International Exchange Committee (IEC)

The ISPRM International Exchange Committee (IEC) serves as a central clearing house for unique educational and learning opportunities in Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, across all continents.

The primary functions and responsibilities of the Committee:

Learn more about the IEC

The ISPRM International Exchange Committee (IEC) serves primarily as a central clearinghouse for international educational and humanitarian opportunities in Physical & Rehabilitation Medicine by placing medical students, residents, faculty physicians and allied rehabilitation professionals in global voluntary didactic and public service rotations. To coordinate its initiatives, the International Exchange Committee interfaces with other rehabilitation organizations, as well as relevant ISPRM committees, and shares information about global PRM educational opportunities with ISPRM members.


The IEC, previously known as Faculty-Student Exchange Committee, was established in 2002 due to the recognition of then President John Melvin (USA) and President-elect Haim Ring (Israel) that promoting international education was a logical extension of the ISPRM’s mission to spread rehabilitation expertise globally. With the encouragement of the ISPRM Board, the new committee was appointed with physiatrists Peter Disler (Australia), Luigi Tessio (Italy) and Mark Young (USA) as its founding leaders. The committee was inspired by luminaries within the specialty who envisioned a global educational agenda including Dr. Herman Flax, Dr. Mathew Lee and many of the current senior members of the ISPRM.

The committee’s first chair was Australian Peter Disler who was succeeded by Dr. Mark Young. The IEC subsequently saw significant expansion with a substantive increase in the number of placements across all continents. Many new academic institutions agreed to serve as hosts and as sponsors. In response to several different global humanitarian disasters and crises, the IEC dedicated itself to relief work under the humanitarian banner “operation functional recovery” which sponsored activities during several international crises including hurricane Katrina and the severe earthquake in China. The committee’s current chair is Dr. Bryan O’Young.

In the past, many of the efforts for international placements for ISPRM, particularly placements to the US, came from dedicated ISPRM members such as Dr. John Melvin, Dr. Joel DeLisa, Dr. Martin Grabois, Dr. Andrew Haig, Dr. Mark Young, and Dr. Bryan O’Young. To further expand the efforts of IEC, there is a need for increased international collaboration among the different institutions throughout the world. As important as individual efforts are in international education and humanitarian rotations, there is no replacement for a systematized institutional/organizational effort in making international education and humanitarian rotations possible. The chair of the IEC, Dr. Bryan O’Young, understood this need and formalized the international exchange program within the IEC whereby people from around the globe who are interested in international education and humanitarian rotations can access a website to locate a suitable host institution.

To make this possible, the world has been divided into 3 different regions: North and South America, Europe/Africa, and Asia/Oceania. Dr. O’Young has appointed 3 continental directors, Dr. Sam Wu for North and South America Dr. Amparo Assucena for Europe/Africa, and Dr. Dongfeng Huang for Asia/Oceania.

A survey was created in 2012 by the IEC to obtain characteristics from institutions which to date amounted to over 60 institutions from all 3 regions of the world.

Participating facilities

Committee members

Committee Members