AwardsInternational

Julie Phillips receives prestigious funding grant

Prof. Julie Phillips was recently awarded a research funding grant to the amount of R754 000, as part of a collaborative project with Prof. Pernilla Åsenlof and Dr Annika Bring from Uppsala University in Sweden. The title of Prof. Phillips project is Physiotherapy education in the 21st century: Practice informed by demands of population health. Here is the project abstract:

Death and disability as a direct result of non-communicable diseases are increasing at an alarming rate worldwide with a more rapid increase in Sub Saharan Africa and faster than the reductions in infectious diseases. Behavioural risk factors for non-communicable diseases reflects the underlying socio-economic determinants in all countries and are increasingly falling on poorer people. Scientific evidence has linked regular physical activity to a wide range of physical and mental health benefits and has been associated with reduced risk of several non-communicable diseases. Healthcare professionals are therefore being called upon to become more aggressive in implementing physical activity recommendations. Professional physiotherapy bodies have recognised the role of physiotherapists in promoting physical activity and agreed that physical activity and exercise are an integral part of our professional practice. Despite the fact that health professionals agree that health promotion and disease prevention should be priorities, these topics have been reported to be largely absent from entry-level educational curricula. It has been noted that traditional physiotherapy curricula lack an explicit exercise content and focus mainly on impairment, injury and disability. A change in the curriculum alone however is not enough, and a multi-pronged approach is needed to implement change. This entails the commitment at professional, clinical, research and educational levels. The role of physiotherapists in South Africa expanded from being a clinical practitioner to becoming a member of a healthcare team involved in health promotion, disease prevention, community development and advocacy, contained within the notion of social responsibility. Therefore, the aim of this study is to assess the scope of undergraduate physiotherapy education in terms of physical activity and exercise promotion and prescription for contemporary and emerging health trends.Death and disability as a direct result of non-communicable diseases are increasing at an alarming rate worldwide with a more rapid increase in Sub Saharan Africa and faster than the reductions in infectious diseases. Behavioural risk factors for non-communicable diseases reflects the underlying socio-economic determinants in all countries and are increasingly falling on poorer people. Scientific evidence has linked regular physical activity to a wide range of physical and mental health benefits and has been associated with reduced risk of several non-communicable diseases. Healthcare professionals are therefore being called upon to become more aggressive in implementing physical activity recommendations. Professional physiotherapy bodies have recognised the role of physiotherapists in promoting physical activity and agreed that physical activity and exercise are an integral part of our professional practice. Despite the fact that health professionals agree that health promotion and disease prevention should be priorities, these topics have been reported to be largely absent from entry-level educational curricula. It has been noted that traditional physiotherapy curricula lack an explicit exercise content and focus mainly on impairment, injury and disability. A change in the curriculum alone however is not enough, and a multi-pronged approach is needed to implement change. This entails the commitment at professional, clinical, research and educational levels. The role of physiotherapists in South Africa expanded from being a clinical practitioner to becoming a member of a healthcare team involved in health promotion, disease prevention, community development and advocacy, contained within the notion of social responsibility. Therefore, the aim of this study is to assess the scope of undergraduate physiotherapy education in terms of physical activity and exercise promotion and prescription for contemporary and emerging health trends.

We congratulate Prof. Phillips and her collaborators on receiving this award and look forward to seeing the outcomes of this exciting international research project.

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