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Full Story

ACAPT endorses Environmental Physiotherapy Agenda 2023

Nov 4, 2020

The Environmental Physiotherapy Agenda 2023 is built around a single aim:

To ensure that every DPT program and its student beginning entry-level physiotherapy (physical therapy) education from 2020 onwards will have education regarding the relationship between the environment, human health and functioning, and how this pertains to physiotherapy (physical therapy).

The EPT Agenda 2023 is a global call-to-action aiming at the integration of environmental and sustainability perspectives into PT education programs around the world. As a global initiative, it represents an unprecedented effort in pulling together the strength of the entire physical therapy/physiotherapy profession to simultaneously contribute to human and environmental health, functioning and flourishing.

"The EPT agenda encourages us to teach our students about the interconnection between health and the environment," says ACAPT Treasurer Julia Chevan. "During the recent Educational Leadership Conference, Dr. Alan Jette asked us to consider not only the health of an individual patient, but population health.  We teach standing on the precipice of a massive impact of environmental change on health.  We need to adapt our curricula to focus on population health and planetary health to address how a PT provides advice and care to our patients."

According to the EPT agenda there are many approaches to integrating content into a physical therapy curriculum.  One example is to focus on the social determinants of health, explaining how constructs like poverty and affluence link to environmental degradation and health, and identifying ways that healthcare professionals’ work can have a direct impact on people’s health and well-being. For instance, populations with lower socioeconomic status often live in more polluted, noisy, dangerous areas because they cannot afford the benefits that come with affluence. This has a direct effect on their health and indirectly affects their care because healthcare services may be further away, more expensive, or inflexible.  The interventions for disease taught in a physical therapy curriculum do not address the root causes of those diseases including the environment.

ACAPT's membership endorsed the EPT Agenda 2023 at its business meeting in October 2020.  Individual ACAPT institutions are invited to join as signatories to the EPT Agenda and to contribute to the database of curriculum and teaching ideas.  You can also review the Environmental Physiotherapy Association blog.

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