Here are statements by the three candidates for President and two for Vice President of WCPT, supporting their nomination for office. These are abridged versions of their full statements, which have been sent to all official representatives of WCPT member organisations, regions and subgroups. Official representatives can also login and view full curriculum vitae among the General Meeting papers at www.wcpt.org/node/36872.
Candidate for President:
Owner of private physiotherapy practice in Garsfontein, South Africa
Part-time lecturer at the University of Pretoria Physiotherapy Department, South Africa
WCPT Vice President
I obtained a BSc in Physiotherapy in 1986 and later, in my postgraduate studies, I did a teaching Diploma and a Masters Degree in Physiotherapy. Since then I have practised in a variety of clinical settings (rural, mining, public sector hospitals, private practice, education).
During my tenure as a full-time lecturer, I had an opportunity to be an external examiner at different universities in South Africa which made me appreciate the differences in approaches to teaching and training which still produce a competent graduate. I still lecture on a part-time basis at the University of Pretoria, South Africa with a specific focus on practice management issues as well as professional leadership to both final year and post- graduate students.
I am currently running my own private practice. I continue to be invited to undertake external examination duties where I moderate examination theory papers, assess practical skills of students in a variety of settings and provide input at the examiners’ meeting on the standard and quality of teaching.
My involvement with the South African Society of Physiotherapy as an Executive Committee member began in 1998, when I was in charge of the Communications and Public Relations Division. In that capacity I was responsible for the internal and external marketing strategy for the profession, National Back Week campaign, and newsletter and journal budgets. In 2003 I was elected President of the South African Society of Physiotherapy, where my leadership skills were tried and tested whilst the SASP was going through a successful transformation period. During that period I represented the profession in government meetings, on the Health Professions Council of South Africa and in meetings with other health professions associations.
In July 2010, I was appointed as a board member of the Health Professions Council of South Africa on the Physiotherapy, Podiatry and Biokineticist Board. I had already served on the disciplinary hearing committee of the Physiotherapy, Podiatry and Biokineticist Board since 2001. My skills had also been employed by the board to accredit physiotherapy assistant training programmes and to serve on a committee responsible for setting examinations for foreign qualified graduates.
I am the current Vice President of WCPT and have been a member of the Executive Committee since 1999. I was first elected to the Executive Committee as the regional representative for the Africa Region. Because of the valuable input I provided for the region, I was re-elected for a second term. During my time on the Executive Committee I have represented WCPT in Uganda during the launch of the Positive Practice Campaign, and in Geneva at the International Conference on Health Profession Regulation. I have also participated in, and chaired, panel discussions on professional issues at national, regional and international conferences. I have had opportunities to give keynote addresses at local and regional conferences as well.
With such a wealth of experience, it is my conviction that I will be able to take the profession to greater heights and into the new era of global challenges. My exposure to the unique health challenges in Africa makes me think that I will be able to introduce a new leadership approach in dealing with professional issues.
Candidate for President:
Michel D Landry
Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Toronto, Canada
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
Through the physical therapy profession, I have learned the remarkable impact that one person can have on another, and how groups of dedicated individuals can change populations. Physical therapists are essential to the health and wellbeing of people, their families and whole populations - we must seek ways to boldly communicate that message in an effective and consistent manner around the world.
I have been immersed in the politics of physical therapy for many years, and my career includes clinical practice, operating multidisciplinary clinics, and managing humanitarian aid and development projects in post conflict zones and countries affected by natural disasters. I am currently a university-based educator and health services & policy researcher, where I am developing forecasting models to more accurately predict future supply and demand for health and rehabilitation services. Throughout my career I have volunteered with local, regional and national physical therapy organisations. During my tenure as President of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association (2007-2009), and through my involvement with the WCPT North America Caribbean Region (2007-2010), I have been inspired by the scope of opportunity within the global community of physical therapists. I now seek the support of WCPT member organisations so that I may contribute my vision and collaborative leadership skills as President of this vital organisation.
The potential for international collective efforts among us is almost limitless, and WCPT has begun to nurture these connections - however we must do more. We must increase the capacity for interactivity among physical therapists through online and web-based learning, and through distribution of real-time clinical and policy information and experiences. The growth of our network will yield an exponential increase in understanding within our profession, and allow innovative and creative ideas to flourish.
As President, I will aim to expand WCPT’s global network, and strengthen our rightful political position as one of the largest groups of independent health providers in the world. I will also work collaboratively with all member organisations, the Executive Committee and staff to achieve the vision of WCPT. It is my commitment to work diligently for only one term as President, as I feel strongly that a sign of a healthy global organisation is to have appropriate succession planning and progressive leadership change. I aim to:
- Enhance the culture of mutual respect across all member organisations. Our diversity is our strength. We must harness this power by ensuring that all member organisations, large or small, north or south, have an equal opportunity to participate.
- Expand the network of physical therapists around the world. We need to enhance the real-time interconnectedness of physical therapists and member organisations in a feasible and cost-effective manner.
- Use our emerging interconnectedness to advocate for our global position as providers of choice in the areas of movement, function, rehabilitation, health and wellness. We must use our network to identify opportunities and ways to collectively advocate.
Our profession depends on our ability to collaborate, learn, teach and inspire. All 350,000 physical therapists within the WCPT family can contribute in their own way to our overall success, and as President my commitment is to give each one an opportunity to do so.
