UNM pt


Division of Physical Therapy
UNM Health Sciences Center
MSC 09-5230
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
Phone: 505-272-5479
Fax: 505-272-8079

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A positive Russian and US collaboration to improve family centered, evidence-based practices


In the midst of a last minute move to the new classrooms in the Domenici North West Wing and the first day of school, Marybeth Barkocy, PT, DPT, PCS led a training for a group of 13 Russians from Tula, Moscow, and St. Petersburg, Russia under a Naked Heart Foundation grant to improve care for children with cerebral palsy and their families.  From August 19-26, a group of Russian medical professionals (neurologists, rehabilitologists who are similar to PTs, communication specialists, the director of the Tula Center, the director of Naked Heart Foundation, and a child psychologist) enjoyed a bit of New Mexico, collaboration with the UNM Health Science Center and surrounding community organizations, and training in approaches we use for children with cerebral palsy.  Under the direction of John Phillips, UNM pediatric neurologist, the collaboration over the last year under a 2 year grant from the Naked Heart Foundation has allowed professionals from the Tula Center to travel to Albuquerque for training and a multidisciplinary group to go to Tula in March 2017. 

Serial casting     Calder dinner

After a fun day at Acoma Pueblo and shopping at Albuquerque Uptown on Sunday, the group hit the ground running and never stopped for the week.  Evidence-based practice with hands on training with our wonderful librarian and pediatric neurology resident was followed up by solar eclipse viewing.  Some of the week, the group worked together in a multidisciplinary approach, including at NMSBVI, the preschool for the blind and visually impaired where the group participated in a staffing of 2 children they had observed in the classrooms.  In addition, training in occupational therapy approaches and augmentative and assistive communication expanded the options for the team to consider in Russia.  Individual disciplines also had hands on training in various interventions, which for the rehabilitation team, included pediatric orthoses, splinting, serial casting, aquatic therapy, and PT interventions done in a medical model versus school model. 

Acoma Pueblo

A database of Russian patient outcomes at the Tula Center has been established for a collaborative study, and family centered care is now a focus.  Biweekly Skype case discussions occur throughout the year.  In October, Marybeth will travel back to Moscow to present at the Every Child Needs a Family conference in Moscow. 

Please read this uplifting article from the ABQ Journal on the project!

Funabashi Healthy Plan

Funabashi Healthy Plan

Since a concept of local autonomy was introduced in Japan more than 70 years ago, the local autonomies have contributed to provide both a healthy living environment and a unity of the community. It often plays a significant role in promoting health, especially preventative medicine. The local government of Funabashi-city, located east of Tokyo with approximately 60,000 residencies, provides a community care system with five primary assists; health-, nursing-, preventative-, social-, and living assistants.

In 2005, they started a new strategic plan called Funabashi Healthy Plan 21, which contributed to health- and preventative programs.

health and prevention     health and prevention continued

One of their current projects - Normative Values for the ‘Locomotive Syndrome test’ in American Adults (Locomo) - is based on a preventative approach against mobility deficits in Japan. Therefore, the primary investigator, Dr. Yoshida, visited Funabashi-city to learn about their community-based approach. As a highlight, she visited a 6-day course to become a certified ‘Silver Rehabilitation-Exercise Instructor’. The qualified participants of which are elderly residencies in the city. Instructors must take 23 classes for a week with an optional 4-classes as follow-up and learn basic anatomy, physiology, kinesiology and gerontology from healthcare professionals (MD, PT, PHN, and OT).

Silver Rehabilitation

Instructors also receive an internship with a supervision by healthcare professionals prior to obtaining the certification. The entire training aims to evangelize benefits of healthy aging and to promote activities in elderly neighbors. When interviewing the trainees, all of them describe that their participation benefits not only their physical health, but also perceptions of fulfillment in their life. Japan is recognized as a ‘super-aging society’ due to highest proportion of older adults, and Funabashi city set a goal to become a ‘super-healthy aging society’. Hopefull, our current ‘Locomo’ project will enrich their community elderly individuals in the near future. Lastly, Dr Yoshida would like to thank each individual in the city who arranged this visit and shared an excellent community-based approach.


