ISSUE 40, May 2019
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Official newsletter of the International Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine
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ISPRM 2019 - Photo Contest! 
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ISPRM 2019 Awards

The Awards and Nominating Committee has announced the following winners:

Sidney Litcht Lectureship Award 2019 - Isabelle Laffont
Herman Flax Lifetime Achievement Award 2019 - Linamara Battistella

The International Exchange Committee has announced the following nominees:

Haim Ring Memorial Award 2019 – IndividualAndrew J. Haig

Haim Ring Memorial Award 2019 – InstitutionalPhysical and Rehabilitation Medicine Institute of the University of Sao Paulo Medical School General Hospital (Instituto de Medicina Física e Reabilitação do Hospital das Clínicas da Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo, IMREA-HCFMUSP)

These awards will be handed out at the Closing Ceremony of ISPRM2019 on Thursday June 13th in Kobe. Come and show your support!
The Sidney Licht Lectureship event starts at 11:15 on Thursday June 13th.

ISPRM Grants Announcement

The purpose of the International Education Development Fund is defined on article II of its operational guidelines (
During the ISPRM meetings in Paris, 2018, a proposal of the IEDF trustees was approved by the Executive Committee and the President’s Cabinet to spend the entire fund during the next few years. It was also suggested that a significant amount could be to help the participation of more colleagues in the ISPRM World Congress and the IEDF decided to offer two grants:
  1. A “General grant”, for colleagues from developing countries (Low and Lower middle-income countries)
  2. A “Special grant”, for young colleagues for those founding/launching the Young PRM physicians, residents and medical students Task Force.
These grants were announced on the ISPRM website -  - and through a mail shot for the ISPRM National Societies and Individual members.
It is our pleasure to announce the grantees:

1.            Abdoul Aziz Alfari
2.            Abena Tannor
3.            Fiston Mampuya Ngonde
4.            Georges Meya Kiala
5.            Jinhui Peng
6.            Kulalingam Akilendran
7.            Maha E. Ibrahim Abdelfattah
8.            Moshiur Rahman Khasru
9.            Sa’adatu Abubakar Maiwada
10.          Satty Hassan SattySaaed
11.          Tatiana Ranaivondrambola
12.          Tsetsegbal Ochirsuuri
1.            Alessandro de Sire
2.            Chuenchom Chueluecha
3.            Dewi Masrifah Ayub
4.            José António Martins de Araújo
5.            Ligia Trombetta Lima
6.            Manoj Kumar Poudel
7.            Mohamed Elbuzidi
8.            Mohammad Al Wardat
9.            Patrick McPhee
10.          Srikant Venkatakrishnan
11.          Wei Xin

The IEDF congratulates the grantees, wishes the best success for ISPRM-JARM 2019, Kobe, and has the pleasure to announce that these grants will also happen for ISPRM-AAP 2020, Orlando.
International Education and development Fund
(Jorge Lains, Chair)

ISPRM 2020 Announcement 

We invite students, physicians and researchers from around the world to submit case reports, research studies, and scientific papers for presentation at ISPRM 2020, the joint ISPRM World Congress and AAP Annual Meeting. Accepted abstracts will be showcased at Poster Gallery receptions, online, and in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and the Journal of the International Society of Physical & Rehabilitation Medicine. Find topics of interest, submission guidelines and more at
Visit our booth at ISPRM 2019 in Kobe, Japan to learn more about ISPRM 2020 and abstract submission!

Did you know about the ISPRM World Youth Forum Task Force (WYF)?

