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World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centres are institutions designated by the Director-General of WHO that form a part of an international collaborative network carrying out activities in support of the Organization’s programmes in countries, regions and at headquarters.

Currently there are over 700 WHO Collaborating Centres in over 80 Member States working with WHO on areas such as nursing, occupational health, communicable diseases, nutrition, mental health, chronic disease and health technologies.

Of these centres, collaborating centres for rehabilitation are run by 24 organizations in nine countries across the globe (as of 2022). In the Western Pacific Region, designated centres are in Japan (1), China (5), Hong Kong (1), Australia (1), and Korea (1).

The National Rehabilitation Center is one of them. In January 2017, it became the first designated collaborating centre for rehabilitation in Korea, receiving recognition for its international-level rehabilitation technologies and personnel as well as its previous achievements in collaboration with WHO.

Designation period

January 12, 2021 – January 12, 2025 (Four years, re-designation after evaluation)

Organizational chart

  • Head of Centre: President of National Rehabilitation Center
  • Responsible Department: Rehabilitation Hospital, Department of Community Reintegration Service

Terms of Reference (TOR) and Work Plan


To assist WHO in supporting identified countries in the region to implement strategic plan for strengthening health systems to better deliver rehabilitation

  • 1Capacity building on rehabilitation in health systems and strengthening service quality in identified countries in the region
    • Development of country profiles and investigation of the need assessments that aim for strengthening provision of medical rehabilitation services in selected countries in the WPR
    • Design and conduct capacity building activities to support selected national/tertiary hospital and to strengthen medical rehabilitation services

To assist WHO in providing technical support to strengthen health information system in Member States to include disability, functioning datasets and the utilization of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF)

  • 1Practical application of functioning tools and classification system derived from WHO
    • Investigation of studies on how: (a) functioning classification can be practically applied in the Korean health system and (b) development of the descriptions of ICD-11’s functioning properties in Korean
    • Continuation of conducting the cross-country research in cooperation with WPRO cooperation with WPRO countries using the InSCI data
  • 2Support WHO in the provision of international workshops/seminars on rehabilitation disability
    • Support WHO in the organization and hosting of international seminars or workshops to disseminate the rehabilitation module for DHIS 2 and other rehabilitation and disability tools being developed by WHO

To support WHO’s efforts for the implementation of the Western Pacific Regional Framework on Rehabilitation through training of rehabilitation workforce

  • 1Informing WHO’s work with other countries to strengthen rehabilitation related human resource capacity and to provide technical support formulating disability
    • Provision of upskilling of rehabilitation and health workforce in the region through training and practical hands on workshops in the situation
    • Provision of follow-up and onsite mentorship to trainees upon their return to their countries

History and Major Activities

  • 2012
    • Oct 2012 Proposal of the WHO collaborating centre
  • 2013
    • Mar 2013 Consultation on cooperative activities as the collaborating centre with WHO
  • 2014-2015
    • Activities before the designation of the WHO collaborating centre (2 years)
      • Participation in the establishment of the Rehabilitation Guidelines and case study reports, etc.
      • Assistive technology
      • Contribution through participation in international rehabilitation programs including CBR, etc.
      • Participation in Disability Data
  • 2017
    • Jan 2017 Designation as WHO collaborating centre for Rehabilitation
    • Jan 2017 Conducting of the International Spinal Cord Injury Survey (InSCI)
    • Jul 2017 Publication of the translated version of the Wheelchair Service Training Package: Intermediate Level
    • Jul 2017 Publication of the translated version of Rehabilitation in Health Systems
  • 2018
    • Apr 2018 Pilot study for the WHO Model Disability Survey (to November 2018)
    • Sep 2018 2018 Rehabilitation forum in cooperation with WHO
    • Nov 2018 Spinal cord injury rehabilitation workshop in Cambodia (Battambang, Cambodia)
  • 2019
    • Jan 2019 Study on cooperation on rehabilitation medicine in Korea Peninsula (to December 2019)
    • Apr 2019 Study on the application of WHO’s health classification tools (WHODAS, MDS, Generic set)(to November 2019)
    • Jul 2019 Dr. LEE Jong-wook Fellowship Program for Cambodia rehabilitation workforces (to November 2019)
    • Sep 2019 2019 Rehabilitation forum in cooperation with WHO
    • Nov 2019 Rehabilitation Workforce Capacity Building Workshop for Cambodia rehabilitation professionals(Phnom Penh, Cambodia)
  • 2020
    • Jan 2020 Comparative analysis and research of health and medical terminologies in the areas of disability and rehabilitation between the two Koreas (to December 2020)
    • Jan 2020 Comparative analysis among countries in the western Pacific region of spinal cord injury databases (to December 2020)
    • Jan 2020 Research on clinical application of ICD-11 functioning properties (to December 2020)
  • 2021
    • Jan 2021 Participating in the WHO Collaborating Centres Rehabilitation and Disability Virtual Meeting
    • Feb 2021 Participating in the Rehabilitation during COVID-19 held by National Rehabilitation Center of Japan
    • Aug 2021 Dr. LEE Jong-wook Fellowship Program for Cambodia rehabilitation workforces (to December 2021)
    • Aug 2021 Participating in the GAATO (Global Alliance of Assistive Technology Organizations) Grand Challenge 2021
    • Sep 2021 Development of Education Training Tools for International Cooperation (to Jan 2022)
    • Sep 2021 Participating in WHO Rehabilitation 2030: Rehabilitation Financing Technical Consultation Meeting
    • Oct 2021 NRC International Seminar on Functioning & Rehabilitation (Seoul, Lotte Hotel)
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