The Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU), is opening a School of Rehabilitation Medicine to train physical therapists and ergotherapists. The head of the school will be Dr. Ulana Suprun, Director of Humanitarian Initiatives of the Ukrainian World Congress, born and raised in Warren Michigan.
At the start of the protests in late 2013, Dr. Suprun moved to Ukraine and helped create the Patriot Defence initiative to professionally train Ukrainian soldiers according to NATO standards, including training them in providing first aid under combat conditions. Dr. Suprun spoke at a press conference held in Kyiv [Kiev] on October 13 announcing the school’s opening.
The school will have a few different goals. In September 2016 the opening of a two-year master’s program to train physical therapists is planned. The program will prepare specialists according to international standards with a focus on physical rehabilitation and ergotherapy. Inasmuch as the preparation of physical therapists above all involves practicum, the second area of focus will be the creation of a modern rehabilitation center to provide physical and psychological rehabilitation. This will be a place of rehabilitation for patients and education for students.
According to Dr. Suprun, the foundational idea of the school is a new paradigm aimed at changing the system and beginning practical studies in Ukraine. “The school’s program has been developed taking into account the experience of European, Canadian, and American universities,” she explained. “This will allow students to gain knowledge and skills in rehabilitation according to international standards. Entrance will be on a competitive basis and applicants must fulfill the mandatory requirements. Certainly, the activities of the school will be a model for imitation and introduce new standards for the whole country.”
“The war in eastern Ukraine has shown that one of the challenges for the country is the question of rehabilitation,” said Fr. Bohdan Prach, PhD, rector of the university. “There are only a small number of rehabilitation centers in Ukraine that are able to provide services for soldiers of the ATO [anti-terrorist operation] and victims of war. Currently the city of Przemysl (a Polish town located seven kilometers from the Polish-Ukrainian border with a population of 66,756) has five ambulatory centers, not even mentioning hospitals. UCU has always responded to the challenges of the times and offered proposals for the requests of civil society. Therefore, we see it as one of our tasks to develop the field of rehabilitation in Ukraine.”
“UCU uses the newest and best approaches from international experience and has developed partnerships with various organizations throughout the world,” said Suprun. “This provides very fertile ground for the introduction of programs. In addition, the university already has a health program, in particular medical, psychological and social assistance for people with special needs, a School of Bioethics, an Institute of Mental Health, and a bachelor’s program in clinical psychology.”
Dr. Taras Dobko, UCU’s Senior Vice-Rector, said: “We understand that a person with physical disabilities has basic rights and needs, like any other person. Our goal is to return those soldiers and civilians who have suffered in the war to an independent and normal life, preserving their dignity, without creating a new generation of ‘invalids’ who are dependent on society to receive financial support and feel that they are ‘second class.’ The opening of the school is UCU’s humble contribution to transforming the sphere of rehabilitation in the country.”
Potential partners for the school, financial and educational, include NATO, the United States European Command, Yale University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, (Illinois- Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital and Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital), and the Ukraine-based UkrEximBank.
Dr. Vassyl Lonchyna of The University of Chicago Medical Center is also involved with the school. And he will be the emcee at a fundraising banquet to benefit the university to be held at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Chicago on Sunday October 25. More information on the event is available here.