Saturday, December 29, 2007

Happy New Year Wishes...

As 2007 wraps up and 2008 approaches, we look back at our achievements and make plans for the future.

The OT profession in Egypt is slowly growing and I hope the new year brings leaps and bounds of progress in regards to:

1. Continuing to create awareness of the benefits of OT services for the special needs population in Egypt.

2. Hiring foreign trained OT's to develop OT departments within established Egyptian organizations. Therefore, the development of these OT departments not only benefits the community in need, but also establishes facilities for future Egyptian students to complete their clinical fieldwork requirements for university.

***We need to hear from more Egyptian organizations, as I have had numerous inquires from international trained OT's interested in working in Egypt, but do not have the facilities to refer them too. I would be more than happy to post contact information for any OT job opportunities in Egypt on this blog.

3. Continuing to provide workshops and seminars about OT related topics.

At least two OT workshops will be presented at the ADVANCE SOCIETY'S 8th Annual Educational Conference in March 2008, held at the British International School in Cairo. Updates regarding the conference, will be posted in the new year on the LRC website. For more information about the conference, please visit the LRC website

4. Starting the OT program at Ain Sham's University in 2008.

For more information regarding the OT Program Director Position, go to:

5. Encouraging international OT students to participate in projects in relation to the need for OT development in Egypt (i.e visiting and volunteering in Egypt, raising money for supplies for under privileged people etc. ).

For a wonderful example of how international OT students can benefit from visiting Egypt and how Egyptians can benefit from their visit, then read the previous blog entry from September 2007:

6. ...and, how could I forget?!

Continued subscription to the Occupational Therapy in Egypt Blog, as well as, more contributions (i.e. shared experiences and photos) by people involved in the development of OT in Egypt.

Since starting the blog in June 2007, we have had over 2,800 hits to the blog and over 70 subscribers to the blog!

It has been a wonderful experience creating the blog and I only hope for continued success in 2008!

Please share with us your own experiences and Occupational Therapy in Egypt Goals...and have a happy and healthy new year!


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Family Game Night

I am one of those people who grew up playing board games at home. With three older sister's there was always someone to play a game with; whether it be Monopoly, Sorry, Parcheesi, UNO, Battleship or Clue.

Well, 25 years later all these games are still around and children still love 'em! Children love all types of games, but unfortunately much of their time after school is spent filled with tutoring lessons, religious studies, sports, video games and TV. They often do not have a minute of "free time."

Board games can be educational and fun. Many games develop fine motor coordination, visual motor/perceptual skills, memory, problem solving, mathematical reasoning, and spelling skills.

So, why not have "Family Game Night" every week or at least once a month?

To get you started, I started to compile a list of games that school age children always enjoy. Many of these I have used in therapy and they are "kid approved!"

Of course not all games can be found in Cairo, so why not ask local distributors if they can start ordering some of these games? All of these games can be found online and many can also be ordered through Amazon,












GAME CLUB by Think Fun: A place where children learn problem solving skills while having fun. Check out the teachers guide at:


SQUINT: have players guess the word, while you construct the picture with shapes on cards.

BLINK: kids love this visual perceptual, fast paced card game!

MY WORD: an excellent card game to build on a child's spelling skills!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Hello & Goodbye

Thank you & good luck:

Well, this year we will unfortunately be saying goodbye to Sena, as she will be moving back to the US next month. We have been fortunate enough to have her working with us at the LRC for the past 2 1/2 years. She has been a wonderful colleague. Our OT team, our EIP team and all staff at the LRC will miss her!

( THE EIP, SLT & OT TEAM back row: Khadiga, Hoda, Penny, Dalia, Sena, Dalia, middle row: Neveen, Farah, Dalia, Monica, Laura, front row: Donia, Engy, & Karen)

So, THANK YOU for all that you have contributed to the lives of the children, parents, teachers and staff at LRC.

Wednesday was Sena, Karen & Farah's last OT Sensory Motor Group together, so here are some photo's of them hard at work in preparation:

(Sena, Karen, & Farah)

(Sena & Karen)

Miho and Shu, two Japenese OT's who are presently working in Egypt, visited our center on the same day.

(Shu, Sena, Karen, Miho, Farah & Laura)

We have two new colleagues working in the LRC OT department. Farah, who is a Lebanese OT, working with us full time for the next two years and Annelene, who is a South African OT working with us part time to assist in assessing children.

(Laura, Sena & Annelene)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

International Disability Day, December 3rd

In celebration of the International Disability Day, the British Council in Egypt is organising events to raise awareness about disability issues and the rights of people with disabilities.
‘The annual observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons, 3 December, was proclaimed in 1992, by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 47/3. The observance of the Day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilise support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.’ For more information visit

Programme: A Celebration of Different Abilities Friday 30 November 2007 British Council 192 El Nil Street, Agouza, Cairo, Egypt2.00 p.m. - 7.00 p.m. Our building is wheelchair accessible.

The open day will include:

  • Come Find Out: about the services for people with disabilities provided by different organisations in Egypt
  • Open Forum Discussions: Featuring inspiring stories and discussing issues around disability and social inclusion and the topic of disability in film.
  • Photography Exhibition: Talented photographers Hussein Shaaban, Karim Omran, Luay Al Shaikhly, Mariam El Mofty and Tamer Eissa present their views on the issue of disability. Photos will also be exhibited on 3 December 2007 at El Sawy Culturewheel
  • Film Premieres: A number of specially selected films and public service announcements will be screened throughout the day.

Seminar entitled “Disability – Becoming Visible”Saturday 1 December 2007 Seminar by UK guest speaker Simon Minty, an expert in disability and diversity consultancy and training (download biography in English or Arabic from

Employment and human rights, inaccessibility for people with disabilities in streets and public transport, how can we make it happen? Opening access with a focus on our streets and public transport; what are the barriers and how do we address them? What does it take to make inclusion a reality? Accepting and working with people with disabilities in our daily lives.


  • UK situation
  • Media and Egypt
  • News coverage of disability issues
  • Employment of people with disabilities
  • Sharing employment experiences
  • Question and answer session

*By invitation only. If you’re interested to attend and would like to receive an invitation, contact Nairy Avedissian, Manager, Arts Team at

Come Listen to This: A theatre performance based on a compilation of stories Monday 3 December 2007 (International Disability Day) Wisdom Hall, El Sawy Culturewheel 26 July Street, Zamalek 8.00 p.m.

Tickets available at El Sawy Culturewheel

The Wisdom Hall is wheelchair accessible.

