The launch of first interdisciplinary clinical master program in Rehabilitation Sciences in Jordan by a European Union funded project

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There is an evident need for highly qualified professionals in rehabilitation sciences in the Middle East, and particularly in Jordan, as number of individuals with disabilities is on massive increase because of the civil wars in the neighboring countries and the continuing flows of traumatized refugees. Higher education in rehabilitation sciences is scarce in Jordan and in the Arab region. Furthermore, there is an evident lack of multidisciplinary team concept; where different disciplines are not used to cooperate in teams. In addition, rehabilitation professions lack concise implementation of evidence-based clinical reasoning.  All of this has an impact on the service provided and the image of rehabilitation from the patient’s perspectives.

Recognizing this evident need to offer a comprehensive program addressing the above described challenges, Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST), funded by the European Erasmus Plus Capacity Building in Higher Education Program, has partnered with three other top-notched European Institutions as well as other two national institutions in the field of rehabilitation sciences to establish the first master program in interdisciplinary clinical rehabilitation in Jordan (JUST-CRS). The partners are Oxford Brooks University (UK), ESSA (Portugal), Hacettepe University (Turkey), the University of Jordan and the Hashemite University (Jordan). JUST-CRS program is intended to serve as a benchmark program in the region that produce competent rehabilitation sciences’ professionals with an emphasis on interdisciplinary clinical rehabilitation education for physical and occupational therapy professions. In this project, expertise from all consortium partners are brought together to create an innovative interdisciplinary master’s program that aims to address the national rehabilitation priorities, improve the quality of rehabilitation services and improve the quality of rehabilitation higher education in Jordan.

JUST-CRS has launched in the academic year of 2017/2018. The curriculum was created according to both Jordanian and European higher education standards; applying both Bologna Process and Jordanian Accreditation Commission for Higher Education standards. Teaching in the program is also being conducted in a collaborative way, where all professors experienced in one topic gather from the two disciplines from all partners to teach. Clinical training for the students for the first cohort was conducted at the clinical centers and hospitals affiliated with the European partners of the consortium.

Dr. Mohammad Nazzal, the project manager, stated: “Our goal is to prepare students to be caring and reflective practitioners who are able to provide evidence-based, client-centered, effective and efficient rehabilitation services, and to critically evaluate the scientific basis of practice, to adapt to and initiate change, and to become life- long learners”.  “Additionally, through the proposed academic, research, clinical, and leadership experiences that the program provides, the target of the programme is to prepare professionals to possess leadership role in rehabilitation professions in Jordan and the Arab World affecting students whom we teach and clients in the society who need our quality rehabilitation services”.