The University of St. Augustine has enjoyed a long-standing partnership with Universidad Andres Bello in Santiago, Chile. It began many years ago when Dr. Stanley Paris met Dr. Mariano Rocabado in a seminar. This friendship evolved over the years into a relationship that allowed for teaching exchanges between Dr. Rocabado (an expert in cranio-facial physical therapy) and our manual therapy seminar instructors.
Last October, the relationship was further expanded when Dr. Bonnie Decker and Dr. Cindy Mathena went to Chile to teach and expand the relationship in occupational therapy. As a result of this trip, it was decided that a formal partnership would be formed to include student exchanges, faculty exchanges, service learning trips and shared research experiences.
On July 13th, two Chilean faculty members presented a two-day seminar on Social Occupational Therapy. Over 40 participants enjoyed this collaboration, presenting the community-based service model widely practiced in Latin America. Professors Lucia Vivanco and Alejandro Guajardo taught participants how occupational therapy can be delivered as an intervention for disaster relief, domestic violence and community mental health issues such as homelessness. While this form of occupational therapy is not commonly practiced in the United States, many of the concepts can be integrated into daily practice.
This seminar will be followed by an opportunity to visit Santiago, Chile to participate in community-based OT next spring as part of a service learning trip. It is hoped that the partnership will grow and foster an international exchange and sisterhood between the two schools.