University of Applied Sciences FH JOANNEUM

Faculty Name



Institute for Physiotherapy, Institute of Health Care and Nursing

Our university

Our University is only 25 years old, but it keeps a traditional spirit starting with its Name. FH Joanneum was named after Archduke Johann of Austria (1782-1859), who was one of the most innovative figures of that time and who made a number of innovations, many of which still impact our life here in Styria. In line with this spirit FHJ offers students to “study their dreams” in a broad spectrum of modern educational programs- from engineering, over media & design, to health studies. The practice-specific courses are designed with a view to meeting current international, social and technological challenges, with special attention to interdisciplinary collaboration.                       

The Department of Health Studies combines a client-oriented approach with innovative research. The bachelor’s degree program “Physiotherapy” is provided as a full-time program with 180 ECTS, for 6 semesters. The bachelor’s degree program “Health Care and Nursing” was established in 2016. It provides modern nursing education through tertiary education and a comprehensive curriculum. Nearly 300 Graduates in Nursing per year are qualified for their advanced roles in health care, allowing them to care for patients in various settings. A high priority in both departments is given to research activities which enable adapting to the changing dynamics in society, technology and health care. Research areas are related to evidence-based innovative diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, health services, and innovative training concepts for therapy-, health promotion- and prevention- and patient education strategies.

Our team

Dr. Monica Christova

Assoc. Professor

Based on my background in physiotherapy and neurosciences, I’m currently involved in teaching (human physiology, neurorehabilitation) and research at FHJ and at the Medical University of Graz. My scientific interests are in the field of brain assessment techniques, noninvasive brain stimulation, sensorimotor integration and motor control. In education and science, I believe in the small continuous efforts which not always bring result but which certainly move us forward.

Johanna Fuchs

I started working in 2009 at FH JOANNEUM and I am responsible for the office management for the degree programme Physiotherapy. Within the Project I am involved in management and coordination, as well as in the preparation of financial reports.

Birgit Jocham


I am appointed as a Lecturer at the Institute of Physiotherapy at University of Applied Science FH JOANNEUM Graz. I am a physiotherapist with a master's degree in Health Assisting Engineering. I am engaged in teaching and research in the field of technology in the therapeutic setting. My research field is focused on the user integration in the early stages of the development process of new technologies and health literacy.

Hannes Aftenberger

Senior Lecturer

I am a physiotherapist and I have been involved in teaching at FH-Joanneum for more than 13 years. I have a master`s degree in neurorehabilitation and also work as a self-employed physiotherapist in this field. I am involved in research and educational projects related to neurorehabilitation. It is important to me that patients participate in the rehabilitation process in a self-determined way and I transfer this message to the students in my lectures.

Sabine Eichler

English lecturer and International Coordinator Department Physiotherapy

I have been teaching English at the physiotherapy and nursing department since 2008 focusing on patient communication and preparing students for evidence-based practice by teaching them how to read and critically appraise scientific studies in English. Additionally, I organize international exchange of students and lecturers in my capacity as the international coordinator.

Christoph Palli


I have been employed as university lecturer at the Institute for Health and Nursing, FHJ since 2018. I obtained initially my bachelor's and master's degree in Nursing Science. Working as an Advanced Practice Nurse at the University Hospital Graz, I focused on "Care for stroke and dysphagia." Currently, I am pursuing my Ph.D. in Nursing Science at the Tyrolean Private University since October 2021, with a research emphasis on dementia and dysphagia.

Julia Pechmann


As a trained nurse, my background lies in long-term care and rehabilitation. Additionally, I completed my Bachelor's degree in Nursing Science and my Master's degree in Health Promotion and Employability. Since 2022, I have been working as a university lecturer at the Institute for Health and Nursing.