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Bringing Emory PT Across the World

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Not long after students began arriving at Emory earlier this fall, Assistant Professor Marie Johanson, PT, PhD, OCS, and Division of Physical Therapy Director Zoher Kapasi, PT, PhD, MBA, found themselves departing. The two are consulting with colleagues in the former Soviet republic of Georgia to assess the country’s physical therapy curriculum and rehabilitative care efforts for wounded warriors and the general population. The effort mirrors an ongoing similar partnership between the Emory School of Medicine and medical colleagues in Georgia.

After an initial in-country assessment earlier this year, Johanson and Kapasi have identified strengths and weaknesses of physical therapy education and practice in Georgia. “There’s a fairly robust curriculum,” says Johanson, “but there is a cultural bias against students treating patients, so there is no clinical education component to health care curricula. Physical therapists graduate with a lot of ‘book knowledge’ but no experience in patient care.”

This most recent trip to Georgia will not be the last. Kapasi has recently signed an agreement outlining what will be an ongoing relationship between the Division of Physical Therapy and Georgia’s Tbilisi State Medical University. The agreement means Emory will provide ongoing in-country training and support to physical therapy educators for the foreseeable future. Says Kapasi, “I’m so pleased we can bridge gaps in physical therapy education and practice for those halfway around the world.”

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