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Noted Physiotherapist Shares His Views on Cultural Competence

InTouch 9/18/2017

The School of Health Sciences and Practice Department of Physical Therapy hosted a talk by Raju K. Parasher, M.Sc., P.T., Ed.D., director/principal of the Amar Jyoti Institute of Physiotherapy, a college of the University of Delhi, India, on September 5. Dr. Parasher presented “Providing Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Services Across Three Continents: The Impact of Cultural Factors.”

Dr. Parasher is a former associate professor in the School of Health and Medical Sciences at Seton Hall University and assistant professor in the Department of Biobehavioral Sciences at Teachers College, Columbia University. He shared his cross cultural experiences in providing physical therapy and educating physical therapy students in India, Sweden and the United States with an audience of physical therapy students and faculty of the School of Health Sciences and Practice.

Dr. Parasher asserted the unifying element of cultural competence is respect for all human beings, and the awareness that one's own culture can affects how the culture of others is perceived. His clinical experiences have spanned three continents and several health delivery systems/models from socialist to consumer/capitalist. His research interests include issues in motor control and learning; topics relevant to clinical questions pertaining to physiotherapy practice, such as fear of falls in the elderly; fitness in vulnerable pediatric populations; and the relevance of cultural competence in academia and clinical practice.

"The presentation by Dr. Parasher was a great opportunity to reflect on the importance of valuing the cultures of the clients and patients we serve and to be mindful of how our own intrinsic culture biases our perceptions of the behaviors of others,” said Michael J. Majsak, P.T., Ed.D., associate professor and chairman of the Department of Physical Therapy. “I am very proud of how the School of Health Sciences and Practice places a high priority on helping our students in all departments to appreciate and value the desire for cultural competence in our professional activities.”