New medical project to train Penang's disability support staff
25 September 2009
A new medical collaboration is set to enhance the teaching and research relationships between the University of Sydney and the University of Malaysia.
The collaboration, headed by Professor Trevor Parmenter, Foundation Chair of Developmental Disability Studies (CDS) in the Sydney Medical School, involves trialling a training program targeted at support staff from disability agencies in Penang.
"In the last 13 years, CDS has developed specific skills in research and teaching across a range of issues related to improving the quality of life of people with a disability especially those born with a disability," said Professor Parmenter, "The Penang Rotary Club's Joblink Centre, a disability employment support agency in Penang, approached CDS because they were seeking assistance in training its support staff.
"CDS already has an introductory training program in place which we plan to pilot this with disability support staff Penang. We will work with teaching staff of the Universiti Sains Malaysia, in particular Dr Siti Hawa Abdullah and her colleagues in the School of Educational Studies and make necessary changes to the program to suit local culture and specific training needs."
The project is funded by Australia-Malaysia Institute and will support two visits by the Professor Parmenter to the Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang; the first to liaise with colleagues there and with disability support agencies to conduct an analysis of local training needs. A second visit will be for the purpose of delivering a pilot training program that will be evaluated to determine its strengths and weaknesses in the context of local needs.
A colleague from the Universiti Sains Malaysia will also make a reciprocal visit to Australia to explore the development of collaborative action research projects between the two institutions.
"The aim of this project is to build a reciprocal teaching and research relationships between the CDS and staff of the Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang, especially in the development of curriculum materials for medical and health sciences students interested in the health of people with a disability," said Professor Parmenter.
"The benefit of this will be the sharing of expertise, ensuring the sustainability of the relationship between colleagues in both countries.
"It will also enhance the bilateral links between the two countries by collaborating on the development of training programs for disability support staff, and the development of disability research initiatives."
Contact: Michelle Wood
Phone: 02 9351 3191