The result of a self-expressive workshop conducted by Nada Sabet with a group of performers. In collaboration with the Right to Live Association. Nada Sabet, a young Egyptian theatre director and playwright, attended a theatre workshop organised by the British Council in Egypt with the Right to Live Association and three members of the UK-based AMICI Dance Theatre Company. The workshop was for young Egyptian theatre practitioners, directors, actors and dancers (both able-bodied and disabled) to work together and generate ideas for performances which will then tour theatres and centres in Egypt. Nada has shown great interest and perseverance and won attendance at a week-long workshop in the UK with the AMICI Dance Theatre Company in June 2007, where she shadowed the director and learned new approaches to theatre and disability.

Sabet is also one of the young playwrights from the Near East and North Africa region who have been chosen by the Royal Court Theatre and the British Council to take part in a regional workshop on new writing for theatre.

For more information about the programme, go to

Kareem's Life Story and Experience with the Special Olympics

Kareem is a 12 year old Egyptian boy with autism. He has been included in mainstream schools his whole life. Kareem was part of Team Egypt and he attended the Special Olympics Games in China this past October.

As part of a project supported by Mattel, he shares his story about his friends and experiences in China in a video posted on YouTube.

Please support Kareem and his project by clicking onto his video on YouTube:

Congratulations to Kareem and his always supportive mom, Doaa!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

American OT students ask questions about Egypt:

I have been emailed by two OT students from the US who are participating in multi-cultural assignments for their OT program.

These are some questions they had, which I also combined with questions asked by students inquiring about fieldwork placements in Egypt, so if you are an OT who has worked in Egypt and/or presently work in Egypt please take the time and comment on their questions.

If you are a professional who has also worked with OT's in Egypt and are interested in OT development in Egypt, then please also take the time and give your opinion on some of these questions.

I have listed a brief reply in parenthesis from my experience working in Egypt the past 4 1/2 years.

American OT Student's FAQ:

1. Can you tell me about the types of settings in which OTs in Egypt generally practice in?

(Pediatric, adult rehabilitation and community based programs)

2. What types of clients do OTs work with in Egypt? Is there a specific population that OTs tend to work with more than others?

(Various economic classes and various ages. Pediatric has always been a stronger area serviced.)

3. With whom do OTs typically work with in terms of the interdisciplinary team?

(Speech and language therapists, physical therapists, doctors, psychologists, and teachers)

4. How does an OT get a license to practice in Egypt?

(We abide by the practice guidelines from our own countries and maintain our licenses from our own countries, as there is not an OT association in Egypt)

5. How does an OT find work in Egypt?

(The best way is word of mouth, but in the future I hope to have job postings on the blog. Although Egypt is highly populated, everyone knows everyone in certain circles)

6. What is your opinion about why Egypt is under served with OT at this time?

(There are many factors, some of which are economics, politics, and cultural views on health care)

7. Can you talk about the sociocultural and institutional factors that affect your practice and OT in Egypt?

(See question #8)

8. What are some of the challenges that you have been faced with while practicing in Egypt? What challenges might any OT practicing in this country be faced with?

(There are always many challenges when you are from another culture and working abroad. A few examples I have experienced are language barriers (Arabic/English), different expectations of family roles and difficulty in purchasing OT supplies)

9. Is it safe for a foreign woman to live in Cairo? How are foreigners treated in Egypt?

(In all the years I have lived in Cairo, I have never particularly felt "unsafe." No more unsafe then I would feel walking in the "wrong neighborhood" in NY city. I have had the usual young boys make comments in Arabic to me on the street, but to be honest I don't know what they have said! Perhaps, that is best! As an American, I have never been poorly treated. Over charged, but not poorly treated! There is a large misconception in western media about how foreigners are treated in the middle east)

10. What possibilities and opportunities await OT in Egypt?

(The possibilities and opportunities are endless as we are starting fresh!)

I hope others take the time to also give their opinions on these questions.


Can American OT students complete their Fieldwork I or II placements in Egypt?

Over the past few months, I have received several emails from students in the US who were interested in completing their Fieldwork II placement in Egypt, so I would like to address this topic.

International OT Student Fieldwork Placement:

Every international OT educational program has their own guidelines about what is required to fulfill the clinical experience section of their program for graduation. Every country may have a different name for this clinical experience, so whether you call it "fieldwork," "internship," "practicum" and/or "clinical" I am referring to this placement within the community.

I am only familiar with the US requirements, as that is where I completed my OT education at NYU (New York University).

Here are the requirements for OT Fieldwork experience in the US:

Fieldwork sites provide students with an opportunity to gain graded practical experience under the supervision of an occupational therapist in a variety of practice settings.

There are two types of OT Fieldwork experiences in the US:

Level I Fieldwork: "The goal of Level I Fieldwork is to introduce students to the fieldwork experience, and develop a basic comfort level with and understanding of the needs of clients. Level I fieldwork shall be integral to the program's curriculum design and include experiences designed to enrich didactic coursework through directed observation and participation in selected aspects of the occupational therapy process. The focus of these experiences is not intended to be independent performance. Qualified personnel for supervised Level I fieldwork include, but are not limited to, occupational therapy practitioners initially certified nationally, psychologists, physician assistants, teachers, social workers, nurses, and physical therapists. "

Level II Fieldwork
(24 weeks/6 months minimum) "The goal of Level II fieldwork is to develop competent, entry-level, generalist occupational therapists. Level II fieldwork shall be integral to the program's curriculum design and shall include an in-depth experience in delivering occupational therapy services to clients, focusing on the application of purposeful and meaningful occupation and/or research, administration and management of occupational therapy services. It is recommended that the student be exposed to a variety of clients across the life span and to a variety of settings. The fieldwork experience shall be designed to promote clinical reasoning and reflective practice; to transmit the values and beliefs that enable ethical practice; and to develop professionalism and competence as career responsibilities. The intern is expected to have entry-level competence upon completion of the Level II fieldwork assignment."

These standards for an OT Program in the US can be downloaded from the American OT Association website at :

(When I am referring to what is "feasible", I will be referring to my job as Head of the OT Department at the Learning Resource Center (LRC) in Cairo).

Fieldwork I in Egypt: It is much more feasible to be able to provide Fieldwork I level students a placement at the LRC. If a student would like to visit for a week at the LRC and also observe a few other professional services (i.e. psychologists, physical therapists, speech therapists etc.), then this can be arranged if provided advance notice.

Fieldwork II in Egypt: It is not feasible to provide Fieldwork II level students placements at the LRC, at this time. I have also spoken with a few other OT's who work in Cairo and they also agree on this topic in regards to placements at their facilities. This is mainly due to the ever changing number of OT's living and working in Egypt. Since few OT's live here "permanently," it is very difficult to plan a year in advance for a fieldwork student program. The few OT's working here are usually very busy with their own caseload, as well as, very busy working to train Egyptians to assist in some of our OT sessions. There is a need for training Egyptians to support OT sessions in Arabic, but only under the supervision of an internationally trained OT. At this time, it is too difficult to provide the level of teaching and supervision needed for a 3 month placement at the LRC.

