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Sunday February 7th, 2016 5:43AM

NGCSU physical therapy group presents papers at international conference in China

By Staff
DAHLINEGA - Two students and a professor from the North Georgia College & State University'S (NGCSU) Department of Physical Therapy recently presented research at the annual meeting of the International Continence Society (ICS), held this year in Beijing, China.

Students Brittany Cobb and Amy Bearinger, led by Dr. Ruth Maher, associate professor of physical therapy, presented research on methods of combating Stress Urinary Incontinence, a condition affecting 1 out of every 3 women.

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

Dr. Jo Laycock, inventor of the device Maher and her students tested during their pilot study, contacted the group to compliment them on their success and has encouraged them to conduct a larger study. The ICS has also asked to host the presentation permanently on their website.

After the close of the conference, Maher and Cobb traveled to Liaocheng University to present to students and clinicians. This included presentations on physical therapy education and practice in the U.S., and the technique and benefits of a procedure known as dry needling, a form of therapy used for muscle pain.

"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 which meets the standards of the 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 Lioacheng," 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.

Dr. Maher was the recipient of the Outstanding Physical Therapist Award, and Dr. Dawn Hayes was the recipient of the Achievement in Education Award.
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