Drumming and dance at the opening ceremony

Congress opens with colour, dance – and a vision of the profession's technological future

See the diversity of the profession, understand the common identity we share, and learn from the young physical therapists who can shape the future of physical therapy through technology. 

That was the message of Goh Ah-Cheng, Associate Professor at Shinshu University, Japan and keynote speaker at the WCPT Congress opening ceremony in Singapore last night.
 
In an entertaining keynote address, Dr Goh, who originally came from Singapore, urged delegates to learn from each others’ differences.
 
“I encourage you all to make friends and talk to people at this congress, and perhaps understand the diversity of the profession,” he said. “We all have different perspective but we share one common identity.”
 
“No matter how different we are, no matter what stage of development, technology offers the opportunity for you to leapfrog in your development because it has a multiplier effect. And if you use it properly, you don’t have to go through many processes but you accelerate development.”
 
He provided several examples of the way innovative technologies – particularly personal mobility devices and assistive limbs – had the potential to remove barriers to activity.
 
He welcomed the emphasis on young physical therapists in the congress programme, pointing out their intuitive curiosity about technology. “Every conversation must involve young physical therapists. Look at how young physical therapists can shape the profession by looking at how we can use technology to shape practice, research and education.”
 
Introducing the opening ceremony, Marilyn Moffat, who will stand down as WCPT President after eight years at the end of this congress, paid tribute to the history and achievements of WCPT. “With so many organisations, individual physical therapists, and with technology allowing instantaneous communication around the world, we can do, and are doing, so much more.”
 
Gan Kim Yong, the Singapore Minister for Health, said it will become increasingly important that countries learn from each other as they face the common challenge of caring for an ageing population. 
“We must plan for strategies to keep our elderly healthy and fit, so that they can remain engaged for as long as possible.  And physiotherapists have a key role to play.”