Physical Therapy students travel to Malawi for service learning project

Monday, January 13, 2020
UCSF/SFSU physical therapy group with community health volunteers

Jordan Waite, Athenie Galvez, Casey Nesbit, Kyle Jureindini with community health volunteers in Msundwe Village, Malawi

Third-year Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students Athenie Galvez, Kyle Jureidini and Jordan Waite, along with Assistant Professor Casey Nesbit from the UCSF/SF State Graduate Program in Physical Therapy, went to Malawi for two weeks in December following a fall semester of preparatory discussion sessions. While there, they provided a two-day rehabilitation training program for 60 home-based palliative-care community health workers as well as physical therapy services at St. Gabriel’s Hospital.

The small, primarily rural country of Malawi in southeast Africa has a critical shortage of physical therapists. Nesbit has been providing physical therapy service for the 250,000 people in the large catchment area at St. Gabriel’s Hospital for the past 14 years.

The two-day rehabilitation training program — the seventh year of annual training — focused on integrating blood pressure monitoring in rehabilitation care.

The group provided physical therapy services for patients at the 300-bed hospital, 20-bed inpatient rehabilitation unit and to home-bound patients in the surrounding villages.

The service learning project received full support from the home-based care coordinator and the hospital director. The UCSF/SF State DPT students demonstrated cultural competence, ethically-driven clinical decision making and adaptability in a resource-limited setting. They also showed their ability to work effectively as a collaborative team with Malawian heath care providers, patients and families.