The American OT Association has a wonderful section on their website which provides information about what it is like to be an OT student (

This is a wonderful resource for Egyptians who are thinking about attending future OT educational programs in Egypt.

Here are a few specific links on this site for fieldwork experiences:

Student Volunteers:

There is always a need for volunteers, so if students would like to set up a trip to Egypt speak to your OT program professors and plan a trip to Cairo. I would be happy to provide contacts of facilities to visit on your trip.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

JOB OPPORTUNITY: OT Program Director for the First OT Education Program in Egypt

Occupational Therapy Program Director, Egypt
Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt

Occupational Therapy Program Director, Institute of Post-Graduate Childhood Studies.

An exciting opportunity exists for an experienced occupational therapy academic to implement the first occupational therapy liaison education program in Egypt. The program is a 2 year Graduate Entry Diploma.

For more information go to:

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Consumer Handouts from AOTA

October is Occupational Therapy Awareness Month
As part of this month of OT awareness, I would like to share some links to educational handouts provided by the AOTA. The American Occupational Therapy Association has an excellent section on their website for free consumer handouts. These handouts are an excellent resource for people who need further understanding of the role OT plays in various settings and with various populations (note: please keep in mind that some recommendations are based on US disability laws & regulations).

AOTA's "Tips For Living" handouts offer information to help people cope with a variety of health conditions in children and adults and explain how occupational therapy can help. The tip sheets can be downloaded and printed free of charge at

Here are direct links to a few handouts:


OT and children with developmental problems:

OT and learning through play

OT and handwriting issues

OT and community mental health

OT and people with mood disorders

OT and people with drug and alcohol disease

OT and ergonomics

OT and low back pain

OT and carpal tunnel syndrome

OT and returning to work issues

OT and fall prevention

OT and patients with hip replacements

OT and home modifications after injury and/or to prevent injury

OT and patients recovering from a stroke

This is just a sample of the many educational handouts provided by the American Occupational Therapy Association at

Take a look at these handouts as they are an excellent source of imformation in regards to the benefit of Occupational Therapy services for these populations.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

"Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?"

When I first started this blog in June, I was interested in enlightening internationally trained OT's on the development of OT in Egypt. My hope was that OT's would contact me about providing their services to the Egyptian population. Well, over the past 5 months I have received many wonderful emails from OT's interested in working in Egypt.

So, the dilemma becomes, "Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?" An organization can not have an OT department without OT's, but how do international OT's develop OT departments within Egypt? Is it expected that OT's simply re-locate to Egypt in the hope of developing services within organizations (i.e. hospitals, schools, clinics, community based programs etc.) or do these organizations need to request the services of OT's?

Hence, my writing this entry.

Now that there is a developing awareness from international OT's regarding the need for their services within Egypt, we need more Egyptian organizations willing to hire these therapists to develop programs.

Who would I like to hear from?
  • Egyptian organizations who have an understanding of how their organization can benefit from OT services and want to hire OT's to develop OT programs.
  • Egyptian organizations that would like to know more about what OT is and how their specific population in need may benefit from hiring OT's to develop OT programs.

There is now a small, but growing number, of therapists working and living in Cairo that can provide organizations with further information about OT.

What are some examples of specific organizations in Egypt that may benefit from OT programs?
  • Occupational Therapists are part of the rehabilitation team, so every hospital within Egypt that already has a physiotherapy department should also have an occupational therapy department....and if there are no rehabilitation services offered within the hospital, then perhaps there should be. OT's have great organizational skills and can also initiate the development of a rehabilitation unit within hospitals.
  • Occupational Therapists are part of the mental health team, so every psychiatric hospital and/or clinic within Egypt can benefit from the services of an OT. They work alongside psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors, nurses, recreational, music and art therapists. OT's have a tremendous understanding of the psychological benefits of performing meaningful activities.
  • Occupational Therapists are part of the educational team, so every school within Egypt should have the services of an OT. There are plenty of children with special needs who attend mainstream schools and who are struggling without support. Why should they struggle within a mainstream school if they can be provided support within school to be successful and stay in that school? It is foolish to believe that children with special needs only go to "special schools." Perhaps it is true that there are only a few schools in Egypt who specialize in treating these children, but that does not mean that children with special needs do not exist in mainstream schools.
  • Occupational Therapists are part of the community team. OT's specialize in assessing and adapting a person's environment in order to facilitate participation in functional every day tasks. OT's can assess a person's home, work environment, and community for safety and make recommendations for modifications and equipment needed for person's with special needs.
So, perhaps if you are a doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, nurse, physiotherapist, administrator and/or educator you may be a part of an organization within Egypt that can benefit from an OT on your team.

I would be thrilled to hear from some organizations and would like to be able to provide the link between the organization and international OT's.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

American OT and Her Students Visit Cairo...

Two years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Cindy Hahn, OTR/L at the World Mental Health Organization Congress held in Cairo, September 2005. Cindy lectured at the conference on "The Role of OT in Mental Health."

Since meeting in Cairo, we have corresponded for the past two years, as she was planning a second trip with some of her OT students from A.T. Still University, Arizona School of Health Sciences (

Pictured below: Maha Helali, Managing Director of the LRC, Cindy Hahn, OTR/L, Laura Efinger, Head of OT Department at the LRC, Vanessa McCarthy, OTS, Gina Buban, OTS, and Rachel Hoppe, OTS.

This past summer Cindy and three of her OT students (Gina Buban, Vanessa McCarthy, and Rachel Hoppe) visited Cairo for one week in August. Cindy and the students visited Abbassiya Hospital, Behman Hospital, the ADVANCE School and the Learning Resource Center in Cairo.

Cindy and her students raised money to donate OT supplies, some of which were donated to the ADVANCE School and the LRC. The students were very innovative and were able to negotiate with S & S Worldwide (, a distributor of arts and crafts supplies and educational supplies, to match the students monetary donations with OT related supplies. The children will greatly benefit from these supplies, so we can not thank Cindy, Gina, Vanessa and Rachel, as well as, their classmates enough for all their hard work.

Pictured below: Gina, Rachel, Vanessa, Cindy & Mr. Bahaa Farag, Administrative Director for the ADVANCE Center.

Although the ADVANCE School and the LRC were closed when the students visited, they were able to tour the facilities. Since the OT students were out of school in August, it was a prime time for them to visit. Hopefully the next visit will occur when students are attending their full programs at the facilities and the OT students can observe and assist in some OT related services. It would be our pleasure to have more OT students visit our facilities. It is a wonderful experience for students to experience OT in developing countries.

Cindy and her students have been quite busy since they returned back to Arizona, but once they are settled I am sure they will share with us their impressions of their visit to Cairo this past summer.

Cindy and her students will be presenting at the Arizona Occupational Therapy Association Annual State Conference ( this weekend regarding the topic "Bringing Occupational Therapy to Egypt." They will present at the conference about their experience in Cairo. I am sure this presentation will bring more awareness of the need for developing programs for individuals with special needs in Egypt, as well as, attracting more OT's to work in the region.

