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Maintaining our reputation on a global
Marcus Dripps

There is no better indication that we live in a global healthcare community than the fact that we had delegates from 25 different countries attend the recent APA Conference in Melbourne. That many physiotherapists from around the world were drawn to an Australian event is a reflection of the calibre of local and international presenters who were on show (and that physiotherapists from overseas enjoy the excuse to visit Australia).

But this is also a reflection of the esteem in which Australian physiotherapy is held internationally; Australian physiotherapists have always enjoyed an excellent international clinical reputation. In many ways, working/studying/teaching as a physiotherapist internationally is a little like backpacking—wherever you go you will find an Aussie. For many decades this has been the way with the leaders in our profession in Australia, who have valued the opportunity to teach and learn with their colleagues, establish relationships and future alliances, and contribute to the global physiotherapy profession.

The recent Asia/West Pacific meeting and conference of the World Confederation of Physical Therapists (WCPT) in Taiwan was no exception, with leading Australian clinicians, teachers and researchers presenting and attending numerous sessions. The Asia/West Pacific region is the fastest growing region of the WCPT, and the growth in both the population of the countries involved and the number of physiotherapists across this region presents many great opportunities for Australian physiotherapists, companies, institutions and the APA.

By continuing to actively engage in clinical communities in our areas of clinical expertise internationally, collaborating in multidisciplinary research, and working with the WCPT and with the Asia/West Pacific region, we are maintaining and enhancing the reputation of physiotherapy in Australia.

All of us benefit from this either directly or indirectly. Those involved in education and training are able to disseminate their learning widely, and are warmly received. Researchers collaborate and share results that can positively affect more patients. Even local clinicians, who may not be able to be directly engaged internationally, benefit by the APA being able to attract high calibre international presenters to conferences and other speaking engagements. International reputation is comprised of the reputations of individuals, institutions and Australian physiotherapy as a whole. This contributes to us being able to better serve the health needs of our patients.

I hope that the value that is placed on international engagement by these individuals, as well as teaching and research institutions, continues for many years to come. The APA is proud to continue to play our role in helping to maintain and build the international reputation of Australian physiotherapy and its connection with the profession internationally. I am sure that this will continue as we head towards the four-yearly international WCPT conference, to be held in Singapore in 2015.

For many years we have rightfully been proud of the regard in which we are held internationally. The challenge is to stay at the forefront in the longer term, and not rest on our laurels.

MARCUS DRIPPS, APAM
APA National President

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