Kunming Medical University

First Accredited Speech-Hearing Program Established in China

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Kunming Medical University Faculty Give a Thumbs Up

Kunming Medical University Faculty Give a Thumbs Up

In December 2016, professors from Kunming Medical University (KMU) visited the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) at the University of Hawaiʻi (UH) at Mānoa to continue an extraordinary collaboration with the medical school. Faculty from KMU toured JABSOM, visiting some of the school’s clinical training facilities and sampling the Health Sciences Library’s new stress-reducing activities (“Brain Busters”). They also were introduced to some UH medical students. Dr. Luo also performed a brief demonstration of tai chi.


Earlier in 2016, KMU realized a groundbreaking accomplishment — achieved with assistance from the UH medical school — establishing China’s first-ever accredited academic program in speech and hearing. “There are 1.3 billion people in China and the government is strategically trying to improve the training of health professionals, especially rehab professionals in China,” said Dr. Zhiyong Luo, Director of Rehabilitation Medicine and professor at KMU. “Most importantly, the people really need rehabilitation.”
This partnership between KMU and JABSOM has spanned two years, after department chair and LIH Healthcare Technical Advisory Board Member Henry Lew, MD, PhD, signed a memorandum of understanding with KMU in 2014 to create a speech and hearing program in China. Afterward, professors from the Department of CSD traveled to China to help create the syllabus and curriculum for KMU’s speech and hearing program and to train the faculty in teaching speech pathology.
“Right now, we are proud to say that we have the first accredited speech therapy program in China,” Dr. Luo said.

Physical Therapists Grow Skills Through Visiting Grand Valley State University Professor

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In March 2015, Olivia’s Place had the pleasure of hosting Dr. Lisa Kenyon PT, DPT, PhD, PCS. Lisa is an Associate Professor of Physical Therapy at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, USA. She is a specialist in pediatric physical therapy and physical therapy education. Last winter, Lisa began partnering with Olivia’s Place in the development of a framework to provide educational advancement for Chinese trained therapists.

Participants of the regional Facilitating Movement in Children  workshop at Beijing School for the Blind

Participants of the regional Facilitating Movement in Children workshop at Beijing School for the Blind

Lisa’s visit to China started at Kunming Medical University in Yunnan Province, where she provided three days of training to the university’s rehabilitation educators regarding the US accreditation system and clinical education. Dr. Ao Lijuan, Chair of the university’s Rehabilitation Medicine Department, said, “”Dr. Kenyon was remarkable. Her training was a huge help to all of the faculty and leaders from the rehabilitation education community in China who traveled from around China to hear her. The participants felt her training was vitally helpful to our efforts to advance the profession of physical therapy, set up new physical therapy degree programs and accreditation standards and systems for those programs, and to improve the quality of clinic education for physical therapists here.” Following her time in Kunming, Lisa noted, “Like physical therapist educators I have met from all over the world, the Chinese educators are strongly committed to providing the best education possible for their students so that their students can provide the best possible care to all patients.”

Lisa Kenyon demonstrates techniques to improve head control at Beijing Children's Hospital.

Lisa Kenyon demonstrates techniques to improve head control at Beijing Children’s Hospital.

Lisa also provided training to therapists at Olivia’s Place and Eliott’s Corner on current physical therapy practice in the neonatal intensive care unit and the development of clinical reasoning skills. Lis Ringrose, Clinical Director, reported, “It was great to have Lisa visit and help our clinicians keep up with latest therapy thinking and practice. As we look to working toward our mission of helping to further therapy in China, and we work more in training local therapists, it is vital that we work closely with experienced educators.”

Lisa Kenyon and April Gamble, PT at Eliott's Corner, with training participants at Beijing Children's Hospital.

Lisa Kenyon and April Gamble, PT at Eliott’s Corner, with training participants at Beijing Children’s Hospital.

In Beijing, Lisa also provided a workshop regarding the use of manual handling techniques in facilitating a child’s movement and function.This was hosted by the Beijing School for the Blind. Forty-five therapists, doctors, and teachers attended from schools, hospitals, childcare centers, and orphanages in the Beijing area. An American physical therapist currently practicing in Tianjin who attended the workshop reported that Lisa provided a training that was more valuable than a continuing education course she recently took in America. She highlighted that Lisa provided both theory and relevant application, which is essential if participants are going to incorporate new information into their work with children.

Finally, Lisa provided training at Beijing Children’s Hospital, with participation from about 50 therapists and doctors. She worked directly with three pediatric patients in order to demonstrate the role of physical therapy in spinal cord injury, encephalitis, and coma. Dr. Fang Fang, Chair of the Neurology department at the hospital, stated that the training helped the hospital team further recognize the role of rehabilitation in improving a child’s function in a variety of conditions and diagnoses.

Dr. Han,Beijing Chidren's Hospital (2nd from left), reviews a brain MRI with Lisa and therapists from Eliott's Corner to discuss the role of physical therapy in the child's treatment plan.

Dr. Han,Beijing Chidren’s Hospital (2nd from left), reviews a brain MRI with Lisa and therapists from Eliott’s Corner to
discuss the role of physical therapy in the child’s treatment plan.

Lisa summarized her experience in China with, “I have developed a heart for China and see hope for a future that includes the availability of high quality therapy services for children in China. I look forward to the opportunity to partner with the therapists and staff at Olivia’s Place as they focus on their mission to improve the standard of care for the children in China who have special needs.”

Kunming Medical University Starts First Medical Bachelor’s Program in Speech-Language Pathology

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Kunming Medical University’s Rehabilitation Medicine Department, led by Dr. Ao Lijuan, who is also a member of the Olivia’s Place Technical Advisory Board, has just recruited the first cohort of freshman students in September for a four year degree program in Audiology and Speech and Language Pathology. It is the first-ever such program at a medical school in China. Through collaborative work with Olivia’s Place, Kunming Medical University began a partnership with the University of Hawaii’s John Burns Medical School.  The University of Hawaii has been providing technical support and faculty training to Kunming Medical University since summer 2013 to develop this groundbreaking new program.  Congratulations to Kunming Medical University, the faculty led by Dr. Ao who have worked to establish this program, and to the first freshman class of future speech-language pathologists!