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TWU Home > Marketing & Communication > News Releases

TWU students travel to Vietnam to teach and practice physical therapy


From left, Harmony Choi, Sara Khanzadeh, Samantha LeHecka, Sandy Do, Dr. Toni Roddey and Alison Gallup stand in front of the Da Nang Orthopedic Rehabilitation Center, where they practiced during their trip to Vietnam

HOUSTON – Texas Woman’s University physical therapy graduate students Sara Khanzadeh, Harmony Choi, Samantha Lehecka and Alison Gallup recently traveled to Da Nang, Vietnam to teach and provide physical therapy services to the community.

“We spent our time providing physical therapy services at a clinic in Da Nang. We also presented a one-day shoulder rehabilitation conference to area healthcare providers,” said Dr. Toni Roddey, associate professor of physical therapy at the TWU Institute of Health Sciences-Houston Center, who led the students on the trip in May. TWU alumn Sandy Do also went on the trip.

Ms. Khanzadeh said, “It was an eye-opening experience. We worked on a patient that had a frozen shoulder. He had been in the hospital for two months because of a spinal cord injury, and the first time he noticed improvements on his shoulder was after his session with us.

“The next day his demeanor had changed and he was giving us the thumbs-up sign. We taught the local physical therapists what we were doing so they could continue treatment with him.”

Dr. Roddey said the students are the reason this trip happened.

“They took the initiative and approached me about traveling abroad to volunteer our services. They organized the trip and raised the money necessary to travel.”

Ms. Khanzadeh said, “We raised close to $11,000 by soliciting family and friends. Each week we massaged people at TWU for $1 a minute. We also massaged a MS 150 bike team that donated money to our trip in return. Fundraising took a lot of time and was the bulk of our preparation for the trip.”

In addition to the students’ raising the funds for their travel from various sources, Covenant Church in Houston paid for Dr. Roddey’s plane ticket for the trip.

“It was fulfilling for me to see the students learn and grow as they experienced health care in a third-world country,” Dr. Roddey said. “By sharing and practicing their knowledge, the students learned to be flexible and creative in their treatment, as well as to be sensitive to cultural differences.”

Ms. Khanzadeh said, “I now have a better knowledge of how to treat underserved communities and patients with whom I can't communicate with in English. We hope that future classes and professors participate in trips like this. It deepens your understanding for your patients and makes you a better clinician.”


For Further Information Contact:

Amanda McKeen Simpson
Director of News and Information
Tel: (940) 898-3456
e-mail: asimpson1@twu.edu

Page last updated January 22, 2009

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