Much thanks,


Thursday, September 20, 2007

How I started working as an OT in Cairo...

I have often been asked how I started working as an OT in Cairo, so here is a brief summary:

Four years ago I moved to Cairo and a few months later I started working at the Learning Resource Center (LRC) in Maadi. As many people are aware, the theory of "6 degrees of separation" often happens in Cairo! My husband was talking with a new colleague about how his wife was an Occupational Therapist and looking for work. This colleague then told him her mother was a co-owner of a center for children with disabilities. Contacts were exchanged and I soon started working at the LRC. I am no longer surprised at who knows who in Cairo!

The LRC had a history of working with foreign OT's, so the owners and staff had a good understanding of the role of OT with children.

For the first two years, I was the only OT on staff and had some staff members who assisted with some sessions.

The third year, I had a German OT, Angelika join me at the LRC. Angelika stayed for the school year before returning back to Germany to pursue her Master's in OT. That same year, an American OT, Sena, moved to Cairo due to her husband's job and joined our staff.

(Oleh playing with RUSH HOUR, by THINK FUN)

The fourth year, I had a French OT, Emilie join our staff. Emilie stayed for the school year before returning to France. That same year, a British OT, Karen, also moved to Cairo due to her husband's job and joined our staff. Now, I am beginning my fifth year at the LRC and the OT department has grown in all sense of the terms of therapy rooms, equipment, caseload, and staff.

This year, Karen and Sena remain on staff part time and we have a Lebanese OT, Farah, who just joined our staff. Previously, none of our OT staff spoke Arabic, so it is an asset to have Farah join our team.

At the center, we treat children of various ages with various diagnosis. Children's ages range from a few months old to teenage years. Children who attend OT sessions have a wide variety of difficulties, such as impairments in:

*fine motor coordination

*gross motor coordination

*muscle strength


*visual perceptual/motor coordination

*cognitive abilities/attention

*sensory modulation/processing

*emotional/behavioral responses

*functional abilities (self help, play and school tasks)

The children attending OT services may also be attending various programs offered at the center, such as the School Readiness Program, Home Schooling Program, Family Child Support Program and Early Intervention Program. They may also come to the center for various testing (i.e. Cognitive and Academic Testing) and tutoring sessions.

I was lucky to have a few students who were nice enough to let me photograph them in their OT sessions. So, a BIG thanks to them!


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

EUWIIN Recognition Award for Christiane Mentrup

Christiane Mentrup, past WFOT 2nd Vice President received the European Union Women Inventors and Innovators Network (EUWIIN) Special Recognition Award in June 2007 in Berlin. She was recognised for her occupational therapy projects in Germany, Egypt and Mongolia.

The greatest achievement of Christiane Mentrup (photo right with EUWIIN Director Bola Olabisi) so far has been the role she played in supporting the development of the health profession of occupational therapy (OT) in her own country Germany, in her current host country Switzerland and in introducing it in countries in need like Egypt and Mongolia in order to promote occupational justice (equal access to activities to all) internationally.

The EUWIIN award winner can be called a citizen of the world because she has shown commitment to gain knowledge from countries which are further developed in her professional domain through her work in Canada and a close cooperation with an US academic. She volunteered this expertise in countries in need as well as through her lectures in places such as Germany, Austria, United Kingdom, Latvia, Dubai and Japan. Her involvement in the World Federation of Occupational Therapists made it possible to set up professional networks throughout the world which are now beneficial for the education of OT students in Switzerland including the planning of an international OT master’s degree and OT research activities.

To read more detailed information about Christiane's leadership role in the Egypt Project along with Dutch OT Madeleine Corstens-Mignot, go to:

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Egypt hosts WFOT Interim Executive Management Team Meeting

Many thanks go to Sue Hartshorne, WFOT Ambassador to the Egypt Project for coordinating the excellent organization and support of the recent Interim Meeting of the Executive Management Team in Cairo, Egypt from 23-27th April, 2007. Congratulations also go the Committee for the Development of OT (CDOT) in Egypt for the organization of the subsequent Regional Conference.

The Executive Team Interim Meeting was held over a five day period in rooms at the Nasser Institute which is the largest medical centre in Cairo. The secretariat was fully functional and the meeting itself was supported by very efficient staff members from the medical centre. The Agenda was presented and fully discussed among the Executive and Programme Coordinators. Major topics of discussion included further development of the DP&R project, ongoing development of resources for future response in disaster situations, the upgrade of the WFOT website including the introduction of e-cards and an e-newsletter, Human Rights projects, applications for membership, curricula review, WFOT Congress 2010 and financial management and fund raising strategies.

This excerpt taken from an article posted on the WFOT website,, to read more details of this report, go to:

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Arabic Occupational Therapists Regional Group

This group was established in April 2007 as a result of the rigorous discussions among the occupational therapists working in the region (Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon) and the executive team of the WFOT in Cairo\Egypt.

In this group we aim to establish communication channels between the occupational therapists in the region and the world and to work as a connection with the WFOT and other OT organizations.

We are looking to have a data base for occupational therapy practice in the Middle East in the different languages (Arabic, English and French), also to develop standards for practice and education, and finally to instigate research activities. Publishing a newsletter or maybe a bulletin, initiating a website on the internet and sharing information and experiences will be other goals of the group.

For the sake of making this project come true, all feedback, participation and help will be considered and appreciated.

Please contact Mr. Mustafa Ahmad, President of the Jordanian Society for Occupational Therapy at 00962 79 6820742 or 00962 77 6512168

Email: or

Thursday, August 23, 2007

greetings from wfot

Hi Laura
Wow the blog you set up for out network has really grown - what an amazing effort!
As WFOT Ambassador to the Egypt Project I'd like to acknowledge the WFOT role in supporting the development of occupational therapy in Egypt. What many reading this blog for the first time may not know is that Christiane Mentrupp got the current momentum started with a visit and needs analysis in Cairo in January 2005.
This is when many Egyptian organisations and individuals voiced the need for occupational therapy here and especially the need for training Egyptian people to be occupational therapists. It also started the Committee for the Development of Occupational Therapy in Egypt (CDOT) network and the e-newsletter that Christiane publishes regularly with our contributions.
Collaboration gives amazing outcomes!
Mid-way through 2005 and into 2006 I began working with two universities to write ot curriculum and with support from my then employer (the University of South Australia) was able to come and run short courses about occupation.
A lot of work went into promoting the curricula on the part of our Egyptian colleagues and as you know we have heard that the Minister for Higher Education, His Excellency Dr Hany Helal, passed the graduate entry program this week after a lengthy and rigorous committee process.
And finally there are currently 8 ots - all non-Egyptians at this stage - that we know about working and living in Egypt and many exciting developments including our embryo occupational therapy network.
Laura thanks again for this amazing blog - and for inviting us to participate. Truly your tech skills are amazing!
I hope that people who have questions will continue to ask them either to you or to me directly ( ) or to one of the others to find out about what its like to live and work here in Egypt.
Hugs as always

