The University of Santo Tomas (UST), being the first and currently the only recognized Center of Development in Physical Therapy under the Commission on Higher Education, signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Universidad de Sta. Isabel (USI) of Naga City in Bicol, the only HEI currently offering physical therapy program in Naga, to formally launch collaborative academic, research and community development programs. The ceremonies were held last September 28, 2015 at the Rector’s Hall of the University of Santo Tomas.
Representing USI in the event were Sr. Lourdes L. Albis, DC, Dean Salve T. Zuñiga, MAN of the College of Health Education, and Mr. Christopher Bien, PTRP, Chairperson of the PT Department. They were welcomed by officials of the University and the College of Rehabilitation Sciences (CRS), including Prof. Maribel G. Nonato, PhD (Vice-Rector for Research and Innovation), Asst. Prof. Mark Anthony D. Abenir, DSD (Director of the Simbahayan Community Development Office), Assoc. Prof. Cheryl R. Peralta, DrPH (Dean of CRS), and Rev. Fr. Joaquin F. Valdes, O.P. (Regent of CRS). The event was hosted by Asst. Prof. Ma. Georgina D. Mojica, MHPEd, Department Chair for Speech-Language Pathology, and was witnessed by some of the lead faculty to be involved in the projects with USI: Jordan Barbra Nava (CRS Coordinator for Community Development), Joyce Anne Ponciano, MAEd (Researcher, Center for Health Research and Movement Science) and Charles Bermejo (President, UST-CRS Alumni Association).
This partnership aims to facilitate community-based rehabilitation programs in Naga, anchored on research. This five-year project was initially launched through a tripartite agreement between the Parent Advocates for Visually Impaired Children and the Naga City government. Involving USI in the project aims to facilitate capacity-building and sustainability in the local scene.