medical Technology Mandalay, Myanmar; Suzhou Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Technology Cooperation, China; and The Physical Therapy Association of Thailand, Thailand.

Feedback on paper presented

The presentation was well received, judging by the audience members’ interest in asking questions about how evidence-based physical therapy (EBPT) is taught in the Philippines in general and at the University of the Philippines Manila in particular. The questions focused mainly on the challenges of integrating EBPT education into a modular curriculum like ours and also on teaching EBPT in the supervised clinical practice part of the undergraduate physical therapy curriculum. This was expected since EBPT was taught at the masters level in most South East Asian countries. Some of the audience members expressed keenness to know the outcomes of our (UP’s) EBPT education program in terms of ‘real world’ application of EBPT in our graduates’ clinical practice.

Future directions of research presented

The presentation was supported mainly by evidence from two articles that I had published with different collaborators from the UP Manila Department of Physical Therapy, Having highlighted the apparently arbitrary and fragmented teaching of EBPT in the Philippine higher education institutions and the positive preliminary outcomes of the UP Manila model of EBPT education, there are at least two important research directions that can be pursued. One, the government-mandated Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy (BSPT) curriculum implemented by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) is currently undergoing revision and has incorporated a separate course on EBPT. It would be important to study the process and outcome of such inclusion of EBPT in the revised CHED BSPT curriculum. Two, it would be critical to investigate the ‘real world’ outcomes of the UP Manila model of EBPT education – Do our graduates, who were educated early and intensively on EBPT, apply EBPT in their routine practice? What sort of challenges or barriers do they encounter? What can be done to allow them to optimally apply EBPT in their daily clinical practice? What sort of modifications might be necessary in the UP model of EBPT education to assist students in developing ‘just-right’ competences that would translate to optimal EBPT Practice?

Potential foreign collaborators

Given my lengthy interactions with head and members of the Physical Therapy Faculty of Thammasat University, it is highly feasible to initiate a dialogue that will explore how the two Physical Therapy faculties can collaborate to promote early intensive EBPT education in the South East Asia region.

Other important contacts and insights

As one of the invited speakers and as the representative of our College Dean, I was involved in a roundtable discussion on future academic and research cooperation among the participating universities from different countries in Asia and the Pacific. I had the opportunity to network with other academics who had been implementing programs and research projects in the area of physical activity. Physical activity has become a very fertile area for practice and research in physical therapy given key public health issues associated with the greying of the world’s population and rise of non-communicable/lifestyle diseases. Such networking is very important in the Physical Therapy Department’s plans to pursue the part of its research agenda that is related to global health and physical activity promotion

Short write-up of one’s participation (to be used to feature/publicize the grantee’s participation in the conference)

I was fortunate to receive support from the UP OVPAA in participating in the First International Allied Health Sciences Conference held Nvember 4-6, 2014, in Bangkok, Thailand. Organized by the Thammasat University in cooperation with various universities in Asia and the Pacific, the conference provided a great venue for showcasing my research in evidence-based physical therapy education to an international audience. As well, it was good opportunity to learn from other researchers and leaders in the allied health sciences in the region. The times I spent with the Thammasat University Faculty and the other International speakers allowed me to network and identify potential inter-institutional collaborations in the areas of research and education. Such networks can be followed up by the UP Physical Therapy Faculty toward greater regional cooperation and cross-national studies that can mutually benefit participating countries in the Asian, particularly the South East Asian, region.