Susan Hartshorne
WFOT Ambassador to the Egypt Project
World Federation of Occupational Therapists

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Courses & Conferences in UAE & Turkey

As continuing education is always important, I would like to share information about courses, workshops and conferences on this blog that may be of benefit to OT's in the region.
~~~ Laura

Tawam Hospital in affiliation with Johns Hopkins Medicine is proud to announce:

Al Ain, United Arab Emirates

Pre-Conference Workshops: November 20th, 2007
Conference: November 21st & 22rd, 2007
Venue: Intercontinental Hotel, Al Ain, UAE.

Further information & registration:

Phone: + 971 3 707 5081 / 5230 Fax: + 971 3 707 2853 ( ATT: Ruby Sumapig)
Address: The Secretary Rehabilitation Therapy Department P O Box 15258 Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, UAE

The International Course on the Hand in Turkey
5th International Course on the Hand
21st to 25th October 2007

The International Course on the Hand will take place for the fourth time in Bodrum, Turkey in 6 years. After having organised a Hand Symposium in 2005 it was decided to return to the concept of a real hand course. The first three hand courses were very successful and many lecturers and participants have spent a wonderful time in Bodrum.

The course is aiming at health care professionals involved in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with hand problems of various origins. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation doctors, Plastic-, Hand- and Orthopaedic surgeons, Orthopaedists as well as Rheumatologists, Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists are invited to attend the course.

Besides the multidisciplinary approach the main advantage of the meeting is that people from several countries and from several backgrounds meet and exchange ideas and opinions and return home with new enthusiasm and new inspiration.

The course really wants to contribute to a better understanding between cultures in Europe in the widest sense, improve the level of knowledge and skills of the health care professionals, with the ultimate goal to improve the treatment of those patients that suffer from hand problems.

As chairman of the 5th International Hand Course I invite all friends from Europe and host country Turkey to come to Bodrum and join this interesting meeting.

Prof. Henk J. Stam, MD, PhD, FRCP
President of the European Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine

For details on the conference, please go to:

Monday, August 13, 2007

Power of Internet and Blogging...

Hello all,

Thanks for all the emails of support and interest in OT development in Egypt. It is exciting every time I receive an email from someone who has received the blog from myself, been forwarded the blog from a friend and/or colleague, seen the blog on another OT's blog list or found the blog through searching OT information on the internet.

It has been a wonderful learning experience for myself, as I have found some very interesting information through other OT blogs. Some are extremely educational and others quite humorous, especially the OT student blogs!

Here are some OT Blogs of interest: (Merrolee's blog - an OT educator from the School of OT, Otago Polytechnic, New Zealand) (OT in New Zealand) (OT in New Zealand developed blog to explore using blogging as a professional development tool) (OT Student in the US) (OT in UK) (OT Student in the US) (OT: Recent US graduate) (OT) (OT in the US) (OT working in Equador) (OT Educators in the UK) (OT in the UK) (OT in New Zealand) (OT's working in Hosmer School in the US)

The internet can be a powerful tool to share information and learn from other OT's around the world. It would be wonderful to share more OT blogs, so if you are aware of any other OT blogs, please add them to the comments section.


Monday, July 9, 2007

Occupational Therapy in Rehabilitation

A nice video representation, filmed by an OT in the US, of OT's role in rehabilitation of adults with physical disabilities.

Friday, July 6, 2007

How do you access OT related information on the internet?

I recently came across a new site that is a collection of people's favorites and can be accessed from any computer.

Web address:

It is an excellent way to store your favorite's and access them on any computer through the web. It is also an excellent way to find Occupational Therapy related links that other people have gathered. You can develop a network of other people's links.

My favorite OT links can be located at: or go to and search "Occupational Therapy" to see what others have saved as their favorite OT links.

Once you have registered, save this blog on your links:
so you can read updates on our Egypt OT project.

It is very easy to set up on your computer. It also saves all the links instead of cluttering up the blog with endless lists of links.

Good luck,


Thursday, July 5, 2007

One Month Anniversary....

Hello all,

Well, I have had this blog for one month and I just wanted to update people on the responses I have been receiving from OT's all over the world.

So, to give the history of this blog...

One month ago, I started this blog and posted general information about OT. The main purpose of the blog was to develop more awareness of the need for international OT's to visit and/or work in Egypt to assist in the development of OT, educate people within the region as to what the role of OT was with various populations of need, share information regarding OT services available within Egypt and to provide a network for OT's within Egypt. I then emailed a general introduction letter of this Occupational Therapy in Egypt Blog to approximately 1,000 OT's worldwide.

I emailed... to every American, Canadian, UK, Australian and New Zealand OT University program department and/or OT faculty. As English is my primary (and only!) language, this was the obvious path for me to take.

I emailed... to every OT delegate from all countries that have a delegate for the WFOT.

I emailed... all the contacts I had for the OT's, PT's, doctors and educators that I had met at the First Regional OT Conference in the M.E. this past April in Cairo.

I emailed... any OT student organization that I could get an email for! That, I must say, was difficult as most student organizations posted on the universities website do not have their own separate email.

Now that I initiated emailing OT's, I am now focusing on worldwide, regional and local organizations that may benefit from either contributing or receiving OT services within Egypt, but that is an area I am still working on....

So, if anyone knows of any individuals or organizations who would be interested in learning more about OT in Egypt, please forward them this blog site.

So, it is a work in progress, but has generally been enjoyable this past month. Many people have emailed me privately about thier interest in knowing more about OT in Egypt, offering consultation services, as well as, wanting to be involved in future conferences and university curriculum's.

I have received personal emails from OT's in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kenya, Ireland, Scotland, England, Canada, US, Australia, and New Zealand. All of which show support for OT development in Egypt.

Some quotes:

  • "I am definitely interested in introducing Occupational Therapy to Egypt. I fell in love with the country in December 2005 and have been back 7 times since mainly for diving activities." ~~~~ Fiona

  • "Thanks for the update…I wish you the best of luck with this endeavor and look forward to following your progress. " ~~~~Ellen

  • "I have always had an interest in the middle east, so it was very interesting to look at your website. In the future, I would enjoy assisting in the development of your program."~~~~Anne

  • "I have a lot of interest in working or volunteering as an OT internationally. The idea of helping to develop OT in Egypt sounds AMAZING."~~~~Sandeep

Please do not hesitate from sending me personal emails, but also take a few moments to write brief comments on the "Comment & Question Section" entry of this blog so others can read and contribute to your positive comments.

Thanks a lot for everyone who has shown an interest in the future development of Occupational Therapy in Egypt!



Thursday, June 28, 2007

