3rd European Congress on Physiotherapy Education

An interprofessional and international initiative on the role of health sciences faculties in achieving United Nations Millennium Development Goals.


In order to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (UNMDG) and its targets for 2015, all communities need to work together. Academic institutions can be an effective partner by contributing through education of health professional trainees, research, and contribution to policy discussion and analysis with policy makers and other partners. This project has been undertaken in collaboration with the United Nations.

The Universitas 21 (U21) UNMDG initiative is an interprofessional project involving faculty and students from across the globe, that aims to develop an educational strategy to raise awareness of UNMDG, for adoption and flexible implementation into the curriculum of the health professional training programs. Faculty from six U21 member universities have developed ten UNMDG case studies together with an educators’ guide and a students’ guide.

Physiotherapists have a major role to play in the understanding of the UNMDG's and in implementing practices and projects both locally and globally that build on the foundations of the UNMDG's.

The material is being adaptively implemented in the curriculum of a number of U21 universities, and an evaluation framework has been developed to demonstrate this strategy’s output and contributions to achieving the UNMDG targets by 2015 and beyond. A reflection survey for students has been tested with students in Hong Kong, Nottingham, Melbourne Seoul and has produced encouraging preliminary results. Over 800 students have participated in parts of the developed curriculum.

Health Sciences Group 

The project came out of work undertaken by the Health Sciences Group of U21. Curriculum design was decided on by a consultative process. An evaluation tool has been developed and trialled by a international, interprofessional subcommittee.

Further evaluation of the project is hoped to be undertaken by a PhD scholar.


Over time, this strategy is expected to lead to an increase in students’ attitude, knowledge, and skills in UNMDG implementation both globally and locally. The work will be openly published and it is anticipated that the curriculum will be opened up for use by other institutions.

The student committee has called for expressions of interest for collaborative projects to be undertaken in three regions of the world. These would include students and staff from the host institutions and students and staff from the U21 network of universities.


The UNMDG's form the foundations for work in both local and global communities on issues that affect all Health Professionals. It is important that physiotherapy graduates have a clear understanding of the UNMDG's and how they can use this knowledge in their own practice in order for there to be gains in better health outcomes for all communities


Gillian Webb, University of Melbourne

Gillian Webb has been a physiotherapy educator for a long time. She is the Chair of the Asia West Pacific (AWP) region of WCPT and President of the International Society of Educators in Physiotherapy (ISEP). She has extensive experience in the area of curriculum design and implementation both in Australia and in the AWP region. She has published in many areas of education and is passionate about the development of quality physiotherapy education to provide better health outcomes for communities both in her own country, Australia, and in the broader global context. Her other interests are in the accreditation processes for physiotherapy education programs and for regulation of physiotherapy practice.