News

The ICF: a unifying framework for human functioning and rehabilitation research


21 July 2009

The Faculty of Health Sciences was pleased to have the opportunity to host a lecture by Professor Gerold Stucki on Tuesday, 14 July 2009. Professor Stucki is the Director of Swiss Paraplegic Research (SPF), Professor and Chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; University Hospital Munich, and the Director of the ICF Research Branch WHO FIC CC (DIMDI) at SPF Nottwil, Switzerland and at IHRS, Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, Germany.

Lecture: "The ICF, a unifying framework for human functioning and rehabilitation research" - See Lecture
Human functioning and disability are universal experiences. In human experience body, behaviour and society are inextricably intertwined. Likewise, functioning and disability are neither solely a matter of social construction nor of biological causes of impairment. Therefore, the needs and problems of people experiencing or likely to experience disability exceed disciplinary boundaries.

With the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) approved by the 54th World Health Assembly in 2001 the World Health Organization (WHO) for the first time provides a universal and globally agreed framework and classification which comprehensively addresses human experience in relation to functioning and disability. The ICF, thus, provides a promising starting point for the integrative understanding of functioning and disability and the overcoming of Cartesian dualism as well as both sociological and biomedical reductionism. It is also a promising starting point for human functioning and rehabilitation research.

Professor Stucki
Professor Stucki


More about Professor Stucki: Since his appointment as chair of the Department of PRM at the LMU in 1999, he pursued his clinical research in PRM and musculoskeletal medicine and developed a new research agenda in human functioning and rehabilitation research. His clinical research focused on the development of concepts and programs for multidisciplinary rehabilitation service and care provision in the acute hospital, inpatient rehabilitation, post-acute community care and prevention programs. The new research agenda in human functioning and rehabilitation research addresses the need to move from a medically centered perspective in outcomes research to a more comprehensive understanding of the human experience relevant for a truly person and community centered service and care provision.

In the context of his new research agenda, he is collaborating with the WHO team for Classification, Terminology and Standards in an international effort to implement the new International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health in rehabilitation and the health sector. He is also co-chair of the Functioning and Disability Reference Group (FDRG), a task group established by the WHO-FIC Network.