Questions & Comments...

Please feel free to post any general questions and comments here...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Welcome to all OT's in Cairo....

This past month, we were finally able to have a get together for all the OT's living in Egypt. Joanne was missing as she just had a baby boy, so congratulations to her! Some of us have been living and working in Cairo for a few years and others are newcomers.

A few of us already knew each other and others were meeting for the first time. It was a nice chance to meet and get to know one another. We have a very international group of OT's living in Cairo, as we come from the US, UK, France, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Japan.

Picture: (back row) Emma, Emily, Pip, Sena, and Annalene; (front row) Karen, Sue, Laura, Miho and Dorothy.

The First Regional OT Conference in the Middle East

The First Regional OT Conference in the Middle East was held 27th to 29th April 2007 under the auspices of HE Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak First Lady of Egypt.

(Picture: Jordanian, American, Canadian, Japanese and Lebanese trained Occupational Therapists working in the region).

The conference was organized by members of The Committee for Developing Occupational Therapy in Egypt. Sponsors of the conference were Ain Shams University, October 6th University and ADVANCE Society.

The purpose of the conference was to (a) raise awareness in regards to occupational therapy and it's role within programs for individuals with special needs, (b) educate people as to the independence of occupational therapy as a health profession, (c) promote the concept of rights of persons with special needs to access rehabilitative specialties that would help them upgrade their skills and reach their full potential, (d) support the government’s policy of supporting persons with special needs within the community, (e) provide a forum for regional OT's to meet and discuss needs of the region.

(Picture: Farah, Doha, Sawsan, & Fatima)

Lectures and workshops were conducted by WFOT Executive Committee members, as well as, several OT's working in Egypt and/or visiting Egypt.

Topics & Lecturers:

Occupational therapy a global perspective - Kit Sinclair
Occupational therapy around the world - Executive Management Team (EMT)
OT Education – overview of current trends - Alfred Ramukumba & Sharon Brintnell
OT: Aged Care & Geriatrics – introduction - Anne Carswell
Occupational Science – an introduction - Kit Sinclair
OT: Families and Children – introduction - Julie Piergrossi and Susan Hartshorne
OT: Mental health and Psychiatry – introduction - Alfred Ramukumba & Lena Haglun
OT: Adult Rehabilitation – introduction - Sharon Brintnell
OT: School aged children – introduction Laura Efinger

(Picture: OT's working in Africa)

OT: Mental Health and Psychiatry – panel discussion - Alfred Ramukumba, Samantha Shann , Julie Piergrossi, Lena Haglund
OT: Adult Rehabilitation – panel discussion - Sharon Brintnell , Marilyn Pattison , Susan Hartshorne and Dorothy Witt
OT: Work Rehabilitation and vocational training – introduction - Marilyn Pattison
OT: Feeding workshop - Kimberly Weigle
OT: Work Rehabilitation & vocational training – panel discussion - Marilyn, Sharon Brintnell, Lena Haglund, Samantha Shann
OT: Seating workshop - Dorothy Witt
OT: Children and mental health - Julie Piergrossi
Plenary session: Minimum Standards and the PEO model - Kit Sinclair
OT Education – panel discussion - Alfred Ramukumba, Sharon Brintnell , Samantha Shann

(Picture: Emma, Joanne, Laura & Gloria...OT's living in Egypt)

OT Assessment and treatment planning: – Anne Carswell, Lena Haglund
OT: Play workshop I - Julie Piergrossi and Susan Hartshorne
OT Education – challenges in the region - Alfred Ramukumba, Kit Sinclair
Healthy ageing and occupational therapy - Anne Carswell
OT: Play workshop II - Julie Piergrossi and Susan Hartshorne
Q & A and summary - Kit Sinclair

(Picture: WFOT Executive Committee Members & OT's attending the conference)

This conference was a great opportunity for OT's living and working in the region to network. Hopefully, we can build on these new connections and further promote the development of OT in the region.


Friday, June 15, 2007

Why should OT's visit and/or work in Egypt?

Well, besides the immense historical and cultural experience, it is a great opportunity to provide a service in a country lacking with resources for individuals with special needs.

It is an opportunity to train local residents, so they can provide services within their own country. It is also an opportunity to provide treatment for individuals, who otherwise would not receive the benefit of OT services.

If it is just a visit you are planning to Egypt, then please contact me ( and plan to meet other OT's in our Egypt network.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

CDOT Newsletter # 11 (July 2007)

Committee for the Development of Occupational Therapy in Egypt
July 07

July 20th, 2007

Dear Friends,

The first half of this year went very promising for our project. Our project is moving and is creating international attention. Your will find information about the WFOT Executive Meeting and the first Regional OT Conference in the Middle East which took place in Cairo. Please refer to Attached you find more detailed information on the Regional conference.

Greetings from sunny Zurich

Christiane Mentrup

2007 WFOT Interim Executive Meeting
The WFOT Executive Team met in April 2007 in Cairo for the annual meeting. The nine WFOT Executive members enjoyed the famous Egyptian hospitality.

First Regional Occupational Therapy Conference

The First Regional Occupational Therapy conference held in Cairo at the end of April was a good time for occupational therapists working in the region and in Egypt to meet each other and to form communication networks that we hope will lead to positive communications for the future.

Mustafa Ahmad, the President of the Jordanian Occupational Therapy Association, collected names of interested qualified occupational therapists living and working in the region following a regional meeting hosted by WFOT. Hopefully this network will be a way of staying in touch, promoting professional development events, linking in with employment prospects and assisting newly arrived/graduated occupational therapists.

There were 11 OT's (American, Canadian, British, Australian, French, South African and Japanese) residing in Cairo and now there are 12 as one just moved here from New Zealand. We hope to have regular gatherings to discuss OT related issues. If you are an occupational therapist living in Egypt and would like to meet others, please contact Laura Efinger at for details.

Laura Efinger and Susan Hartshorne

Abbassiya Hospital
Ward 18
Cindy Hahn, Professor of Occupational Therapy at A. T. Still University, Mesa, Arizona, USA will be bringing a small group of students to Cairo in August. They will be visiting from August 16th to 23rd. The group will be bringing along many supplies gathered and donated by the students for patients at Abbassiya Hospital, Ward 18; the Learning Resource Centre; and the Advance School. While visiting Cairo the group expects to spend some time working at the hospital with staff and patients. They also hope to have time to interact with medical students from Ain-Shams University, under the direction of Dr. Abdelmoneim Ashour, to learn more about healthcare in Egypt and to offer information about their occupational therapy practice. They would also welcome any other interaction opportunities during their stay. You can contact Cindy Hahn at or

Ain Shams University and 6th of October UniversityBoth universities are planning to start an OT bachelor degree programme in September 2007, once they have final approval from the Ministry of Higher Education.

CDOT Newsletter #10 (March 2007)

March 7th, 2007

Dear Friends,

The new year just started and already we have lots of news to report from our project. The organising group is very busy to prepare for the upcoming visit of the WFOT Executive in April. We expect great things to happen…

Greetings from Zurich

Christiane Mentrup

2007 WFOT Interim Executive Meeting
