USF Professor Monika Mann Selected for WHO World Rehabilitation Alliance
In May 2021, Professor Mann joined the USF MPH program to develop and teach Global Perspectives on Public Health and Health Behavior Theory and Communication and Health System Strengthening.
Professor Mann shared: My expertise in public health is primarily in the rehabilitation and disability sector. I started out my career as a physical therapist. After practicing for some years, I felt a pull to do international work and ended up teaching in the physical therapy program at the University of Nicaragua. Students and practitioners knew facts, as well as students from the United States, but needed to gain critical thinking and decision-making skills. So, I developed a course to teach critical thinking and decision-making to rehabilitation professionals, sponsored by the Pan-American Health Organization. I taught the course to practicing clinicians throughout Nicaragua.
Going to a country as a health professional and providing services may help in certain situations, but teaching has a greater and more sustainable impact. I have also worked on building the capacity of healthcare professionals in Vietnam, El Salvador, Peru, Uganda, and in Ethiopia. From 2013 - 2015, I directed a USAID grant in Rwanda to offer continuing professional development to rehabilitation professionals. We conducted a needs assessment and established how to bring the practitioners up to international standards, emphasizing a person-centered, evidence-based care model.
About her experience in WHO’s Rehabilitation 2030 Initiative and Guide for Action, Professor Mann shared: I completed my Master's in Public Health at Johns Hopkins and was hired as a faculty member. After moving to California, I joined USF’s School of Nursing and Health Professions. In the meantime, I began consulting with the WHO in 2018 to strengthen rehabilitation in Health Systems. I have consulted with them in Zambia, Guyana, and Aruba and presented my work at the WHO headquarters in Geneva.
I was nominated to the newly established ‘WHO Rehabilitation Alliance earlier this year.’ We aim to help promote rehabilitation worldwide and advocate for WHO’s Rehabilitation Plan for Action. Rehabilitation throughout the lifespan is an essential health service that should be available to the entire population and is an integral component of universal health care.
We are fortunate to have Professor Mann at USF SONHP and look forward to hearing more about her work with the WHO Rehabilitation Alliance.