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Children's Therapy Unit founder Linda Yates shows orthotics to Neal Sobania of PLU's Wang Center, CPN board member Weidong Chen, Hainan Airlines Seattle General Manager Liang Pubin, scholar Sidney Rittenberg, and PLU President Loren Anderson.
Doctors, therapists volunteer to help children in China
An innovative model of treatment developed at the Children’s Therapy Unit in Washington state is now helping children with cerebral palsy and other neuromuscular disorders in underserved areas of China, thanks to a group of local volunteers called the China Partners Network.
The charitable work was on display last week during a behind-the-scenes tour and presentation at the Children’s Therapy Unit at MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, Wash.
This team approach at the Children's Therapy Unit centers on collaboration among physicians, therapists, pediatric specialists and families to focus on the goals of the child, which allows children with developmental disabilities to achieve their fullest potential, whatever that may be.
In China, rehabilitation medicine is far behind the standards of the West, and there’s a lack of consistent professional knowledge in the treatment of children with neuromuscular diseases.
That’s where China Partners Network comes in.
Pediatric physicians and therapists from Good Samaritan’s Children’s Therapy Unit and Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital volunteer to travel to China to train health professionals in methods and techniques to improve the overall quality of life for children with neuromuscular disorders.
"It became very clear to me that we were onto something really, really important," said Loren Anderson, president of Pacific Lutheran University, who has supported the efforts and witnessed the results firsthand in China.
Since 2001, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Donald Mott (winner of the 2011 Greater Tacoma Peace Prize for this work) and other volunteers have conducted nine training courses in seven Chinese cities attracting more than 800 pediatric doctors and aspiring therapists. These Chinese providers have reported exciting outcomes in their children: less crying and increased engagement by children and families. All are eager to learn more.
"There are some moments when you feel proud to be a member of the human race," said author and scholar Sidney Rittenberg. "Today is one of those days, when you see Dr. Mott's work here with his colleagues."
Rittenberg talked about how the work has helped children get out of heavy-metal leg braces.
"That's a kind of emancipation, bringing freedom and joy to these little people," Rittenberg said. "It's an honor and a privilege to have a small part in that."
In October, volunteers will begin Phase 2 of the training in China, in response to a request from the Chinese Association of Rehabilitation Medicine to help establish five model rehabilitation centers to train groups of Chinese professionals, who will then continue the program of training health care workers from across China. This advanced training will take place at Sichuan University in Chengdu.
At least 15 million children in China have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, the majority of whom suffer from minimal or incorrect information and treatment. The Chinese Association of Rehabilitation Medicine has endorsed China Partners Network as the strongest, most experienced, and best positioned organization to help them address this widespread problem.
To date, more than 12,000 Chinese children have received improved treatment and services.
The work would not be possible without supporters of the China Partners Network: the Chinese Association of Rehabilitation Medicine (CARM), China Ministry of Public Health, China Ministry of Civil Affairs, World Health Organization,The Amity Foundation of Nanjing, Pacific Lutheran University, Wheatridge Foundation, Christian Foundation of Hong Kong, Mountain View Lutheran Church, and Hainan Airlines, which provides airfare for the team to travel to China.
For more information or to help, call Scott Claeys at email@example.com or 253-403-1289.
About the Children’s Therapy Unit:
Founded in 1966 and based in Puyallup, the Children’s Therapy Unit at Good Samaritan Hospital is one of the nation’s most experienced Neurodevelopmental Centers. The state-of-the-art facilities, internationally respected therapy techniques and expert team of pediatric specialists have helped more than 50,000 children achieve their fullest potential.
Children at CTU receive some of the most comprehensive and highly specialized therapies and services in the world. Highly trained CTU Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapists work in a coordinated and collaborative partnership with their pediatric medical doctors from Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital. Special services include assistive and computer technology, orthotics, clinical research, parent and family education.
Posted on May 3, 2012 in News Release