Advancing modern physical therapy for children in China

By Alex Branch

Salem
 
Two UNT Health Science Center physical therapists spent a week in China advancing the practice of modernized physical therapy in the country where many techniques remain underused.

Howe Liu, MPT, PhD, and Yasser Salem, PT, PhD, demonstrated treatment on adults and children with cerebral palsy between the ages of 3 months and 5 years to Chinese clinicians.

Parents of the children were grateful for the visiting therapists’ clinical skills.

“Some children who had not been able to sit at all were, by the end, able to sit for the first time,” said Dr. Salem, Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy. “Others were standing for the first time. The parents were very, very happy.”

The visit was one in series of trips UNTHSC faculty members have made to China to help promote physical therapy and rehabilitation medicine and to develop relationships with Chinese physical therapists and students. Nicoleta Bugnariu, PT, PhD, Interim Dean of the School of Health Professions; Claire Peel, PhD, UNTHSC Interim Provost; and David Mason, DO, Interim Senior Associate Dean of Family Medicine also made trips in recent years.

Modern physical therapy is still a developing field in China, said Dr. Liu, UNTHSC Professor of Physical Therapy and a China native. The Health Science Center is one of several universities in the United States committed to helping promote and teach modern physical therapy in China.

Dr. Liu and Dr. Salem spent much of their time in Ganzhou, a city in the southern region of Jiangxi. There was no shortage of patients to see; one of the hospitals they visited had almost 3,000 beds.

They also made a presentation on physical therapy and rehabilitation medicine at a conference attended by clinicians from across the country.

“It’s a good change to help advance modern physical therapy and promote the Health Science Center overseas,” Dr. Liu said. “It’s also helpful for us to get experience working with different patient populations and in different medical environments.”

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