I completed my BPhty Hons at The National University of Colombia in 2000. My interest in the arts, especially dance, inspired me to modify the LABAN Dance Program (MODERN EDUCATIONAL DANCE) and use it as a tool for motor development in children between the ages of 7-9 years which became my honours project. Implemented in one of the poorest and most violent areas of Bogota, Colombia, one of the world’s largest mega-slums called Ciudad Bolivar, this project was able to improve not only the motor development but also improve both cognitive and social skills of the children living there. With its success, I wanted to take the program further and implement it on a larger scale, however, after contacting UNICEF and other government entities, I couldn’t find any support. The social programs in Colombia are mainly directed to cover ‘basic needs’ food and accommodation. So, I took several courses about community, both locally (Universidad Javeriana) and internationally (The Johns Hopkins University) where I recognised that regardless of whether outsiders view a community as poor or neglected, it is possible to find strength and the capacity for improvement within every community. I learned that identifying community capacities and resources is the first step in facilitating community change and that to be successful, community participation in the design, implementation, and evaluation of any intervention is critical. This is what I have tried to translate constantly into my clinical practice and teaching.
I worked for over 10 years in clinical practice and research in Colombia, before moving to Australia to continue postgraduate studies in 2010. I had an accident in 2012 where I was diagnosed with Whiplash/fibromyalgia. I tried everything as a physiotherapist, to manage my condition but unfortunately, it continued to deteriorate my health for over two years. I decided to try contemplative practices (Meditation and Tibetan retreats) and to my surprise, they helped enormously. In 2015, I had fully recovered, thanks to the combination of physiotherapy and contemplative practices that significantly improved both my physical and mental wellbeing back to full health. Therefore, I started my Ph.D. with a project called: An Investigation of Physiotherapists Delivered Psychological Interventions for Musculoskeletal Pain Conditions- Reassurance for Neck Pain and WAD conditions which I am currently completing and teaching Evidence-Based Practice at Griffith University. I became a mother in April and I am enjoying spending time with my baby son.
Being a volunteer has been a part of my life. I have offered my time and skills in community programs in Colombia (i.e. Organising holiday trips for children with cerebral palsy that gives a deserved day-off to their careers), USA (Thubten Chondron organisation) and here in Australia (Permablitz, and Culture Free of Gender Violence).
Relevant critical publications:
Alma Viviana Silva Guerrero, Annick Maujean, Letitia Campbell, Michele Sterling. A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effectiveness of psychological interventions delivered by physiotherapists on pain, disability and psychological outcomes in musculoskeletal pain conditions. Clinical Journal of Pain March 2018. Link
Dance as a Promotional Tool for Motor Development in Children Between 7-9. The Journal of the Colombian Physiotherapy Association 2003. Link
Dance as a Promotional Tool for Motor Development in Children Between 7-9. (thesis) 1st Class Honours, Colombian National University 2000.
The Physiotherapist as Project Development Manager. Journal of the Colombian National University. Area of In-depth Study of Development Kinesiology 1999. Link
The impact of neoliberal ideology on physiotherapy practice- A Colombian physiotherapist’s experience. World Confederation for Physical Therapy Congress 2017 (Focused Symposium) Critical Physiotherapy.
Location: Gold Coast, Australia. Originally from Bogota, Colombia
Current position(s): PhD Candidate at The University of Queensland/ Sessional Academic/Tutor at Griffith University.
Links: Twitter: Almavivi1