Advancing an environmentally responsible physiotherapy

ABOUT US

The Environmental Physiotherapy Association (EPA) is the first international network of physiotherapy clinicians, educators, researchers, and students interested in exploring and advancing the field of environmental physiotherapy.

Members of the EPA are active through grassroots activism, social media, researching and teaching. They publish in academic journals, present at international conferences, plant trees, hug animals, and promote the study and practice of environmental physiotherapy.

Membership is free and open to anyone with an interest in environmental physiotherapy and a commitment to the network’s aims and objectives.

EPA CONSTITUTION (An organic, perpetual draft)

The EPA is grounded on the recognition that physiotherapy always takes place on a planetary scale, and must therefore be thought of and practised ecologically. This is to say that we recognise that it is not possible to think the one (human health, healthcare, physical therapy, etc.) without simultaneously thinking the other (environment, ecology, planetary health). And further, that if it is not possible to think the one without the other, it is also not possible to practise human healthcare without simultaneously practising environmental healthcare.

The association is founded on the belief that the physical therapies can make a much more valuable and significant contribution to human and planetary health than the historically and socially self-imposed limits on the profession have previously allowed. The Association has been made possible by a growing sense that a critical mass of physiotherapists are eager to advance contemporary physiotherapy theory and practice towards a more positive, inclusive, environmental future for the profession.

The EPA will appeal to people with an interest in physiotherapy, healthcare, and current questions and issues regarding our planetary environment and its health, including people who are not practising physiotherapists. We seek to encourage contributions from, and collaborations with, academics, clinicians, educators, researchers and, students, and anyone who can help us to achieve the objectives set out below.

The idea of keeping our constitution in the form of a ‘perpetual, organic draft’ is in an effort to do justice to our approach of environmental physiotherapy as an open landscape for physiotherapy research, practice, and education. In such a landscape, understanding and orientation should continuously move, shift, and alter as understanding grows, is turned around, implemented and explored further again. Consequently, a constitution for an association seeking to be active in this field also needs to grow and change, organically, in the precise way that our hopes for physiotherapy are to move closer to, and with, the environment.

OUR VISION 

To help physiotherapy contribute more meaningfully to planetary health and wellbeing.

OUR MISSION: 4E

To envision, explore, enhance, and employ
environmental physiotherapy.

ENVISION

To imagine, create, dream…

EXPLORE

To research, study, interrogate…

ENHANCE

To advance, promote, strengthen…

EMPLOY

To practise, act, do…

OUR AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

The EPA will strive to achieve our vision by:

1. Actively exploring existing and future relations between physiotherapy theory and practice and our planetary environment and health;

2. Being open to all ideas, practices, objects, disciplines, systems and structures that can contribute to the exploration, development, and practice of more environmentally engaged physiotherapy;

3. Challenging physiotherapists to critically examine the profession’s historical anthropocentrism and ecological agnosia;

4. Providing a platform for the latest research and developments in environmental physiotherapy;

5. Providing support for environmental physiotherapy research and development;

6. To advance the study, understanding and implementation of environmental sustainability and related policies like the UN Sustainable Development Goals in physiotherapy research, practice, and education;

7. To advance policy development with regard to planetary health within the physiotherapy profession and beyond;

8. Nurturing a positive, collaborative and supportive space for ideas that promote more environmentally engaged and responsible physiotherapy.

THE EPA Executive Committee

The EPA Executive Committee held its first meeting via video-conference on Tuesday 22 October 2019. It is currently made up of 10 members:

A/Prof Filip Maric (Norway, Founding Chair)

Prof David Nicholls (New Zealand, Co-Founder)

Dr Olivia Stone (New Zealand)

Dr Jessica Stanhope (Australia)

Lucy Inyang Edet (PhD Student, Nigeria)

Srishti Banerjee (Master’s of Physiotherapy, India)

Joost van Wijchen (MSc, Senior lecturer, Netherlands)

Marion Kennedy (PhD, New Zealand)

Thies Bundtzen (BSc, Germany)

We are incredibly grateful to past EPA Executive Committee members who have helped shape the present and future of our association and environmental physiotherapy on the whole:

A/Prof Karien Mostert (Pretoria, South Africa)

Dr Jane Culpan (Scotland, UK)

Palasha Sardesai (MSc, India)

Issie Long (BSc, Wales, UK)

The EPA is a proud member of… 

The Environmental Physiotherapy Association is a proud member of the Planetary Health Alliance, a consortium of over 200 universities, non-governmental organizations, research institutes, and government entities from around the world committed to understanding and addressing global environmental change and its health impacts.

