SPRINGFIELD — Brooke Hallowell, dean of the School of Health Sciences at Springfield College, recently returned from Geneva, Switzerland, where she participated in a meeting of the Global Rehabilitation Alliance (GRA), an initiative of the World Health Organization. The GRA’s mission is to advocate for the availability of quality, coordinated, and affordable rehabilitation through system strengthening according to population needs.
Hallowell was one of 14 initial signatories for international associations that founded the initiative of the GRA on May 22, 2018 at the World Health Assembly, hosted by the World Health Organization in Geneva. She serves as the official representative of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Assoc. The meeting last month was the first in-person GRA work session since the group’s foundation. Twenty-five representatives of international organizations from around the world participated.
The GRA is a platform for united advocacy and awareness raising to strengthen rehabilitation in health and social systems around the world. Many organizations help serve this goal through working to improve accessibility to services, quality of care, the building of rehabilitation-workforce capacity, and strengthening of data collection. The GRA aims to further these efforts through raising the profile of rehabilitation and strengthening networks and partnerships.
Hallowell has an international reputation in collaborative development of rehabilitation services and frameworks, especially in under-resourced regions. She is involved in research, educational, and clinical program collaboration in Cambodia, China, Ghana, Honduras, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Russia, and Vietnam.
“My previous global experience toward similar goals has been primarily at grass-roots community levels in areas of high need, focusing on interprofessional service, community-based rehabilitation, and trans-national research to promote rehabilitation,” she said. “The GRA has set important goals at a higher level, especially in terms of linking collective action to policies internationally. It is a tremendous honor to help facilitate action as a founding member of the GRA.”