Head of Section

Joost Van Wijchen

Field of work

As the Head of the Physiotherapy Bachelor's Program at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL), I navigate the roles of educator, leader, and clinician. My professional journey has taken me from specializing in manual therapy and sports physiotherapy to a deep commitment to migration health. I value a pragmatic approach to education, where I strive to meaningfully connect theory and practice.

Throughout my career, I have developed educational methods that not only encourage critical thinking and participation but also reflect my belief in the value of hope and innovation as drivers for change. This perspective informs my work across all roles, from teaching philosophy to management practices and clinical efforts, guiding me in the search for creative solutions to complex health challenges.

I am dedicated to integrating sustainability into health education, a commitment shaped by my role as an Executive Board Member of the Environmental Physiotherapy Association and as a member of the Education Committee of World Physiotherapy. These positions allow me to contribute globally to the field and underscore the importance of a global perspective on physiotherapy education.

Furthermore, I also serve as the FHS contact for HVL Skape, a role that enables me to bridge academic knowledge and societal needs. My philosophical approach, inspired by both theorists and practical experience, guides me in navigating the ever-changing landscape of healthcare and education.

As an academic and practitioner always in pursuit of new knowledge, I am dedicated to exploring and conveying insights that promote equality, justice, and inclusion. My vision is clear: to develop health education that not only meets today's challenges but also inspires hope and action for a fair and sustainable future for all.


Courses taught

My teaching philosophy centers on inspiring students to explore key areas crucial to physiotherapy and healthcare services, including:

  • Intercultural Sensitivity, Equity, and Justice: Highlights the importance of cultural understanding in healthcare.
  • Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy: Delves into both theoretical and practical aspects to manage physical disorders.
  • Clinical and Critical Reasoning: Encourages the development of clinical reasoning skills with a philosophical approach.
  • Health Models: Provides a comprehensive understanding of health through theory and practice.
  • Interprofessional Collaboration: Emphasizes the value of teamwork in patient care.
  • Innovation and Creativity: Inspires creative thinking and innovation in physiotherapy.
  • Future Orientation: Prepares students for the future of healthcare with an adaptable approach.
  • Digital Health: Integrates digital health into the curriculum to enhance patient care.
  • Pain Education with Patients: Focuses on the role of education in pain management.

This interdisciplinary focus prepares students to face current and future challenges in healthcare with competence, compassion, and innovation.

Research areas

My research intersects physiotherapy, health education, and sustainable health practices, emphasizing social justice and planetary health. I investigate assessment as a learning tool, enhancing students' understanding and engagement. Focusing on sustainable health, I explore physiotherapy's role in addressing health challenges while respecting environmental limits, including incorporating planetary health principles into practice and education. My work in health and higher education pedagogy aims at active learning and critical thinking, preparing students for healthcare's complex challenges. Particularly, I research digital health's impact on learning and patient care. My goal is to push the boundaries of known knowledge, challenge existing paradigms, and advocate for a more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable approach to health education and practice.

Research groups


  • Pain education for patients

    Belton, Joletta, Van Wijchen, Joost (2023)
  • "Evighetsmennesket" – hvilke etiske utfordringer må vi forberede oss på?

    Eriksen, Annelin, Engen, Caroline Benedicte Nitter, Van Wijchen, Joost (2023)
  • Three critical issues for use of microcredentials in education and training of health and social care professionals: A scoping review

    Jalovcic, Djenana, Van Wijchen, Joost, Romero Mas, Montse, Van de Haar, Hanneke, McGowan, Emer (2023)
  • Micro-credentials in education and training of health professionals: A scoping review

    Jalovcic, Djenana, Van Wijchen, Joost, Van den Harr, Hanneke, Quinn, Sarah, McGowan, Emer (2023)
  • A Pedagogical Approach for an Equitable Online Learning Ecosystem: Health Equity through Education Project

    Jalovcic, Djenana, Van Wijchen, Joost, Wikström-Grotell, Camilla, Alme, Maria Nordheim (2023)
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