The annual celebration of World Spine Day (WSD) has once again found its way back to International Medical University (IMU). It took place on 18 and 19 October 2016. Celebrated universally on 16 October annually since the year 2010, WSD is briefly a themed-event collaboration between organisations around the world with a primary objective of raising awareness on the prevention and the effective management of spinal health. In 2016, the celebrated theme was “Straighten Up and Move”. This year, the student organisers from the chiropractic programme had shaken up the celebration a bit by increasing not only the number events but also the level of awareness in order to live up to the original objective of the event by holding WSD-related events outside of the university campus. The preparation processes were clearly seen via the fundraising events around the university which included foodstuff as well as self-designed t-shirt sales. These sales received much attention from both the student body and the university staff. Besides fundraising, prior to any of the events plans, a number of social media accounts were set up as a communicative bridge between the organisers and the targeted audience which reached a total over 500 followers. Various event details and promotional advertisements along with many informative graphical content were delivered via social media, taking into account the growing influence of social media on today’s generation. Furthermore, the preparation of decorations was equally appreciated by all as students were noticed staying on campus after class to gather and complete the decorative items. The effort put in was not in vain as the decorations throughout the main event received innumerable compliments. As early as middle of September, IMU WSD 2016 celebrations kick-started with an educational community project held at the Dignity for Children (DFC) Sentul, Kuala Lumpur, supported by IMU Cares. Mainly refugee children and the urban poor from ages 10 to 14 years were involved in the event whereby they were made aware of the importance of spinal health maintenance from a young age. Talks were delivered, fun activities such as aerobics took place and free spinal screenings, were given to all students who participated. As the dates of the main event were approaching, an event known as the Powerlifting and Fitness Challenge Competition was held between 5 and 7 October 2016 and in conjunction with the university’s annual sports event: IMU Cup 2016. This event mainly aims to encourage people to exercise and promote the concepts of staying fit and healthy as part of their everyday life. This event included many timed exercises composed of different fitness aspects, namely, strength, agility and endurance. Over 400 participants competed for their houses under categories based on weight, gender and student-or-staff status. It was also noted that the participants were given notice much earlier and had begun practices as well as exercise routines at least a month earlier as preparation for the stated event.
A participant of the Fitness Challenge Competition, Ding Wei Kang from the Dentistry programme said “It was indeed a challenging competition but it has motivated me to practice a more active lifestyle.”
Decorations and informational posters were located all throughout the campus grounds to grasp attention from the university community. These included a gigantic spine hung across the atrium, handmade stickers of calorie-count pasted on various staircases around IMU, posters on steps to achieve a healthy spine, and three giant Papier Mache vertebrae as the centre pieces of the decorations. Our custom made t-shirt and notebook sales continued throughout the event as the level of demand continued to rise, especially among the students. At a special area in IMU’s atrium, free spinal screening services were also provided during the main event to students, staff, and external visitors. Participants underwent postural analysis and GALS assessment which are mainly done by chiropractic students from Semesters 1 to 6. These assessments are used to detect any postural or locomotor abnormalities and functional disability in a patient. Their outcomes were then recorded in a Chiropractic Examination form and were brought over to the consultation table for evaluation and advice based on their conditions. The consultation booth was manned by final year Semester 8 chiropractic students whom had underwent a year of clinical internship at various IMU clinics. The spinal screening services provided raised awareness among those who participated about their neuromusculoskeletal conditions. At the end of the event, we are delighted to have about 300 participants visiting the spinal screening booths. Making IMU WSD to live up to this year’s theme of “Straighten Up and Move”, booths of various games and other fun activities such as a yoga challenge, force place thrust exercises as well as ‘Insanity Challenge’ aerobics were set up with the sole purpose of raising awareness in leading a healthy and active lifestyle. Moreover, these activities are carried out with the intention of introducing the Chiropractic profession to many others. To top it off, a closing ceremony was held to provide this year’s celebration with a momentous ending. Surprise, surprise. A flash mob took place with the WSD committee members wearing the gigantic spinal structures that was hung across the atrium just moments before the flash mob begun. Soon after, a prize-giving ceremony was presented for all winners of the competitions that occurred throughout the WSD celebration. These competitions include the ‘Thrusting Competition’, the ‘Hand-Grip Challenge’ and the WSD photography competition. To end this year’s WSD, a charitable representative from Damai Disabled Person Association Malaysia, was invited to receive a mock cheque of RM1,000 as a donation from the WSD funds. This organisation aims to assist and rehabilitate, both mentally and physically disabled Malaysians to return into society. As said, the aim of the organisation aligns with the objectives of WSD 2016 in terms of chiropractic rehabilitation and wellness care. Hopes expressed by the students is to have this tradition celebrated in the future years and that more people will be educated of the spinal health in any way possible. In short, WSD 2016 is a great success with many thanks to all students and staff who were involved either directly in planning or indirectly by participating in the organised events. More photos from IMU Editorial Board
Written by: Magdalene Khoo Cheng Mun and edited by: Sharvinpal Kaur A/P Charanpal Singh and Yeap En Leon