It’s our newly stablished international task force representing early-career physiatrists (up to 5 years after completion of training), PMR residents, fellows and medical students around the world. READ MORE


  1. Board Representatives for World Youth Forum of ISPRM
  2. Country Ambassadors (one from each country, recommended by national society if present)
  3. General Members 
Come join the 1st ISPRM WYF Formal Panel Discussion in Kobe! *
*FREE EVENT (Open to early-career physiatrists (up to 5 years after completion of training), PMR residents, fellows and medical students)
ISPRM is in official relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO) since 1999 as a non-State actor. Walter Frontera, our president, Carlotte Kiekens and Vanessa Seijas, chair and secretary of the ISPRM-WHO liaison committee and Gerold Stucki attended the 72nd World Health Assembly (#WHA72) in Geneva, taking place from 20 to 28th May. ISPRM made four statements on agenda points that we will consecutively publish in ISPRM News & Views.
The first one relates to agenda point 11.5 on Universal Health Coverage with the following sub-points:
  • Primary health care (PHC) towards universal health coverage
  • Community health workers delivering primary health care: opportunities and challenges.
We submitted this statement together with six other non-State actors working in the field of rehabilitation (WCPT, WFOT, ISPO, WONCA, HI and IALP) and with the support of the Global Rehabilitation Alliance. Our recommendations are to:
1. Acknowledge the need to include rehabilitation in PHC, to expand and decentralize rehabilitation services’ delivery and make them available to everyone.
2. Work specifically to train PHC professionals in providing basic rehabilitation services and to identify
rehabilitation needs.
You can read the full statement HERE and click below to watch the video.

Picture from Left to Right:  Dr. Vanessa Seijas, Dr. Carlotte Kiekens,
Prof. Walter Frontera, Prof. Gerold Stucki
Views & Voices
DISCLAIMER: The article below represents the author's opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the ISPRM. If you'd like to write a reply to this issue's article, or offer a different perspective on this topic, please write to
To expand PRM globally we must take an economic approach
Andrew J. Haig, M.D.
Professor Emeritus, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
University of Michigan School of Medicine and Ross School of Business
Few of us chose PRM as a specialty so we could make money.  And those of us who strive to build rehabilitation in low-resource and isolated regions certainly aren’t in it for the cash!  Yet, maybe that compassionate mindset is exactly why we have failed to make PRM strong in every country in the world.   For over a decade I’ve been studying the challenge of building rehabilitation overseas, and my major conclusion is:
Everybody (except me…) has to make money doing it.
I wish it weren’t so.  I wish the kind old Catholic brother at Ghana’s Orthopedic Training Institute could find enough dead Belgian amputees to donate prosthetic legs. But there are just too many Africans.  I wish those used titanium wheelchairs shipped from the US could be welded by Hondurans after they break.  Instead any Honduran foolish enough to accept one will be stranded on the dirt road when a caster breaks.  I really wish the American doctors who fly to Haiti to do miraculous surgery weren’t putting the local cash-based doctors out of business.  But they skip town leaving these poor docs to fix complications from operations they were never trained in.
I also wish the brightest woman in a Vietnamese medical school would choose to train in PRM instead of surgery or internal medicine.  And I wish the smartest kid in a rural Malaysian town, who won a scholarship to go to university, then medical school, then trained in PRM, wanted to go back to his small rural community with no Internet, marry an uneducated farm girl, and raise ignorant children.  It ain’t gonna happen, friends.
That’s because the local doctors in each of these countries are just like you.  They go to their clinic every morning, work hard, do brilliant work, complain about their pay, and seek to advance their careers.  The more entrepreneurial ones, just like some of you, break away from the safe mother university hospital and open up their own clinic.  Or two, or 3, or a few hospitals. 
The same forces affect everyone whom you wish would support rehabilitation. The community based rehabilitation worker might make more money doing AIDS education.  The ward nurse and the head physiotherapists have budgets to keep.  If the hospital administrator shows a profit she might get a job at a bigger hospital.  The minister of health may or may not get a bigger budget and more political clout (thus a bigger budget…) if he shows that his hospitals return people to work faster.  
Or…maybe the community based rehabilitation worker feeds their family by selling shoes made from stolen orthotic components, the physiotherapist loses their administrative stipend if a PRM physician shows up to lead, the hospital actually makes money by keeping people longer than they need to, and the minister of health is … is a politician.  It’s kind of important to know!
