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Class Notes: North Ga. physical therapy students, professor present in China
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A group from North Georgia College & State University’s Department of Physical Therapy recently presented research at the annual meeting of the International Continence Society, held this year in Beijing, China.

Students Brittany Cobb and Amy Bearinger, led by Ruth Maher, an associate professor of physical therapy, presented research on methods of combating stress urinary incontinence, a condition affecting one out of every three women.

“The presentations and interactive classes proved to be a tremendous experience for the students, and it will no doubt shape their futures (as) individuals and clinicians,” Maher said.

Jo Laycock, inventor of the device Maher and her students tested during their pilot study, contacted the group on its research and has encouraged it to conduct a larger study. The society has also asked to host the presentation permanently on its website.

Following the conference, Maher and Cobb traveled to Liaocheng University to present to students and clinicians on physical therapy education and practice in the U.S.

“The presentation included a comparison of dry needling and traditional Chinese acupuncture in addition to the use of real-time ultrasound imaging in assessing tissue morphology,” Maher said.

Maher also said that following the presentations and positive feedback they received, Liaocheng University expressed an interest in collaborative efforts to start a physical therapy program that meets the standards of education and practice in the U.S.

“We were also able to visit Liaocheng University Hospital, a satellite clinic of the hospital on the university campus, the Hong Fu Rehabilitation Department, and a traditional Chinese medicine clinic in Liaocheng,” Maher said. “We gave several demonstrations of dry needling and other physical therapy practices to hospital director Dr. Yang Lei and Dr. Zhang Yue Feng in addition to discussing education and scope of practice for physical therapists in the U.S.”

According to Maher, China does not have any physical therapy programs, though there are technicians who provide elements of what would be considered physical therapy in the U.S. However, the technicians cannot assess, differentially diagnose, or make treatment decisions. Those in mainland China who wish to pursue a career in physical therapy must travel to Hong Kong, Singapore or Taiwan.

Maher also recently received two awards: one from the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy inducting her into the Academy of Advanced Item Writers, and the Achievement in Education Award from the Physical Therapy Association of Georgia.

Dawn Hayes, associate professor of physical therapy, was also honored by the association with the Outstanding Physical Therapist Award.

Lee Johnson covers education issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with him:

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