LLU faculty members participate in nine-day South American trip
Loma Linda University faculty present a gift to Javier Maier (center), the director of the physical therapy program at Universidad Adventista del Plata in Argentina.
Loma Linda University faculty and alumni from the department of physical therapy in the School of Allied Health Professions traveled to South America for a nine-day mission trip during the month of August 2007.
The team included faculty members Tony Valenzuela, EdD, assistant professor of physical therapy, and Eric Johnson, MPT, assistant professor of physical therapy, along with alumni Pablo Mleziva, Catherine Wilson, and Maria Cúneo, as well as Dr. Valenzuela’s daughter, Lindsey Valenzuela. The purpose was to educate physical therapy faculty, clinicians, and students from Argentina and Brazil on how to examine and manage patients with chronic dizziness associated with vestibular (inner ear) pathology.
Despite the high prevalence of vestibular-related dizziness, particularly in the elderly, few clinicians in the United States and virtually none in South America have had formal training on vestibular rehabilitation. The group traveled to Universidad Adventista del Plata in Argentina and to Faculdade Adventista de Bahia in Brazil. The response was overwhelming, with nearly 200 participants attending the educational seminars. All revenue generated from the seminars was donated to the hosting universities. Clinical activities included lecture, video demonstration, laboratory training, and patient examination and treatment. In addition to teaching vestibular rehabilitation, University faculty and alumni also gave several devotionals and sermons during the trip.
The team was invited to return to both universities to provide future educational seminars that will allow clinicians in those areas to better serve their communities.
By Eric Johnson, MPT
Physical therapy alumnus Pablo Mleziva directs one of the laboratory classes at Faculdade Adventista de Bahia in Brazil.