I have just returned from a two-month trip to Cambodia in preparation for the October launch of the new university dysphagia course, developed in collaboration with the University of Puthisastra.
My two months in Cambodia were spent working with Dr. Kathy Jakielski, our new SSTC Course Coordinator, to introduce her to the administrators at the five hospitals involved in the course, and to the officials at the University of Puthisastra—lots of meetings. Kathy is now going full force and is working very well with hospital administrators and trainees, with the university, as well as remotely with Annie Johnson who is in the UK. Annie is our lead speech and language therapist and principal course-content developer.
We were impressed by the commitment of the hospitals, the enthusiasm of the trainees, and the investment of the university in the program.
University of Puthisastra president Professor Ian Findlay expressed his belief that our dysphagia course could serve as a gateway to developing courses in other Allied Health disciplines which are not now available in Cambodia. Allied Health disciplines include speech pathology, audiology, occupational therapy, and nutrition, among others.
I also worked with Veasna and Dalin (our former interpreter) and with Kathy to hire our new program assistant, Sreynoch, and two Rotary-funded interpreters. We did find some really great young Cambodian women for these roles, so intelligent and with impeccable English skills.
I am happy to report that the new university program—the first of its kind in Cambodia!—is off to a great start!