In the first of a series of articles on physical therapy associations expected to be admitted to WCPT membership next year, Dora Michaut profiles the Argentine association.
The Argentine Association of Kinesiology (AAK) has been approved as a provisional member of WCPT and will be presented for full membership at the next WCPT General Meeting in Amsterdam in June 2011. This milestone will mark the culmination of a long process, ending a period of isolation for Argentine physiotherapy and reinstating it into the world context.
The AAK, a membership organisation, was founded in the early 20th century, before the first course of study was created at the University of Buenos Aires in 1937. In fact, the AAK holds the distinction of being the first association for the profession in the South America region.
In Argentina there are seven professional titles considered equivalent to “physical therapist”, with the most common being licentiate in kinesiology physiatria. The title used depends on where the individual graduated, and holders of any of the seven titles may be members of the AAK. AAK members work in many environments across a range of sectors including academic, private, public and mixed.
The overall mission of the AAK is to provide information and defend members’ legal rights. It offers scholarships and permanent training, workshops, talks and seminars. It brings together teachers, professionals, graduates and students into one professional body.
The Ministry of National Health requires a minimum of 2,500 hours in a four-year university course to be officially recognised. There are currently 19 universities offering such courses – in 17 of them, the course is five years long and students complete an average of 3,600 hours of studies.
Currently the AAK is working with these universities towards the acknowledgement of the profession as one of “public interest” within the Law of Superior Education in Argentina. This would lead to a greater commitment by universities to provide high quality education in accordance with the standards set by the Ministry of Health.
Professionals in Argentina can enter postgraduate courses to get a speciality masters or doctorate degree. Many of these studies are completed together with other health care professional such as medical doctors and psychologists.
Specialisms in traumatology, orthopaedics, cardiology, respiratory care, paediatrics, neurology, sports, acupuncture and critical care have all been developed and achieved internationally recognised levels of excellence.
The AAK also works with most universities to organise and supervise research groups that aim to promote the recognition of the professions scientific base.