The Environmental Physiotherapy Association is a proud member of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) – a global initiative for the United Nations, the world’s leading knowledge network for the UN Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDSN mobilizes global scientific and technological expertise to promote practical solutions for sustainable development, including the implementation of the SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement.

Our partners

The European Network of Physiotherapy in Higher Education (ENPHE) is the leading Knowledge Forum related to Physiotherapy Higher Education in Europe that anticipates trends and forces in the changing society that shape professional practice and education. With over 150 member universities ENPHE provides a Home for collaborate and support to improve educational developments, and embraces a strategic focus on environment and sustainability in physiotherapy, healthcare and the world at large. 

The Environmental Physiotherapy Association is a proud partner of Physiopedia and Physioplus. Physiopedia is the largest available free-access and continually updated physiotherapy knowledge resource and is used by people in every corner of the world. Physioplus provides everything for your continuing education and professional development, giving you one place to go for your lifelong career needs. Physiopedia now features an Environmental physiotherapy content development project aiming to develop, increase and share knowledge on all aspects of environmental physiotherapy with colleagues around the world, while Physioplus offers a new Environmental physiotherapy professional development programme featuring a growing number of courses in the field.

The Environmental Physiotherapy Association is a proud associate partner of the Persons with Refugee experience Education Project (PREP IP), an KA2 project co-funded by the ERASMUS+ Programme of the European Union that addresses the mismatch between the competence of physiotherapists and the complex rehabilitation needs of a growing population of refugees and migrants in Europe.

Health 4 Future – Physio, OT and Speech and Language Therapists Working Group: We are a nationwide group committed to sustainable climate protection under the name. Our goal is to develop solution-oriented concepts for the therapy profession. Within project groups, we aim to design future-proof, sustainable behaviours and work processes for healthcare facilities. We are in the process of finding ways to inform and educate patients and educational institutions about the connections between climate change, society and health.

The Physio Susnet – A network of the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare UK: Join clinicians, researchers, educators and students interested in reducing the carbon footprint of physiotherapy, and harnessing our services to reach a ‘net zero carbon’ health service. This network will allow us to share ideas and resources for socially and environmentally-responsible physiotherapy. We are working in collaboration with the Environmental Physiotherapy Association (EPA).

At Justice-Centered Rehab, we aim to uplift and share progressive messages and events, particularly in the sphere of rehabilitation. We strive to influence a justice-centred focus in relevant organizations and groups to encourage justice within their practice and policies with the goal of increasing harmony and equity in society. In collaboration with Environmental Physiotherapy Association (EPA), we try to highlight the social causes of today’s environmental problems, and the historical overlaps between social and environmental injustice and their effects on the health of people.

Physiotherapy Declares is a physiotherapy speciality group of the Health Declares organisation in the UK.  We are a grassroots, voluntary group of physiotherapy professionals from across the UK united in the recognition of a global climate and ecological emergency. We are lobbying our professional body, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, to recognise that climate change poses a significant risk to health, and that we, as healthcare professionals and therapists, have significant responsibility and potential to contribute to the transition to more sustainable futures for all.

Occupational Therapists for (OTEA) is an American network of occupational therapy (OT) practitioners, researchers, educators, and students advocating for the profession to address climate change. We endeavour to collaborate with the public and like-minded healthcare professionals to address the ways in which human occupation can either contribute to or mitigate the worst effects of the climate crisis. We understand that the worst effects of climate change fall on already marginalized populations and believe that we, as healthcare providers, have an obligation to address climate change to protect the health of all our clients.