Collaboration with Joint Replacement Center in Japan

Japan collaboration

Dr. Yoshida visited Sonoda-kai Joint Replacement Center in Japan in June. She observed that rehabilitation after knee replacements follows a typical course there. A highlight for her was learning cultural differences between Japan and the United States regarding rehabilitation after joint replacements . 


Many clinicians, who are part of one of the most diligent study groups in Japan, attended a study seminar lead by Dr. Yoshida after work hours and had great discussions with her. Their appreciation and effort to study her research articles encouraged her to keep working on a meaningful, collaborative research agenda around total joint replacements.

Collaboration with The Naked Heart Foundation in Russia


Marybeth Barkocy shares her experience:

If ever you get an opportunity to travel to another country and collaborate with healthcare professionals and patients/families from another healthcare model - grab the opportunity. I was blessed this year to have been chosen by John Phillips, pediatric neurologist, to work on a joint US/Russia project to improve healthcare for children with disabilities.

The Naked Heart Foundation in Russia seeks to improve accessibility and resources for children with disabilities in the largest country in the world. Although the foundation has built numerous accessible playgrounds and worked with the NM Autism Program to improve evidence-based practice for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, the Tula Project is the first project funded by the foundation to focus on children with cerebral palsy and developmental disorders.

Health care in Russia falls far below western standards for people with disabilities. The impact of former Communist control, traditions of interventions that are not evidence-based, long-standing beliefs, and inequity of access to healthcare are barriers the foundation hopes to overcome.

Russia     Russia
A group of 10 Russians including medical professionals, an administrator from the center, and a pediatric neurologist and a psychologist who translated, came to UNM in the fall. I worked with Dr. Phillips and a team of medical professionals to educate and collaborate with this Russian team on evidence based practices, family centered care, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary models of care, use of standardized outcome measures, classification systems in CP, and SMART goal writing. We have been skyping with the Russians and collaborating on their cases every two weeks since then, incorporating what they have learned and providing resources they need. A group from the Tula Center will come again in August 2017 for the 2nd year of the project.


In March 2017, our US team of 4 traveled to Moscow and Tula, Russia. We recorded a surprise (to us) 2-hour interactive webinar to answer questions parents had written in, which was broadcast to 14 different Russian-speaking countries: https://youtu.be/H2JAbPiAfqM  

After a sneak peek at Red Square, the Kremlin, and St. Basil’s cathedral, we hopped on a high-speed train and traveled 2 hours south to Tula. We presented at a conference on "Modern technologies of rehabilitation of children with motor disabilities.”
I presented on Production of functional purposes when working with families of children with cerebral palsy, and my daughter told the story of her brother, Nathan, and what impacted us as a family to emphasize the importance of family centered care (which is not current practice in Russia yet):  https://youtu.be/xgKmtY1NYvw   

Then we spent 4 days at the Tula Center to provide hands on training with patients/families and collaborating on research to document patient outcomes of the project with our Russian colleagues. The hope is to publish the data collected from this project, educate other medical professionals outside the center in Moscow, empower families and encourage medical professionals to practice family centered and evidence-based practice, and promote OT, PT, and Speech Language Therapy as professions in Russia. 

I have many stories to share, if you want me to bend your ear someday. We should all learn from the Russians to provide excellent hospitality, participate in unending toasts, give meaningful gifts and gratitude, and take true breaks with no work during the lunch hour. ~ Marybeth


Join us for the free quarterly Pediatric Study Group to earn free PT CEUs, stay current with pediatric rehabilitation topics, and network with pediatric rehabilitation professionals around the state.  Remote participation is welcome.  See flyer for details, including an interactive topic on Muscular Dystrophy with Leslie Morrison, MD on April 13th.  

Peds group

If you wish to receive notice of these meetings and receive other important communication about pediatric therapy in NM, follow these instructions.​

Web method of subscribing to a list:

  1. Open a web browser (e.g., Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, etc.) and go to the following address: http://list.unm.edu
  2. Click on the link "Subscribe to a list" in the upper left hand corner of the window.
  3. Next to the "List Name" field type the name of the list,which is Ped_Study_Group-L Click "Submit".
  4. Enter your name and email address.
  5. Click "Join List".
  6. You will receive a confirmation email; follow the instructions to approve the request to join.
  7. Marybeth is the List Owner who gives approval.  You will receive another email once the owner has approved your subscription​​

