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Reaching out to Ukraine

[Queen's in the World]
Queen's in the World

Queen’s faculty members have offered their expertise to a Ukrainian humanitarian group that is working to improve physical and psychological rehabilitation services for that country’s wounded veterans.

“The need is great in Ukraine right now due to recent and ongoing conflict,” says Heather Aldersey, an assistant professor in Queen’s School of Rehabilitation Therapy and director of the AHEAD project in the International Centre for the Advancement of Community Based Rehabilitation (ICACBR). “The School of Rehabilitation Therapy and ICACBR have helped develop academic programs in conflict areas or areas marked by poverty in the past, and we are always open to considering new international connections such as this one with the Guardian Angels Ukraine project.”

The GAU project is an initiative of the League of Ukrainian Women (LUCW), a Canadian non-governmental organization.  GAU originally made a connection with the university through the Queen’s-based Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR). Col. Dr. Vsevolod Stebliuk, chair of GAU’s experts working group and a special advisor to Ukraine’s Minister of Defence for Medical Issues, spoke at last year’s Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) forum about the challenges the country faces as it reforms its veterans’ health-care system.

We gratefully acknowledge Queen’s significant cooperation for this initiative, and the faculty members’ ongoing support, advice and assistance in facilitating professional collaboration on curriculum development for Ukraine.
— Lisa Shymko, Chair, Guardian Angels Ukraine project

“Col. Stebliuk’s presentation was a call to the entire physiotherapy academic community to help,” says Dr. Alice Aiken, Scientific Director, CIMVHR. “They have enormous rehab needs and no way to meet them. We have an outstanding educational system, and we were pleased to help.”

As the project’s leaders sought to develop the first master’s-level program physical therapy in Kyiv, Ukraine, they approached Queen’s for advice and guidance. Ten School of Rehabilitation Therapy faculty members agreed to share their course outlines with GAU, which will help inform the development of the master’s program. Dr. Aldersey and other faculty members also sent emails to contacts in their networks to share information about the initiative and alert them to possible teaching opportunities in the new program.

“We gratefully acknowledge Queen’s significant cooperation for this initiative, and the faculty members’ ongoing support, advice and assistance in facilitating professional collaboration on curriculum development for Ukraine,” says Lisa Shymko, Chair of the GAU project.

Visit the ICACBR and CIMVHR websites to learn more about their work.