Interview with Mike Landry from Canada, the new president of World Physiotherapy

(překlad rozhovoru naleznete v novém čísle Bulletinu)


First of all, I wanted to congratulate you on winning the elections as the president of World Physiotherapy.

Yeah. Thank you.


For how long have you been involved in World Physiotherapy? 

So, in the global body since 2007. In 2007, I was the President of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association and we hosted World Physiotherapy Congress in Vancouver. And I've been heavily involved in creating and organizing that. Since then, I have been in all kinds of different committees.

This would be my first time I sit on the board of World Physiotherapy.

So, a good question would be, well, how is that possible?

And it depends on how you want to look at it. I look at governance as being dynamic. So, the board has to change. It cannot be the same people over time because you just need the freshness. I mean, that's just normal. And so that's why I felt I would have something to contribute because I had a lot of experience on boards. I believe I have a vision for the future and sounds like the world has agreed. 


Yeah, that's something for another question. So why did you candidate for President of World Physiotherapy? And what are your plans for the future?

Well, why that's a good question. I think we can become the change-makers of tomorrow. Why? Because I think tomorrow is going to look very different. I think I see a future where technology is going to change who we are, what we do, and even how we do it. So, for instance, I think you know Chat GPT, everyone knows Chat GPT, that's just a tiny little piece of what artificial intelligence is all about. And I think there'll be a day and this will be a good thing where patients interact with some sort an AI, sort of arranged entity that takes down information almost as an assessment takes a wide array of possibilities, and narrows down the diagnosis.


I'll be honest, I still am surprised that we analyze gait by watching something. When there is a technology that can make it much more precise. In fact, there's a technology that can predict early-stage Parkinsonism just by the gait of an individual. And so I think we need to really go into this technology and it's not just high-income countries this will be widespread. So I think that's what we have, we have to go into this. If we don't get prepared for the future. We will be left behind and I feel around the world. We're not moving fast enough. So that's one of my visions. What was the other question?


What are your plans for the future? 

My plan, I had a model. I'm sure you received it. You know the model or parts to it, but I think well, there's myself, who's new there is a new vice president and there's at least two new board members. What we're going to do is we're going to look at where we are, what is the vision. we're going to look at our finances, which are not as healthy as they need to be. We're going to balance our budget. We're going to do that because that's just easy. We can no longer blame the pandemic. A pandemic impacted us, but that was two years ago. So I think we're going to bring in a lot more financial accountability. We're going to look at the visioning, the future of where we go. I want to see the regions become empowered to make decisions for themselves. This is that idea of decentralization. So particularly in Europe, which is very different than other regions, each region needs to have some agency to make its own decisions, create its own priorities, use its own resources.



Where do you see the place or the role of the physiotherapist in the future? 

I see more precision in what we're going to do. I see us using more technology to be more precise. In fact, I was just leaving one of the talks where I was sharing and speaking, talking to the researcher, and her presentation was about the prescription of exercise. Do you know how many more studies we need to tell us that exercise is good? It's good. It works.

The question is, how do you make sure people use it, or do it? So, we need to come up with technology strategies. To say, OK, that person based on how they perform is unlikely to follow through with their exercise. I'll give you an example. I spent a lot of time in professional hockey working with hockey players. And I can look at a player after 25 years and say I'm pretty sure he or she's going to get a concussion. You could just tell and that's so imprecise. We could have technology that could risk modify or risk stratify. Rather different players at different risk levels.

I say this because there's an imbalance between supply and demand. There's more demand, but not enough of us (physiotherapists). We're never going to be able to produce enough of us, so we have to change how we do it, so that we meet that future demand. So that would be my plan. 


You said you want to change something about the budget. For example, this year in the general meeting there was a big discussion about increasing the membership. So how do you think you can improve the budget of World Physiotherapy? 

Well, I'll tell you what concerns me is that if we increase the fees half of the African countries are leaving. They won't be able to make it. If we tried a small increase every single year over a 10-year period, you're talking about a large number. So what I would suggest is keeping the number the same or decreasing it. But raise the total number of possible members in every association. So I looked at the numbers and based on what I could find out, if we increased by 15%, of where we are now, we would not have to increase any money.

So in the Czech Republic, can you increase by 15%? Probably. I don't know. In Canada, we sure can. In the United States, only less than 50% of PTS are members of the association.

That's where I see the global body being a resource center, being a, a coach being whatever, not doing it but helping like providing that support and then you know, creating a pathway to make it happen. I really don't think we should be raising these subscriptions.


What are you interested in physiotherapy field?

The most of what I have done is humanitarian aid. So I'm a PT, an emergency responder. I worked in the war in Bosnia, all parts of the former Yugoslavia, Guatemala, etc. I've responded to natural disasters in Haiti in Nepal all over the place. So I've had a career in professional sports as a PT US Ski team, Pro hockey and then over here in terms of humanitarian aid. I'm not that good for normal day-to-day practice, so you could see I enjoy the adrenaline on both sides.



Do you know where is the Czech Republic?

Do I know where the Czech Republic is? (laugh) Yeah, I know I used to drive through the Czech Republic because when I was in Bosnia, oftentimes we had to get to Copenhagen to get to Canadian embassies to get the visas. So yeah, I know. Also, Canadians know Czechs from hockey battles.



And last question, do you know who won an ice hockey in Winter Olympic Games in Nagano? 

Yeah, that´s Czech Republic. (laugh)