16-3 Health promotion and physical activity in the undergraduate curriculum
Health promotion and physical activity in the undergraduate curriculum in the Department of Physiotherapy at Ariel University / Ofira Einstein, Noa Ben-Ami, Michal Azmon
Introduction: The sedentary Western lifestyle, which is characterized by the absence of physical activity, along with the significant increase in life expectancy, have led
physiotherapists to include physical activity, adjusted to the level of the target population, among the tools of their trade. The general perception in health policy organizations in the world today is that physiotherapists are the professionals spearheading programs for the promotion of health and physical activity. Medical organizations in Israel offer physiotherapists specialized training programs in health promotion and physical activity, based on the conception that the expertise of physiotherapists gives them a professional edge for managing this field. In this spirit, the department of physiotherapy at Ariel University has made it its mission to promote this important area.
Purposes: To incorporate the field of health promotion and physical activity as an integral part of the physiotherapy curriculum at Ariel University and train graduates in the
spirit of contemporary health policy worldwide.
Process Description: As part of the process, a faculty member from the department has been assigned to the position of Health Promotion and Physical Activity Coordinator. This role entails heading a task committee that devises and implements ways to advance and develop the field. Consequently, the physiotherapy department now operates on several levels to advance the field: 1. The principles of adjusted physical activity have been integrated into the teaching materials of various courses in the curriculum, and a new requisite course has been added to the curriculum, to address the field of health promotion and physical activity. The students are also given the opportunity to take a university subsidized enrichment course to qualify them as fitness and health instructors (gym instructors). 2. The department encourages students to get involved in special projects related to physical activity, such as the annual departmental sports day, which is organized by the physiotherapy students. 3. Health promotion and physical activity seminars and workshops are organized by the physiotherapy department, for the benefit of departmental and university faculty and staff.
Conclusion and Implications: The process described above aims to establish physical therapists as experts in the field of preventive medicine and health promotion, starting at the undergraduate level. The process is part of a comprehensive effort to strengthen the link between the academy and the clinical field, and to tailor the professional curriculum to the trends of the medical world.
Key Words: Physical activity, health promotion, physiotherapy curriculum, physiotherapy education