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A subgroup of World Confederation for Physical Therapy


Abridged version of IFOMPT History
Compiled by Annalie Basson and Dr Alison Rushton, October 2010 and Updated by Ken Olson in June 2016
 The inaugural meeting of the International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Therapists (IFOMT) was hosted in Montreal, Canada in 1974. This meeting provided the first international forum for this specialist area of physical therapy following a period of growth and dissemination of Orthopaedic Manipulative Therapy through courses throughout the world by a group of eminent physical therapists.

The first President of IFOMT was Richard Erhard (USA), followed in 1976 by Stanley Paris (USA), in 1984 by Robert Elvey (Australia), in 1992 by Robert Sydenham (Canada) in 1996 by Jan Erik Endresen (Norway), in 2000 by Agneta Lando (UK), in 2004 by Michael Ritchie (Canada), in 2008 by Annalie Basson (South Africa-2 terms) and in 2016 by Kenneth Olson (United States of America).

With great foresight, the inaugural meeting of IFOMT established a Standards Committee to set up a curriculum of study and examinations. In 1975 the first IFOMT Congress and General Meeting was held in Gran Canaria, Spain. An initial draft of the Standards Document (theoretical component) was developed and signed by the Standards Committee of Freddy Kaltenborn (Chair, Norway), Gregory Grieve (UK), David Lamb (Canada) and Brian Edwards (Australia). At the IFOMT General Meeting in 1977 hosted in Vail, USA, the Standards Document (with theoretical and practical components) was presented, to be subsequently ratified at the World Confederation of Physical Therapy (WCPT) meeting hosted in Tel Aviv, Israel in 1978.

Very importantly for IFOMT with its international physical therapy focus and mission, it was also granted status as a subgroup of the WCPT at the meeting in 1978. IFOMT was the first subgroup of WCPT.

In 1988 Gwen Jull (Australia) became the Chair of the Standards Committee (then named Membership Committee). In 1992 a new Standards Document was presented by Gwen Jull at the General Meeting hosted in Vail, USA and voted in. The Standards Document was subsequently reviewed and in 2000 the Standards Document revision was ratified at the General Meeting in Perth, Australia (development of document by L Wellington, Australia). The Standards Document forms the foundation for the educational programmes which have to be submitted by any manual therapy group aspiring to membership.

An IFOMT strategic meeting in 2001 hosted in Antwerp, Belgium was important for the development and direction of IFOMT in the past decade; in line with its vision for ‘worldwide promotion of excellence and unity in clinical and academic standards for manual/musculoskeletal physiotherapists’. The mission and vision of IFOMT are represented in the constitution, in which regular conferences no less than every four years are stipulated, and the criteria for membership are laid down. The items identified as important areas for development in the strategic plan of 2001 were: funding, website development, education, communication and a resource centre. As most of the strategic goals were met in 2010, a Strategic Planning Meeting was held in Cincinnati (USA) in 2013. At this meeting the main strategic goals were branding of IFOMPT, leadership, educational standards, communication, research, finance, and the growth of Registered Interest Groups and Member Organisations. The first IFOMT website went live in 2004 and was updated in 2010 and again in 2014. The Executive Committee reviews the strategic goals yearly and in 2016 established advisory workgroups to correspond with the strategic plan priorities.

At the General Meeting hosted in Perth, 2000, the Member Organisations of IFOMT voted for a process of International Monitoring to ensure on-going quality of educational programmes and continued achievement of the IFOMT standards by Member Organisations. The document was developed by Agneta Lando (UK) and Alison Rushton (UK), and provided an addition to the Standards Document, namely ‘Part B, International Monitoring Document’. The document was accepted at the General Meeting in Cape Town, 2004. In 2004 Alison Rushton (UK) took over as Chair of the Standards Committee. In 2008 a further Educational Standards Document revision was presented and accepted at the General Meeting hosted in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. At the General Meeting in Quebec City 2012, the Member Organisations voted for an earlier than initially planned revision of the Standards Document. Following a consensual process, a new version was accepted at the General Meeting in Glasgow 2016.

The process of International Monitoring of individual Member Organisations started in 2007 to ensure that educational programmes continue to meet the IFOMPT Standards and develop their quality. This has been a learning curve for all Member Organisations and IFOMPT. It has strengthened the educational programmes and Member Organisations and has led to reciprocal recognition by an increasing number of Member Organisations.

The IFOMPT logo was revised and accepted in Rotterdam at the 2008 General meeting. In 2009, IFOMT changed its name to incorporate the term Physical Therapist to become the International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Physical Therapists (IFOMPT).  In 2015, as part of the branding of IFOMPT, the logo was revised again and accepted at the General Meeting in Glasgow 2016 along with the tagline, “The Global Leader in OMPT Excellence”.

IFOMT started out with 6 ‘voting’ member countries (Australia, The Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Sweden and The United Kingdom) and five ‘associate’ member countries. Currently IFOMPT consists of 22 Member Organisations and 16 Registered Interest Groups. IFOMPT is an active and growing federation of countries passionate about further development of Orthopaedic Manipulative Physical Therapy throughout the world.

 Click Here to view a PDF version of  "IFOMPT Educational Standards: A Historical Perspective"

Click here for photographs of IFOMPT history.
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