In April the WFOT Executive will hold their Interim Executive Meeting in Cairo at the Nasser Institute. In addition to its internal meeting the WFOT Executive will also have an official visit and meeting schedule and we hope that this will add to the growing impetus behind the development of education programs for the profession here.

Regional Occupational Therapy Conference
In April 27 and 28, 2007 a one and a half day conference will be held, including presentations from the WFOT management team members. Nine eminent international OT leaders will address areas of practice, service delivery and theory. The conference will be held under the auspices of Her Excellency the First Lady in cooperation with his Excellency the Minister of Health and is co-sponsored by the Ain Shams University and October 6 University. It is an opportunity for participating in a professional forum that can not be missed.
The organizing committee hopes to cater to the needs of occupational therapists in the region and those occupational therapists and non-occupational therapists interested in the development of occupational therapy services and education in Egypt.
To better meet this objective, please reply to this notice and let us know if you are interested in attending and which of the following topics would interest you. Please identify your three most appealing priorities from the list below:

1. Mental Health and Psychiatry
2. Work rehabilitation and vocational habilitation
3. Children with special needs and working with families
4. Geriatrics and aged care
5. Adult rehabilitation
6. Occupational therapy education

We look forward to hearing from you and encourage you to tell others. Come and celebrate with us the promotion of the occupational therapy profession.
Once we have heard from you we will send out a more detailed program with information..
Email your reply to :
The registration fee will be 100 LE for Egyptian Nationals and US$100 for other participants.
In the near future the registration form will be available in hard copy and online at the WFOT website

Mrs Susan Hartshorne
WFOT Ambassador to the Egypt Project
World Federation of Occupational Therapists

After an initial contact some years ago we received the following message from a Canadian colleague:

“My name is Gloria Dueck. I am an Occupational Therapist from Canadacurrently working as a volunteer with an NGO in Ezbet El Nakhl, Cairo. I have been in Egypt for the past 3 years. I work in a centre forchildren ages 5 - 20 with a variety of disabilities. My main work at this centre is to provide training for the teachers on how they are better able to work with children with disabilities. I have held workshops on a variety of topics including development of children, sensory issues, Occupational Therapy theory, autism, etc. My term in Egypt is coming to an end and so my current goal is to leave behind a variety of materials that can continue to be used in training teachers at the centre.”

Gloria, it is good to hear from you again and we hope we can count on your support for our project in the future – even if you are about to leave the country.

Abbassiya Hospital
Ward 18
Professor Moneim Ashour reports about major improvements at ward 18 of Abbassiya Hospital. In addition to nutrition and drug treatment the occupational therapy related interventions are seen as the third relevant treatment aspect. The new concept is the result of international occupational therapists who visited the ward during the last years. Among several others it was Gillian Barrett who devoted lots of time and effort when evaluating functional abilities among the elderly clients and the quality of the environment. The results let to a range of interventions to upgrade the physical context to enable and stimulate the clients to do a range of activities. The changes were possible because of a generous financial contribution through the Cairo Rotary Club.

These changes led to a new focus within the Abbassiya Hospital, where now old age psychiatry and the newly evolving concepts in dementia care play a major role in interventions. A new day hospital for psychiatrically ill senior citizen is planed.

Professor Ashour reports that elderly people are now being welcomed at the Abbassiya Hospital like never before.

The Egyptian Society for Developing Skills of Children with Special Needs, "ADVANCE", is a registered NGO with the Egyptian Ministry of Social Affairs, under No. 4646/99, and was founded in the year 1998 by a small group of dedicated parents and families of children with special needs.

The Learning Resource Center provides services to children of all ages who are experiencing learning and/or behavioural problems. LRC provides consultation for parents and schools, evaluation, therapy, parent education, and training. LRC staff represents a variety of disciplines including physicians, psychologists, occupational and physical therapists, speech & language pathologists; and educational specialists.

ADVANCE organizes an annual educational conference with the Learning Resource Center with the aim of up-dating the teachers' and specialist knowledge, creating awareness, sharing expertise, and disseminating information about the latest state-of-the-art interventions in the field of education, with an emphasis on special education.

Jointly, we have held very successful annual educational conferences in the spring for the last six years, and they were all hosted by the British International School in Cairo (BISC), and four of them were sponsored by UNESCO.

The conferences were entitled:
"Living & Learning" – 2001
“Interventions That Work” – 2002
"Merging Efforts" – 2003
"Circle of Inclusion" – 2004
"Embracing Diversity" – 2005
"Learning to Learn " – 2006
This year we are holding our conference the week-end of the 22nd to 24th of March 2007, and it will be once again hosted by the British International School in Cairo (BISC). The conference this year is entitled: "Making a Difference."

Please do not hesitate to call Mr. Yasser Salah, Conference Organizer, for any clarifications, at (+202) 516 3965 or 67.

Maha Helali

CDOT Newsletter #9

CDOT Newsletter #8

(Right click, save and open)

CDOT Newsletter #7 (October 2006)

October 15th, 2006

Dear Friends,

The summer is over and our friends in Egypt are celebrating the Ramadan festivities.
In July WFOT had three major events in Australia. It started of with the annual Executive Meeting in Melbourne, the Council Meeting in Newcastle followed and as a highlight in the end the WFOT Congress attracted many professional visitors to Sydney.
The elections during our council meeting resulted in a change of my position. I am no longer the WFOT Vice President but together with Madeleine will continue to be co-leader of the WFOT Egypt Project and the WFOT Mongolia Project.

The new Vice President is Dr. Anne Carswell, a very dear and capable colleague from Canada who will support us in our efforts. Congratulations to Dr. Carswell to her new position!

Greetings from Zurich

Christiane Mentrup
Head of Institute for Occupational Therapy
Zurich University of Applied Science Winterthur

After the WFOT events in July 2006 in Australia Sharon Brintnell, the Vice President Finance took the opportunity to visit Cairo and to meet up with several dignitaries and project members.
The Ain Shams University as well as the 6 of October University in a mutual effort invited the World Federation to hold its next Executive Team Meeting in Cairo. The invitation was graciously accepted by the WFOT Team and the members are looking forward to a meeting with the Egyptian partners in April 2007.

Congratulations to all members of the Egypt Project Team. Well done!

There will be lots of work lying ahead to prepare for 9 WFOT representatives to come to Cairo and to meet there for a full week. It will give the WFOT officers an opportunity to support the Egypt Project by meeting up with relevant persons in the political, educational and health care field and by presenting papers or leading workshops.

Abbassiya Hospital
The occupational therapist Gillian Barrett generously offered an OT assessment for the geriatric client group at the Abbassiya Hospital in Cairo. After a meeting with the medical staff she reported her results to Professor Ashour. Gillian pointed out that that she was amazed by the high level of motivation among the personell and the warmth they showed towards their patients (clients). She was concerned about the lack of interaction among clients and some problems within the environment. She recommends some environmental changes and activities for the clients based on a general screening and individual assessments.