Poverty is not everywhere.  Even the poorest African country has maybe 100,000 people who live an upper middle class or wealthy lifestyle.  That equates to maybe 6 PRM physicians for these people alone.  With the economist  Paul Clyde we figured out that Kume hospital in rural Uganda could get money to deliver babies and care for trauma if it only built a good enough rehab center to admit Ugandan paying customers.  It’s a lot cheaper and better than shipping grandma off to London after her stroke.
Often enough the limiting factor is that the poor person with disability cannot pay for their own rehabilitation. My Michigan colleague, C.K. Prahalad, is sadly gone now. His famous book, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, used examples from rehabilitation as well as commerce to point out that millions and millions of dollars can be made if only entrepreneurs understood the needs, values, and financial realities of poor people.   Poor women do want to buy shampoo. But they can only afford 1-wash bottles.  If he only had a job or a loan the amputee could probably pay for a limb over time.  My suggestion to the Liberian government before the Ebola crisis was to build a rehabilitation farm and give poor farmers the option of working for a year on the farm while learning advanced farming, forestry, or environmental skills. They would return debt free as an asset to their local village.
Well meaning outsiders CAN do good.  But only as a catalyst or investor or mentor to those who will do the work.   PRM is not served well unless each person along each step of the economic ladder is winning.   When that happens programs grow and others steal their ideas.  It is a rare outsider who truly understands the local economic forces enough to invest, even as charity.   
Our model has been to visibly not ever bring financial support.  Instead we find a PRM specialist practicing in the United States who was born in the other country. Then with that doctor’s help we seek out a passionate local champion for PRM. We work with these two to build the financial and political argument for the local health system to invest in PRM.  In Ghana and Ethiopia local hospitals are now paying salaries of doctors training in our on-line PRM fellowship and will be certified by the local medical authority as specialists.  Rehabilitation champions in a number of other countries have contacted us to do the same.  (and we need more volunteer online teachers!  Please email me if you’re interested:
So it's all about the money?   I guess not. Like many of you, my efforts just drain my bank account and add hours to my day. The local doctors, therapists, and administrators typically put my sacrifice to shame with their altruistic commitment to their community.  The driving force for all of us is compassion.  Yet relying on compassion without an economic model guarantees that each project will die after we leave it, and no project will be emulated by others.   For PRM to grow and sustain itself around the world, we must engage in creative and entrepreneurial business planning. 
Global PM&R updates!
Previously, we had shared the increased involvement of Guatemalan Association of Physiatry. The organization has successfully completed an education session regarding biomolecular modular intervention as well as a Shochwave Workshop in Zurich. We congratulate them on their continued improvement of physiatry in Guatemala!
We also want to congratulate the Iranian Congress of Physican Medicine, Rehabilitation and Electrodiagnosis to a successful complete! With over 600 participants, including over 500 physiatrists! The first issue of the Iranian Journal of Physical Medicine, Rehabilitation and electrodiagnosis (JPMRE) was also published! We congratulate them on both accomplishments.
Remember to renew your ISPRM Membership!
For instructions on how to become an active ISPRM member please refer to our guide. CLICK HERE.

Cochrane Rehabilitation Newsletter

The Newsletter contains an update on the Cochrane Rehabilitation activities, Cochrane Systematic Reviews and blogshots of rehabilitation interest.
Cochrane Rehabilitation Newsletter Issue 18 | March 2019 >>
Cochrane Rehabilitation Newsletter Issue 19| April 2019 >>
Cochrane Rehabilitation Newsletter Issue 20| May 2019 >>

Upcoming events

Stay up-to-date about PRM events throughout the year  

The following events will take place in the coming months:

3rd International Congress on Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair
22 May 2019 - 24 May 2019

► World Musculus 2019
October 10th, 11th, 12th, Armenia (Quindio), Colombia

13th ISPRM World Congress - ISPRM 2019
9-13 June 2019, Kobe, Japan

If you want to have your upcoming event listed here as well, contact us through

Future ISPRM World Congresses

13th ISPRM World Congress - ISPRM 2019
9-13 June, Kobe, Japan

14th ISPRM World Congress - ISPRM 2020
4-9 March, Orlando, USA

15th ISPRM World Congress - ISPRM 2021
16-19 May, Lisbon, Portugal

16th ISPRM World Congress - ISPRM 2022
Sydney, Australia
Chair of the News & Views sub-committee: André Thévenon

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