Physical Therapy in Africa

Living out the university’s mission to “serve with passion,” each year students and faculty from the doctor of physical therapy program embark on a trip to Africa to tend to the needs of underserved communities.

Initiated in 2014, the annual trips give DPT students the opportunity to put their training into practice. Teams have visited schools for children with disabilities, clinics, villages, and teaching institutions, allowing George Fox students the opportunity to teach classes in orthopedics, stroke prevention, and neurorehabilitation, among other topics.

2019 Uganda and Ghana Trips

Uganda: June 9-24

In June, George Fox sent a team of 10 third-year graduate students and three faculty members to Uganda to collaborate with partners who are leaders in advocating for people with disabilities.

In the capital city of Kampala, the group served in two boarding schools for children with special needs alongside teachers, social work interns, and school personnel with whom George Fox has a six-year relationship. As in past years, we were blessed to cross-mentor together in these schools, sharing our respective expertise in order to grow in how we each best serve people with special needs in our work.

Equipped and empowered by their experience in the schools, students traveled north eight hours to the remote town of Paidah, where one of our partners has started a much-needed medical center. For two days, students provided physical therapy for over 200 adults and children, working alongside Ugandan physicians and medical technicians. The work there was celebrated by the community and district leaders, opening doors for our Ugandan partners in their initiative to bring better healthcare to people in that region.

In 2020 we will return to Uganda and continue to listen and share our gifts with these national leaders in advocacy.

Ghana

Clinical faculty members Andrew and Sara Fifield and program director Tyler Cuddeford led a team of 11 third-year students to Ghana for a fourth straight year. Students and faculty taught hundreds of patients with orthopedic and neurological conditions in Accra, and students and faculty presented on stroke prevention, screening, and rehabilitation at a two-day international conference on sports physical therapy and rehabilitation.

The second annual African Summit drew more than 500 participants and included rehabilitation professionals and students from Ghana, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire.

While in Kumasi and Ho, George Fox students and faculty taught classes in orthopedics, health and wellness, and neurorehabilitation to students and faculty at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and the University of Health and Allied Sciences. In total, the team treated more than 800 people in various clinics across several regions.

"Ultimately, being experts in mobility, our mission is to empower people to take care of themselves – to get them to function better, whether that means teaching someone to walk or just helping them move in a more efficient way."

- Tyler Cuddeford, director of George Fox’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program, on the goal of the Africa trips

Serving in Africa since 2014

George Fox’s physical therapy program embarked on its service initiative to Africa in 2014 with a trip to Uganda, when a group of 12 students and two professors tended to the needs of children and adults stricken by disease and immobility.

Each year since, a team returns to the continent to offer their expertise and show compassion. And while the trip isn’t a requirement for graduation, it aligns with the program’s “professional duty and social responsibility” component.