Mangaluru, Sep 27: On September 27, 2023, a new chapter in the history of FMCI and Mangalore was written as Father Muller College of Physiotherapy (FMCP) emerged as a vibrant and dynamic college, separate from its parent institution. The Director of FMCI, Fr Richard Aloysius Coelho, along with the institution's management body, advisory body, faculty, staff, and students, inaugurated the new college. The baton of leadership for the new college, along with the appointment of its first principal, Prof Cherishma D’Silva, was officially handed over during the ceremony. Fr Ajith B Menezes, Administrator of Father Muller Medical College (FMMC) and Father Muller College of Allied Health Sciences (FMCOAHS), will also assume the role of the new college's Administrator.
The journey of physiotherapy at Father Muller's began on July 15, 1967, with the blessing of the then director, the late Fr Marian Fernandes. It was initiated through the joint efforts of Francis Fernandes and Sr Odillia M Jacob, a rehabilitation nurse. Recognizing the significance of physiotherapy in patient care, the institution sent Sr Leenus Rodrigues for a Bachelor's Degree in 1991. This marked the inception of the Bachelor of Physiotherapy (BPT) course under Mangalore University in 1994, with an initial intake of 40 students. In 1996, a significant milestone was achieved when the BPT course, along with other medical programs, received affiliation from the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences. By February 2002, the Department of Physiotherapy had established two well-equipped outpatient and inpatient sectors.
Dr B Sanjeev Rai, the former Dean of FMMC, foresaw the growing need for physiotherapy and initiated the Master's in Physiotherapy program in 2005, offering five postgraduate seats in specialties like Musculoskeletal, Cardiovascular Sciences, Neurosciences, and Pediatric Physiotherapy. In 2007, the number of seats increased to 10 and later to 20. In 2019, under the leadership of the present Director, Fr Richard Aloysius Coelho, Administrator Fr Ajith B Menezes, and former Dean Dr JP Alva, the institution expanded the undergraduate seat intake from 40 to 60.
Recently, the Physiotherapy College has strengthened its international collaborations with THIM Universities in the Netherlands and Switzerland, as well as Hekim University in Turkey.
Prof Cherishma D'Silva, the new principal of FMCP, delivered her maiden speech, emphasizing the importance of divine timing in one's journey. Her nearly 20-year journey, from being a student in Father Muller College's Physiotherapy department to becoming its principal, was made possible with the support of her mentors and colleagues.
Fr Richard Aloysius Coelho, in his presidential address, expressed his delight at witnessing the establishment of a new college, acknowledging the tremendous support of students who aspired for its creation. He encouraged the college to excel not only in academics but also in co-curricular activities, highlighting the importance of showing respect to loved ones, a trait he commended in the new principal.
Prof Cherishma D'Silva, who holds a Bachelor's in Physiotherapy from Father Muller Medical College Mangalore (2007-2008), a Master's in Cardio Respiratory Physiotherapy from Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE, 2009-2010), and is pursuing her Doctorate at NITTE University India, was introduced as the new principal. She is an active member of the Postgraduate Board of Studies, Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Bengaluru, and serves as the District Coordinator of the Indian Association of Physiotherapy Women Cell. Prof Cherishma has participated in numerous national and international conferences, workshops, and webinars. She has also been actively involved in the Mangalore Ladies Circle 82, a charitable organization, and is married to Sandeep Aaron D'Silva, HR manager of Infosys Technologies Limited, with a son named Master Cahill Moses D'Silva.
The welcome address was delivered by Kesiya Pinto, a final-year postgraduate student. The vote of thanks and emceeing were conducted by Jonica Johni, a postgraduate student.