Conran Joseph conducting research in Sweden

As nGAP lecturer in the Department of Physiotherapy (UWC), I spent my dedicated research time for 2018 at Karolinska Institute (KI), situated in Stockholm, Sweden. I was enrolled as a post-doctoral fellow within Franzén’s Research Group in the division of physiotherapy at KI. I was interested to join this research group due to their focus on translational research in neuro-rehabilitation and neuroscience, exploring neuronal activation/neuroplasticity following therapeutic exercise in persons with Parkinson’s disease and spinal cord injury, as well as the implementation of efficacious interventions into clinical practice.

My primary responsibility during 2018 was to carry out an economic evaluation of an exercise program for persons with Parkinson’s disease, prior to translating it into routine clinical practice. This paper was well received by the scientific community due to the lack of knowledge concerning cost-effective rehabilitation interventions. A popular science review of the paper is on the internal web at KI and the Neurological Association in Sweden. I also lead another paper determining the feasibility of translating an efficacious intervention into clinical practice. This paper was published in the journal Brain and Behavior. Currently, I am working on a number of research papers linked to the research group.

Apart from researching at KI in 2018, I was responsible for lecturing in their Global Health course for physiotherapists. I developed content for this new course with respect to health care structure and function between a developed vs. developing country and cultural competence in physiotherapy practice. As part of this course, we arranged, on two occasion, that student’s from Sweden, South Africa and the Netherlands meet online (via Adobe Connect) to discuss various topic in physiotherapy. In order to further develop the global health course for physiotherapists, my colleague, David Conradsson, and I managed to secure funding from the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT) to develop content with a focus on cultural competence. Some members of staff at KI will visit our physiotherapy department here at UWC early in 2019, and some of our staff at UWC will travel to Sweden later on this year to work on this project.

Overall, I am of the opinion that 2018 was fruitful in terms of building capacity and skills in neuro-rehabilitation and neuroscience, as well as fostering collaboration in education between UWC and KI.

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