Candidate for President
Professor, New York University Department of Physical Therapy, USA
Owner of a private physical therapy practice in New York
International lecturer and consultant
My years in leadership and background in practice, education and research provided me with a broad spectrum of experiences and an awareness of our cultural differences and our amazing professional similarities. Serving as President provided opportunities to lead WCPT in an attempt to move the profession forward. Increasing growth has taken place due in large part to your input and our cohesive leadership.
I have been available to member organisations in different roles. When requested, I have taught continuing professional development courses, delivered keynote addresses, and met with government officials in an attempt to support you.
I had the opportunity to co-coordinate the development of WCPT’s Guidelines for Physical Therapist Entry Level Education and Standards of Physical Therapy Practice and served as a catalyst for a complete review of our declarations and position statements. Following the 2007 acceptance of those documents, I immediately began to look at the myriad of ways we might help you with other resources. This led to the development of guidelines on: accreditation/recognition of entry-level physical therapist education programs; clinical education; faculty qualifications; continuing professional development; disaster management; regulation/legislation for physical therapy practice; record keeping, storage and retrieval; consequences of armed violence, landmines and other weapons of war; and occupational health and safety.
Our new web site was a high priority that enabled us to reach you more quickly and effectively through: WCPT News; WCPT e-updates; information and toolkits for World Physical Therapy Day activities; publicity materials shared by many member organisations; member organisations’ recognised educational programmes; databases of experts; links to continuing professional development course information; links to CD-based courses and online courses; and a photo competition to communicate our message.
Participation in the First and Second World Health Professions Conferences on Regulation led to an invitation from the World Health Professions Alliance (including the international organisations of dentistry, medicine, nursing, and pharmacy) to join them. We were officially recognised as a member in May 2010. We also participated in the WHO Global Health Workforce Alliance’s Forum on Human Resources for Health.
While this is an overview of accomplishments, much needs to be done. Education, practice and research must continually be enhanced to provide the best services possible. Education has to assure the graduation of physical therapists who have the competencies detailed in our guidelines. Direct access practice must be our right. Evidence-based practice must be embraced, and increasing the research databases on our website will facilitate easier access to data. Public relations campaigns must continue to raise the profession’s profile. Our recognition as exercise experts must be paramount, since this is the intervention that is truly evidence-based. Collaboration with international bodies must assure that our voice is heard. We must continually seek ways to support member organisations in countries with limited resources, and help physical therapists around the world provide our unique contribution during natural disasters.
It has been my privilege to serve you and to once again have my name placed into nomination for the office of President. It would be my pleasure to continue to serve all WCPT member organisations in moving the profession of physical therapy forward in the 21st century.
Candidate for Vice President
Deputy Dean and Associate Dean Clinical Studies, School of Physiotherapy, University of Otago, New Zealand
WCPT Executive Committee Member, Asia Western Pacific
I am willing to work tirelessly to promote physical therapy at the global level. I believe there are still far too many people in the world who do not know about the benefits of physical therapy and many more who are unable to access the services. I have considerably experience in working with government and non-governmental organisations in both New Zealand and other parts of the world and will continue to use this knowledge to support the development of physical therapy programmes and improve access to physical therapy services.
I have personal experience as a physical therapy researcher, educationalist and practitioner so I am able to appreciate the importance of each perspective and actively contribute to discussions and position papers on each component.
I am keen to see physical therapy develop to make an even greater contribution to the health workforce and to improving global health. WCPT needs to capitalise on the benefits of being a member of the World Health Professions Alliance, and use these links for collaborative projects. We need to assist member organisations to develop expertise and lobby successfully for the equivalent of degree based education, for professional regulation, and for further recognition of physical therapists as the experts in physical rehabilitation.
Travel has given me the opportunity to meet many colleagues in countries across the world and to have an appreciation of the challenges that climate, natural disasters, lifestyle and disease can bring. The need for a strong proactive international organisation will be even greater if we are to meet these challenges. I can promise you that if elected as your Vice President, I shall continue to move physical therapy forward.
Candidate for Vice President
Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy, Trinity College, Dublin
WCPT Executive Committee Member, Europe
It has been a great privilege to have served as the European Region representative on the WCPT Executive Committee since 2007. I now seek your support for election to the position of Vice-President. I have practised as a physiotherapist for 20 years: as a clinician, an educator and a researcher. Since 1998, I have worked in a representative role in Europe and internationally. I am passionate about physiotherapy and its vital contribution to the health of individuals and populations throughout the world.
I know the challenges we face: recognition of our professional autonomy; protection of our title; equitable provision of and access to our services; adequate resources and remuneration; the development and maintenance of quality within our education systems; the development of capacity in our profession in some countries. What I have learned is that we are stronger when we work together, when we learn from the experiences of those who have gone before us. This can save us time, energy and resources.
I am committed to being an active and engaged Vice President. In my time on the WCPT Executive Committee, I have seen significant developments as the capacity of the organisation has increased. And as we continue into the 21st century there will be issues we need to consider to ensure we remain a vibrant and meaningful organisation. These include a watchful review of our financial model with an ongoing articulation of why membership is important and continues to represent a good investment for both small/medium and larger member organisations. We must evaluate our impact and look to new opportunities to strengthen our voice. I am confident that as Vice President, I can develop strategies to ensure the organisation continues to be a key influencer.