Following individual discussion with clients, four of them have been referred to the rehabilitation department to participate in specific groups. There are still a significant number of patients to be interviewed, but this is an ongoing activity which will take some time to complete.
Forms have been devised (translated from forms used elsewhere in the hospital) to record both the aims/objectives and the individual patient observations for each of the groups to be initiated.

Regular short walks have commenced for a large group of patients (between 20-30 each time) and two specific weekly walking groups have also started for 4-6 patients each time. These groups are more specifically focused at increasing sensory stimuli, promoting interpersonal contact and providing an opportunity for staff to discuss patients personal background and interests.

An art group has been commenced on the ward. Although numbers to attend are currently very low, it is hoped that further patients who wish to attend will be identified.
Work is ongoing regarding the arrangements for the exercise groups.
A big “Thank you” to Gillian for all the work she invested. We are sure it will make a big
difference for the clients at Abbassiya Hospital.

Ain Shams University OT Curricula update:

Professor Ahmed Hassan, Associate Professor Ahmed El Kahky and Susan Hartshorne reported that progress is continuing with the development of two occupational therapy education programmes in Egypt. Both the undergraduate degree proposed by October 6 University and the post graduate diploma proposed by the Institute of Postgraduate Childhood Studies at Ain Shams University are based on the WFOT Revised Minimum Standards.

Approval from WFOT will be sought for each curriculum in the early stages of implementation. Approval will ensure that Egyptian occupational therapy services are staffed with occupational therapists who meet world standards in education and would enable Egyptian graduates to compete for positions internationally with graduates from other WFOT approved programs.
Thanks is given to all those colleagues who have offered their insights during the curriculum development process.

CDOT Newsletter #6 (May 2006)

Committee for the Development of Occupational Therapy in Egypt

May 20th, 2006

Dear Friends,

WFOT is getting ready for its next council meeting and congress in July in Australia. This gives us another chance to present the results of our project. Madeleine and I, in the name of all project members, will proudly do so. Let me take this as an opportunity to thank everybody who has committed time, energy and money to our cause of establishing OT education and practice in Egypt with the aim of supporting the people who are in need of our services. Greetings from Zurich Christiane Mentrup 2nd Vice President World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) CDOT Members

During the last months we received the following messages from a colleague in the US, another one in the UK and one living in Cairo: René Padilla writes: I have read with interest the newsletters posted on the WFOT web page regarding efforts in the development of occupational therapy in Egypt. I am in the early stages of planning a trip to Cairo, and wanted to put myself at the disposal of the CDOT in support of your efforts. I am an academician with over 20 years of practice and teaching experience. The development of occupational therapy in the Third World (especially Latin America) over the past years has become a particular interest, and have been consulting with rehabilitation programs in Ecuador and the Dominican Republic. The motive of my trip to Egypt is personal - I am interested in becoming acquainted with life perspectives of people in a Muslim country and, as able, with community development efforts under way in that part of the world. If during that process I can be of any service to the local efforts in developing occupational therapy, I would be delighted to make whatever humble contribution I can. A longer term desire would be to establish a cooperative partnership between Creighton University and/or other agencies with whom I have contact. I have not set dates for a trip in order to first explore any possibilities with you or with whom you might direct me to contact. Depending on the time of year, I could plan to remain in the region from two weeks to one month. If you or anyone would like more information on my background, I would be quite happy to provide you with my curriculum vitae. I will be very appreciative for any guidance you can provide. Best regards, René Padilla René Padilla, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA Interim Associate Dean of Academic Affairs School of Pharmacy and Health Professions Creighton University 2500 California Plaza Omaha, NE 68178 Criss III Building, Room G74C Voice-Mail: (402) 280-5957 Fax: (402) 280-1148 E-mail:

We heard from Karen Evans: “I will moving to Cairo in August and will be looking for some work (paid - where at all possible).I work fulltime in the UK - I have just finished working as a clinical specialist OT in a hospital (with Head OT and clinical work - adult neurology/lymphoedema) and I have a private practice with another OT for paediatrics. I enjoy lecturing and am always marketing the role of OT. I have set up many OT services in Australia and the UK.I have worked in India and Malaysia also when my husband has been working in these countries. I have a master degree in community health (from Australia) and a diploma in OT (1986) from London, UK. I recently completed a post grad certificate in special educational needs (dyspraxia) through University of Wales. Best Wishes Karen Email:

In Newsletter 3 we introduced Gillian who had moved to Cairo in summer 2005 with the intention to live there for 4 years. She is interested to get involved, contacted some of our members but so far wasn’t able to actively contribute to the project. Please, write to Gillian if you need an OT to further your work. She could see herself doing some volunteer OT work app. 3 mornings a week. Gillian Barrett Email:

Rehab Dubai Congress Christiane Mentrup, WFOT 2nd Vice President, got the opportunity to present the Egypt Project at the Dubai Rehab Congress in February 2006 and did some local networking with colleagues and other professionals in the region. We hope that the occupational therapists in Dubai will reactivate their political involvement to support the establishment of OT in the Middle East. We are planning to set up a Dubai newsletter following the successful CDOT example.

Abbassiya Hospital Cindy Hahn reports that had planned to come to Cairo in August 2007 with two clinical experts and nine students to set up an exchange with Egyptian medical students for fieldwork experience at the Abbassiya Hospital. Due to a medical crisis they had to postphone to trip and will probably come to Egypt in March 2007. The frequent email exchange between both student groups has already been very fruitful.

Ain Shams University Ain Shams University continues to work with Susan Hartshorne from Australia on a curriculum and will report more in our next newsletter about Sue’s plans to return to Egypt in July 2006. 6. October University Professor Ahmed Hassan, President of The General Physical Therapy Syndicate of Egypt, reports that “A group of people which was formed in December 2005 is still working very hard creating a curriculum for the 6 of October University. Professor Naiema Hassan from the PT department of Cairo University and Professor of Ahmed Hassan are cooperating with Sue Hartshorne. The university is now in the process of advertising OT positions for Arabic speaking staff to continue the implementation of the course.” Alexandria University Dr Tarek Shafshak and Maha Helali participated at conference in Alexandia presenting papers on occupational therapy.

WFOT The World Federation of Occupational Therapists will have their next council meeting and congress in July 2006 in Australia. Members of the project group are thinking about inviting the WFOT Executive to hold its next meeting in Cairo in order to further support the project work.