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The Ultimate Guide for Students/Clinicians considering ISL trips

11/11/2015, 10:15pm EST
By April Fajardo, PT, DPT

The Ultimate Guide for Students/Clinicians considering ISL trips


Have you ever felt drawn to international service learning (ISL), but you didn’t know how to start, where to go, or who to contact? There are two avenues within the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) that could assist you with your search.  The first is the Health Policy & Administration’s Global Health Special Interest Group (GHSIG) which functions to promote networking and collaboration within the following issues: Community Health and Wellness Promotion, Cultural Competency, Global Health Education, Disability Studies, Health Disparities, International Clinical Education, Linguistic Competency , Pro Bono, Rural Health, and Service-Learning.  The second is the APTA Student Assembly’s Global Health Project Committee (GHPC) which promotes awareness of global affairs concerning physical therapy, fosters relationships international programs, and provides resources for students interested in global health education and service learning.


During my term as the Co-Chair of the GHPC, students and clinicians were interested in pursuing ISL trips, but their minds were flooded with questions and very little direction. With the collaborative efforts of my ISL subcommittee, we decided to create an ISL Manual to answer those exact questions.


Taking interest in an ISL trip is the first step, but execution requires significant planning. Our intent was to provide a how-to-guide that would assist with your preparation.  Other resources may be available and we encourage you to utilize the members of our project committee and to engage with the GHSIG on social media via Facebook and Twitter (@GHSIG).


Before you decide to go, check yourself.  Why are you going?  If you are simply going for a resume’ booster, spare yourself the time and money.  If you are you going to learn about the culture, the people, the language, and their healthcare system? Then yes!  I encourage you to participate in an ISL trip for our destiny for greatness can be achieved through serving others for it is in giving that we receive.  There is nothing more powerful than a smile, a helping hand, and an open heart.  


-  April Fajardo, PT, DPT


The production of the ISL manual would not have been possible without the participation of the following people:



Ashley Alagna (Carroll University)

Rachel Buckner (University of Southern California)

Michael Weinand (North Arizona University)

Brittney Townsend (Southwest Baptist University)

Sam Weng (Cal State Long Beach)



Josh Greensweig (University of Minnesota)

Jillian Carney (St. Catherine University alum)


Special Thanks:

Josh D’Angelo, PT, DPT

Fred Gilbert, SPT (University of Alabama at Birmingham)

Jeanine Gunn, PT, DPT

Efosa Guobadia, PT, DPT

Lisa McLaughlin

Beverly McNeal, PT, DPT, GCS

Tag(s): Physical Therapy Pulse  All Articles  Contributors   Meghan Simonetti, DPT