Ethiopia: Desperate Needs – Teach One, Treat Many

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The Jackson Clinics are setting a global standard in physical therapy by bringing education and excitement to physical therapists in Ethiopia.

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“It is amazing that a single private practice can make this kind of impact on a country’s healthcare,” said Richard Jackson, PT, OCS. “It is the most significant thing I have done in my career.”

In Ethiopia, a country of 85 million people, there are less than 200 physical therapists. Leprosy, polio, and paralysis are just a few of the desperate needs the people face. One clinic in Northern Virginia has dedicated its resources to work towards a solution. The Jackson Clinics LLC has established and funded a volunteer program aimed at bringing a high level of care to the area. Project Ethiopia, established in 2010, sponsors therapists to travel each month to the country and devote their time to training students in modern techniques and therapy.

“I am humbled and honored to have been a part of it, and I hope I can deliver on the promises we have made to them. I know we can,” said Ben Keeton, DPT, PT, OCS. “What an amazing experience.”

Training for the program is performed at the Black Lion Hospital, the teaching hospital for the Addis Ababa University, (AAU), Medical School. Therapists from the Jackson Clinics in combination with Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO) provide the critical professional support needed to facilitate the curriculum. To the students, this program has brought hope, encouragement, higher respect, and a doctoral level of education. The entire staff at The Jackson Clinics shares an incredible sense of pride in this endeavor. There is no greater reward than the gratitude felt from each student in the program.

“It is amazing that a single private practice can make this kind of impact on a country’s healthcare,” said Richard Jackson, PT, OCS. “It is the most significant thing I have done in my career.”

Project Ethiopia’s goal is to establish two levels of education. The first is the development of a two year advanced studies program followed by a two year residency program. This covers eight specialties in clinical training and includes up to 30 participants. The second level is to establish a doctoral program in physical therapy (DPT program) at AAU. This is an eight year project with training provided by the medical school and volunteers. The vision is to create a program that is run and taught by the people of Ethiopia. All volunteer instructors will be replaced in the future by those currently in the advanced studies/residency program.

To find out more about Project Ethiopia visit http://www.thejacksonclinics.com

About the Jackson Clinics LLC
Located throughout Northern Virginia, The Jackson Clinics is a locally owned physical therapy practice founded in 2005 by Richard and Anna Jackson and has 12 current locations. The practice specializes in outpatient orthopedics and sports rehabilitation. Its mission is to be a model practice in all respects; clinical care, education, and research. The clinic has been recognized for its outstanding patient care and is the National Practice Award Winner for 2010.

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Jonathan Rand
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