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  • Louise Brennan

Adventures of a PhD researcher: attending a global physiotherapy conference! A photo-blog of WCPT 20


Attending and presenting at the World Confederation of Physical Therapists (WCPT) Congress 2019 has been a true highlight of my PhD studies so far. This biennial event brought 4,300 physiotherapists from all over the world together in Geneva for three days of presentations, seminars and CPD. As you can see, it was also a good chance for members of the Irish Society of Physiotherapists to meet each other and catch up!

At the conference opening ceremony WCPT president Dr Emma Stokes gave an inspiring speech, encouraging us to support and nurture each other within our profession.

I loved how Dr Stokes chose this old Irish proverb to convey her message: It is in the shelter of each other that people live - Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine.

I was delighted to be presenting some of my PhD work as part of the Robotics and Technology session on Saturday 11th May. The room was full to capacity, and I got lots of great questions after – it was awesome to see so many Physios engaged and involved with technology development.

There was a vast range of sessions to attend - one in particular which resonated with me was this seminar about reframing care for people with persistent musculoskeletal conditions. World-class researchers Prof Jeremy Lewis, Prof Peter O’Sullivan and Dr Emma Stokes (amongst others) made a case for why we need to change our models of care and how we can achieve this change. Progress in clinical practice often happens far too slowly – I hope that all of us that were fortunate to attend will feel galvanised to spread these messages to our own networks and communities at home, so that when we meet again we can share data and stories to demonstrate the progress we’re making in this field.

It was a privilege to attend the inaugural subgroup networking meeting for International Physical Therapists for HIV/AIDS, Oncology, Hospice & Palliative Care. IPT-HOPE were announced as an official WCPT subgroup at the WCPT general meeting on May 8th. With such a strong leadership team and passionate membership, it’s clear that there are exciting times ahead for this subgroup!

In the evenings there were plenty of social activities to keep us busy. A huge crowd turned up for the walking tour of Geneva, and the local physios who had taken on the role of tour guides (a brave task, considering the size of the group!) did a fantastic job of showing off their beautiful city.

One of the greatest things about WCPT was the opportunity to get to know physiotherapists from all over the world, and the PT Hub was the place to go to meet people for chats, refreshments and fun in the evenings. Well done to PhysioGenève for setting this up and allowing us to come together in a social way after a long day at the conference centre. International karaoke on the Sunday night was an experience and a half!!

Attending this conference exposed me to the true depth and breadth of the physiotherapy profession on a global scale. I was inspired by the work presented, the conversations had and the brilliance and warmth of the delegates. Thank you to all at WCPT and Physio Swiss for the excellent organisation, and to CATCH ITN and Beacon Hospital for funding me to attend. I’m already looking forward to our next meeting in 2021 - see you in Dubai!

#research #conference #physiotherapy #H2020 #MSCA #Geneva #PhD #academia #WCPT2019 #catchitn #EU

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© 2016 CATCH. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement 
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