The audience at WCPT's 2011 congress in Amsterdam

Survey ensures that the next WCPT Congress will meet delegates' wants and needs

WCPT has its finger on the hot topics that physical therapists want to hear about at the next WCPT Congress, to be held in Singapore in 2015. With the results back from its market research surveys, Aimée Stewart, Chair of the congress programme organising committee, says they will help ensure the event reflects physical therapists’ wants and needs.

The surveys, which gained responses from 354 individual physical therapists and 16 member organisations, regions and subgroups, showed that musculoskeletal physical therapy, evidence based practice, the value of physical activity, continuing professional development and clinical guidelines were among the subjects most respondents wanted to be covered. Respondents said they would be attracted to congress by an interesting scientific programme, high profile speakers, networking opportunities and pre- and post- congress courses. 

The survey results, which indicate a huge range of popular topics in all the congress programme tracks – professional practice, professional issues, education, global health and research methodology – will now inform decisions made about the congress programme made by its organising committee, the WCPT International Scientific Committee (ISC).

The ISC first met in December, and is already incorporating responses into plans for the congress programme. ISC Chair, Aimée Stewart, said that the committee, which represents a broad spectrum of the physical therapy community, is determined to give delegates a programme that is comprehensive, involving, diverse and interactive. 

“It has to have broad appeal so that all physical therapists feel at home and that their particular needs are being met as far as possible,” says Aimée Stewart, who is Associate Professor at the University of Witwatersrand’s Department of Physiotherapy. “It also needs to tackle head-on some of the problems the profession faces. The problems of lack of resources and overwhelming needs in under-resourced areas are as important as ‘high tech’ interventions in well-resourced units and will undoubtedly lead to lively debate and interactions among delegates.”

The committee wants to build in opportunities for researchers, clinicians and others to interact and debate. There will be focused symposia with representatives from across WCPT’s regions, and debates involving leaders and opinion-formers from all areas of the world. “These will provide the opportunity to consider clinical challenges and debate threats and opportunities,” says Aimée Stewart. “How do we position ourselves in a health care sector with fewer and fewer resources? How do we face the challenges of the many disabled in the developing world where there are minimal human resources?”

The committee is considering ways of improving the profile and importance of poster presentations, with more interaction between poster presenters and delegates. It also wants to encourage and recognise young researchers who attend congress.

“To attend a WCPT Congress is a very rewarding experience and gives us the opportunity to meet, exchange ideas and realise how similar we all are even though some challenges may be different,” says Aimée Stewart.

The WCPT Congress will be held in Singapore on 1st-4th May 2015.

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