Dr. Andrews Reviews PT Program in Saudi Arabia

Saudi President Meeting

Dr. Ron Andrews was invited to review the Physical Therapy Program at Jazan University in Saudi Arabia. The overall process of preparation and organization took many months culminating in Ron travelling to Saudi Arabia in October for an on-site evaluation. Fourteen plus hour flights and long layovers aside, Ron related that it was a wonderful academic exchange with very dedicated educators. English was the spoken language at the school, but accents made it challenging at times… in both directions! Days were long with each course of the curriculum detailed by faculty members and then Ron’s feedback and suggestions the next morning after review of the previous day’s information. Dr. Andrews also met with many of the students, both male and female, who take most of the classes separately per Saudi culture.

Saudi Arabia 2      Saudi Arabia

The curriculum is an undergraduate curriculum of five years with the first year being basic preparatory science courses for all disciplines and then three years of didactic physical therapy course work, very similar in content and rigor to our PT programs here in the States. The final, fifth, year is a full-time clinical at affiliated medical facilities. Education is free to all and admissions into the various medical programs is based solely on high school GPA. The highest GPA’s get their choice of profession, MD, PT, nursing, pharmacy, etc. Jobs following graduation are generally available, but more competitive than here in the States with GPA’s in PT school looked at by employers, so motivation is high to perform at the top level academically to secure the job of their choice. Students graduating from an accredited school in Saudi Arabia (Jazan’s program is accredited, but not all are) do not need to take a licensure exam.

The red carpet was rolled out and the president of Jazan University (45,000 students) met with Dr. Andrews and Dr. Leslie Danielson, who was also there from UNM to evaluate the Medical Laboratory Sciences Program, resulting in an article and press release in the local newspaper. Overall, Ron was very impressed with the quality and dedication of the faculty and students. It was a very enriching experience and rewarding to see our profession being crafted and promoted at such a high level!

International Interprofessional Collaboration


In mid-September, a group of medical doctors and an administrator from a center for children in Tula, Russia came to UNM to learn about how we manage children with cerebral palsy.  

John Phillips, MD, who is a pediatric neurologist and medical director of the Mind Research Network, has collaborated with Russian medical professionals for the past 16 years, but this is the first time a group of them from this center has traveled to the US.  Without OT, PT, and Speech Language Therapy as professions there, they learned the breadth and scope of multidisciplinary teams.  With training from Dr. Phillips and Dr. Barkocy, they learned how to write family centered, SMART goals; how to use outcome measures such as the Peds QOL and GMFM, how to classify children with CP's function; the importance of home visits and understanding children/family environments; how intensity of service is carried out through home programs that are patient and family driven; and how G-tubes and communication devices can improve health and function.  

The plan going back is to evaluate 4-5 children a month using a family-centered, team approach, collect objective data, plan and implement interventions, and track outcomes.  They will Skype with Dr. Phillips and Dr. Barkocy each month to ask questions and report progress.  In May or June, a group from UNM will visit the Tula Center in Russia to complete the year-long project and provide recommendations.  


Congratulations to the Class of 2016 for their 100% first time pass rate on the National Physical Therapy Exam!

Class of 2016

Their average score was a 694/800, with the national average at 682.8. This represents an amazing accomplishment for the class as well as the entire Division.

James “Bone” Dexter Retirement

Plaque     Bone

This summer marks the end of an era for the UNM Division of Physical Therapy, as James “Bone” Dexter has officially retired to pursue his orthotics practice full time.

Bone told me the other day that he has been a part of the Program for some 25 years. I had to run the numbers through my head - we graduated from PT school at the same time (1982), albeit different programs. I replied “Bone, you started as a student here in 1980, and although I wasn’t here to witness it, I’m gonna bet your influence on the Program began from your first day in anatomy”. He thought for a moment, smiled his characteristic wry smile, and nodded. “Guess you’re right”.

Bone’s influence has been so far reaching, one could say he is a legend here. From his welcoming style of teaching, his thoughtful ideas in faculty meetings, his unrelenting advocacy for the students, all the way to his development of the Fred Rutan Motion Analysis laboratory, Bone’s signature is everywhere.

We held a party in his honor, where folks spoke of his contributions to the Program, or just relived a “Bone” moment (there were many). He was given a plaque which has been placed in the Motion Lab to remind everyone about Bone and his indelible legacy.

Thank you, Bone.