At Shriners Hospitals for Children, the health and safety of our patients, families, volunteers and staff is our top priority. With the evolving situation regarding COVID-19, we are closely monitoring updates from local health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and are actively following their recommendations.

If your child has an upcoming appointment, please contact your local Shriners Hospitals for Children location.

What to expect at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Salt Lake City.

Skip to navigation

What we're up to

news News Friday, May 15, 2020 Friday, May 15, 2020 3:48 PM - Friday, May 15, 2020 3:48 PM

Amy Shuckra finds inspiration from bright and enthusiastic medical providers in Sri Lanka

Amy Shuckra finds inspiration from bright and enthusiastic medical providers in Sri Lanka

Shriners Hospitals for Children — Salt Lake City physical therapist Amy Shuckra, D.P.T., was part of an historic trip to Sri Lanka last September. Organized by University of New Mexico and University of Colombo under a joint National Institutes of Health grant, the mission was to provide education and assistance in conducting research. The travel team included professionals from the pediatric neurology, infectious disease, and occupational and physical therapy departments. The one-week trip included stops in three regions, hitting the cities of Kandy, Galle and Colombo with the intention of connecting with professionals in their respective specialties.

“We were greeted graciously at each hospital with eager-to-learn staff and lovely patients and families,” said Shuckra. When the U.S.-based group arrived at each location, they presented educational lectures and conducted clinic visits to evaluate local knowledge, and assisted with patient care. After a week of collaborating with the local health care providers, the trip concluded with joint presentations from the United States team and Sri Lankan experts at the country’s first international conference for physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech-language pathology.

“Sri Lanka is a very welcoming country with bright and enthusiastic medical practitioners,” said Shuckra. “Though they are very limited on resources, they are an inventive group that shares the united goal of helping children with disabilities.”

As the physical therapist and researcher reflected on her time in Sri Lanka, Shuckra said the most memorable moment was giving a shared lecture with an orthotist from Sri Lanka on orthotic devices. During her time there, she noticed that many of the locals perceived the U.S. visitors as experts in the medical field. But Shuckra recognized right away that the expertise offered by this orthotist was on par with what you could find in the health care system in the United States. “It is unique to get to talk about a shared vision for treating kids with disabilities with someone from the other side of the world,” said Shuckra.

Shuckra, who works in the motion analysis center at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Salt Lake City, is often a part of the beginning of a family’s journey with a child with a disability. She sees first-hand the importance of early intervention from trained professionals.

This collaboration with Sri Lanka began a few years ago when University of New Mexico neurologist and longtime friend and colleague of Shuckra’s, John Phillips, M.D., took a six-month sabbatical to Sri Lanka and recognized the opportunity to connect with the medical professionals in the country with more resources.

Shuckra plans to continue to be a part of this collaboration, though travel restrictions may prevent a trip again soon. Technology allows her to stay connected. She is currently mentoring a couple of Ph.D. students from Sri Lanka remotely and provides the pediatric physical therapy group with ongoing presentations electronically. “We are trying to find ways to make a more solid and funded long-term collaboration,” said Shuckra, “with the goal of improving education of the health care practitioners who care for children with disabilities.”

Amy Shuckra in Sri LankaAmy Shuckra with two other physicians