Keynote Speaker

Professor Quinette Louw

Professor Quinette LouwWe are pleased to announce Professor Quinette Louw as a keynote speaker for our 2017 Allied Health Conference. With a background in evidence-based healthcare, musculoskeletal health, and utilising the scientific and clinical evidence to promote health and improve human functionality within a trans-disciplinary context, Professor Louw will be a welcomed presenter at our conference.

Professor Louw was appointed the inaugural Professor of Physiotherapy at Stellenbosch University, at age 35. She is a leading African researcher in health sciences, and is the only African researcher invited to be part of an international working group for a special series of articles for the Lancet on Low Back Pain. She has forged a unique partnership with German bio-mechanists, and force plate & camera designers, by trialling their pre-market prototypes in her lab. This is particularly unique due to her patient population – these trials utilise specific South African populations of patients with complex rehabilitation needs, including people living with chronic HIV/AIDS who have had strokes, or people who have had multiple limbs amputated from traffic accidences or township violence, or children born with foetal alcohol syndrome. She has also used her lab and her industry connections to develop and trial an inexpensive adjustable computer chair for high school students, which is made from recycled materials. There is significant industry interest in setting up pop-up chair manufacturing centres in areas where unemployment is high. This chair will replace the similarly-priced plastic garden furniture that many of the schools in poor areas are currently using, improving musculoskeletal health for teens alongside providing jobs to a disadvantaged area. Professor Louw has been involved in multiple produce developments through her research, including the development of a tool for Adolescent Spinal Health: a portable, 3D measurement posture tool which offers the opportunity to conduct measurement in real life settings, closing the gap between reality and research, which was used to assist in the development of the adjustable computer chair.

A well accomplished writer, having produced 110 publications which were cited 750 times (Scopus analysis; H-Index 15), and supervisor, having successfully graduated 70 postgraduates from South Africa, Nigeria, Malawi, Rwanda, Egypt, Germany, Netherlands, Zambia, Ireland, United Arab Emirates, Syria, UK, USA, Israel and Palestine, Professor Louw will also be hosting a pre-conference writing workshop. This workshop, co-hosted by Professor Karen Grimmer of the University of South Australia, will provide students and early career researchers with guidance on writing for publication, followed by a hands on writing retreat which will offer one-on-one writing advice for works in progress (places limited; registration for workshops to open in September; conditions apply). To see more, please go to our workshops page.


Global Challenges Facing Allied Health.

Allied healthcare face complex, global challenges, while resources are dwindling. The World Health Organisation (WHO) acknowledges the epidemiological transitioning towards non-communicable diseases diabetes, stroke, cancer and also mental health conditions globally.  In addition to an aging world, the effect is an increased number of people living with chronic disease and disability.  It is clear that health systems can no longer rely on only curative and basic prevention strategies. Therefore the WHO now proclaims rehabilitation as the key health strategy for the 21st century. However, to date, allied health have not made sufficient progress to include rehabilitation as an essential service into health systems. In addition the allied health workforce remain insufficient to meet rehabilitation needs. In many low and middle-income regions, there is only one allied health worker for every one million people. Visionary rehabilitation leaders must drive innovations in allied health service delivery, education and research to realise rehabilitation as the key health strategy.

This presentation focus on allied health research within the complex global health environment. Five key allied health research challenges will be presented and discussed. These include the need to redefine the starting point for allied health research, building a critical mass which can respond coherently to key societal challenges, the challenge to develop innovative approaches and solutions specifically for the allied health context, the importance of showing the value of rehabilitation and the long term goal to impact society at large. These five global challenges are interlinked and complementary. These allied health research challenges require bold, futuristic thinking from research leaders, mentors and graduates. Allied health research leaders must have the ability to advocate, act as knowledge brokers and must have the political know-how to network with a diverse set of stakeholders to affirm rehabilitation as the key health strategy for the 21st century globally. 

Areas of study and research

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