11 Apr 2023

Looking Back: ENPHE Seminar 2023 - Educating Physiotherapists for a Global Mindset

The European Network of Physiotherapy in Higher Education (ENPHE) held its spring seminar in Bergen, Norway between 9-11 of March 2023. Hosted by the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences and with the support of the Arctic Norway University and the Environmental Physiotherapy group, the seminar brought together physiotherapy educators, researchers, and students from across Europe to exchange knowledge, insights, and experiences.


Overview of the Seminar

Over the course of three days, attendees had the opportunity to participate in a wide range of activities, including keynote speeches, development sessions, and networking sessions. The theme of this year's seminar was "Educating Physiotherapists for a Global Mindset", which inspired lively and engaging conversations about the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities in the field.

We counted with the presence of a colleague from the United States of America, Julia Chevan, Professor of Physical Therapy in Springfield College, Massachusetts and Member of the Executive Board  American Council of Academic Physical Therapy (ACAPT).  ACAPT is the United States association representing the 256+ institutions of higher education in physical therapy.  ACAPT's core purpose is to lead physical therapy in pursuit of academic excellence. It was a great pleasure to have her with us and discuss possible collaborations.


About the Keynotes

Joost van Wijchen's - Programme manager at Physiotherapy Department at the Western Norway University of Applied Science, on behalf of his colleague Erik Jansen talked about the "Future Sustainable Practices" emphasizing the need to work together to achieve lasting transformation, using social justice as a moral lens for physiotherapy. He highlighted that true wellbeing is in harmony with the environment, and that education is a continual journey of growth. Van Wijchen called for taking a vow and putting it into action to achieve sustainable professional practice.

Filip Maric's - Lecturer and researcher at Arctic Norway University and founder of the Environmental Physiotherapy Association - keynote speech at the ENPHE seminar 2023 in Bergen highlighted the interconnectedness of physiotherapy and the environment. He stressed that there is no health without a healthy environment and society, and that all physiotherapy is connected to the environment in some way. Maric urged physiotherapy educators and professionals to take action and start implementing environmental considerations into their work, regardless of where they begin.


About the Working Group Development Sessions

Working Groups invested their expertise and motivation in the seminar to develop new work and to re-evaluate the direction of each WG as well as identify crucial thematic topics to be addressed. All work and progress made by the groups can be seen in the respective WG webpage found here.

During the seminar a new WG was launched: Emergent Topics in Physiotherapy, with the topic address this year being “AI and ChatGPT’s impact on Physiotherapy Education and Research”. You can read about the work developed during the seminar here.


The Students’ Day

Of course, the student had a day devoted to them before the start of the seminar. The students group organize a day addressing on how to connect and to add value to physiotherapeutic healthcare with innovative developments during which student participants devoted time to looking back at the History of Physiotherapy, the meaning of Global Mindset and the role of social media as a way to impact the world. The students developed videos to raise awareness about relevant topics, such as actively lifestyle and care, and used humour to make it more attractive. You can see their results in their webpage.


General Assembly

The General Assembly for the Spring Seminar occurred before the closing ceremony, with 49 members in the room and 11 attending online from the 157 current members, considering both full and associate members.

The hybrid format is a new policy for the GA, allowing members with no possibility to attend on-site to follow the main points of discussion and transparentize the information process. A new proposal was shared with the members in an initiative to make the process as quick and smooth as possible, specifically concerning the voting process. In the newly proposed format, the GA will be used to present the points that require voting. Right afterwards, the voting will be started online and remain open for one week. Directly after the closing of the voting process, the results will be shared with the GA members. 

So far, the GA is willing to incorporate more discussion elements so that the General Assembly will be a real discussion space for the members.


The ENPHE Community

Through the days, familiar faces were reunited, and new connections were made amongst the over 100 participants of the seminar. A participant – Mathijs Wicherson, University of Applied Sciences of Utrecht, Netherlands – of the seminar shared with us: “What I really like about [ENPHE] is that I meeting colleagues from all over the world […] and we are sharing about universities, how we approach students and the contents of our courses”

An ENPHE event is not the same without its iconic ENPHE Gala, which took place at the Grand Bergen, with a great atmosphere!


Looking back…

…it is safe to say that the ENPHE Seminar Edition of 2023 in Bergen, Norway was another successful ENPHE event, with colleagues coming together to collaborate, network and co-create. Such a success would not have been possible without the tireless work of our colleagues at the host university, therefore, a big thank you to the colleagues of The Western Norway University of Applied Sciences and thank you for the support and contributions of The Arctic Norway University and the Environmental Physiotherapy Association. Additionally, thank you to the keynote speakers for sharing their insights, and the WG facilitators for facilitating and moderating such interesting and fruitful development sessions. And last, but certainly not least, thank you to all the participants for joining and making this ENPHE event so pleasant. We hope to see you all again during the ENPHE Conference 2023 Edition in Czech Republic!