Speakers Profiles

Professor Catherine Dean

Professor Catherine Dean is a researcher and educator in neurological physiotherapy. In May 2011 she joined Macquarie University as the inaugural Director and Head of the Physiotherapy Program.

Previously Professor Dean had worked as an academic with teaching, administrative and research responsibilities at the University of Sydney since 1991. Her research interests are developing and testing of rehabilitation strategies to increase activity and participation after stroke, translating evidence into practice and clinical education.

She has over 60 publications, two with over 200 citations and over $3.5 million in grants for research and education. Professor Catherine Dean’s research has changed physiotherapy practice in stroke rehabilitation. It has expanded both the theoretical and evidence bases for stroke rehabilitation. Her doctoral work challenged the long held view of the importance of trunk rehabilitation in improving sitting balance after stroke.

She undertook biomechanical studies to identify the characteristics of seated reaching tasks and the changes that occur after stroke. She demonstrated that the lower limbs actively contribute to balance in sitting, and that this contribution is impaired after stroke. Professor Dean then used that evidence to develop a training protocol that was subsequently tested in a clinical trial. The trial results were published in the prestigious journal Stroke and was the first randomised controlled trial of physiotherapy intervention to be published in that journal. This paper changed clinical practice and has been cited over 200 times.

During her post-doctoral fellowship at Laval University, she was the first to describe the benefits of circuit classes to improve walking after stroke. This research was published in the leading rehabilitation journal Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and has been cited 275 times. This work continues to have impact on current research in this area.

Further, the circuit class intervention has now been translated into practice in both adult and paediatric rehabilitation settings throughout Australia. Professor Dean’s research findings have been integrated into national and international clinical practice guidelines, such as the NHMRC-approved 2010 Clinical Guidelines on the Management of Stroke and featured on the Canadian Stroke Network StrokeEngine site. More recent research findings, which have changed neurological physiotherapy practice and education are:

  • Discovering that the ability to climb stairs is the best predictor of physical activity after stroke; and
  • Demonstrating that weight-bearing exercise classes delivered in stroke clubs enhances mobility and can prevent falls in faster walkers in community dwelling people after stroke; and
  • Establishing that for those unable to walk after stroke, treadmill walking with body weight support facilitates walking and improves walking capacity 6 months after stroke; and
  • Showing that a program of treadmill training and overground walking delivered in a community setting improves walking capacity after stroke in the AMBULATE trial
Rolf B. Gainer, PhD, Brookhaven Hospital, Tulsa

Rolf Gainer is the founder and chief executive officer of the Neurologic Rehabilitation Institute of Ontario (Canada), and serves as the chief executive officer at Brookhaven Hospital, as well as the vice president of Rehabilitation Institutes of America. Dr. Gainer has been involved in the design and operation of brain injury rehabilitation and treatment programs since 1978. He has a PhD in clinical psychology from Union University and a MEd in counselling psychology from Antioch University. He has published numerous articles on brain injury rehabilitation and mental health topics, and is involved in three outcome research projects related to social role return.

Professor David Benatar

David Benatar is Professor and Head of the Philosophy Department and Director of the Bioethics Centre at the University of Cape Town. His books include Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence (Oxford 2006) and The Second Sexism: Discrimination Against Men and Boys (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012).

Dr Greg Jonsson MBCHB DMH(SA) FCPsych(SA) MMED (Psych)

A motivated psychiatrist dedicated to treating and advocating for mentally ill patients with HIV. A pioneer in the establishment of Luthando Neuropsychiatric HIV Clinic at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital where psychiatrists initiate antiretroviral therapy to mentally ill patients and are committed to their follow up both medically and psychiatrically.

He currently heads up the Luthando Neuropsychiatric HIV unit at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. The unit was started in 2008 to treat mentally ill patients with HIV/AIDS. The clinic comprises of a multidisciplinary team, who initiate ART and follow up patients from both a psychiatric and medical and infectious diseases point of view.

Greg is enrolled at Wits to do his PhD HIV Neuro-cognitive disorders, genetics and Psychiatry

Professor Laura L. Murray Ph.D.,CCC-SLP

Laura L. Murray, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, is a Full Professor in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, and Cognitive Science and Neuroscience Programs at Indiana University, and a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on acquired neurogenic cognitive and communication disorders. Her contributions include over 60 peer-reviewed and invited journal articles and book chapters, two graduate-level textbooks, and over 180 invited and refereed conference presentations in the fields of aphasia, right hemisphere disorders, dementia, traumatic brain injury, and normal ageing.

Research interests include examining how cognitive deficits (e.g., attention) interact with the language abilities of adults with neurogenic communication disorders, and developing assessment and treatment strategies for these patient populations.

Kelli Williams Gary, Ph.D., MPH, M.S., OTR/L

Kelli Williams Gary, Ph.D., MPH, M.S., OTR/L is an assistant professor in the department of occupational therapy (OT) at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) who teaches OT research and intervention classes to entry-level Masters students. After sustaining a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) 24 years ago, she obtained a Bachelor of Science in OT from Chicago State University in Chicago, IL, a Masters of Science and Masters of Public Health from Columbia University in New York, NY, and a Ph.D. from VCU in Richmond, VA.
In the past eight years, Dr. Gary has authored/coauthored more than 18 peer-reviewed journal articles and two book chapters primarily focused on racial and ethnic minorities and caregivers with TBI and other disabilities. In addition, she has spent five years in grant management and leadership roles for a large federal grant funded by the Department of Education, National Institution of Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) titled Project Empowerment: Building Minority Disability Research Capacity. As the former co-PI of Project Empowerment, she has worked closely with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in Virginia and Maryland to enhance research capacity building through lectures, workshops, and a regional conference. She recently served as PI for a VCU community engagement grant related to literacy training of low-income children in Petersburg, VA.
She is currently pursuing research funding for culturally sensitive interventions for those with TBI, minority outcomes for adolescents in special education classes transitioning to adulthood, closing literacy gap in disadvantaged communities, and building international rehabilitation research collaborations in South Africa.

Dr. Sabahat Asim Wasti: Medical Director, Rehabilitative Medicine

Dr Wasti is widely experienced in medical rehabilitation with a special interest in neurorehabilitation. He has vast experience in the management of complications of acquired brain injury such as spasticity, motor impairments, cognitive problems including memory deficits, fatigue and neurogenic pain. Additionally, he brings an impressive track record and experience in establishing acquired brain injury rehabilitation programs to Cambridge Medical & Rehabilitation Center. Dr. Wasti is also focusing on long-term management of complex neurological disability including developmental disability of the childhood. Additional areas of interest include biomechanics, posture, seating and new technologies in rehabilitation.

He has experience in environmental control systems and emerging robotic therapies. He currently serves as Gulf Area Vice President of World Federation of Neurorehabilitation (WFNR) and as co-chair of the Ethics Special Interest Group of the WFNR. He has served as Rehabilitation Representative on the National Guideline Development group for Multiple Sclerosis in the UK and acts as reviewer for international peer publication neurorehabilitation journal. Prior to his current tenure, Dr. Wasti consulted SKMC in Rehabilitation Medicine and spent 9 years of his professional career at Sheffield Teaching Hospital Trust. Dr Wasti has unique experience of incorporating culturally adjusted intervention in rehabilitation programmes.

Dr. Wasti received his Bachelor’s degree in Medicine from Khyber Medical College Peshawar Pakistan. He did his Postgraduate training in the United Kingdom and Ireland. He became Member of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland in 1992. He completed his training in Rehabilitation in the United Kingdom in 1998.

Dr. Wasti joined in 2014 as a Consultant Physician in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. In this capacity he is responsible for the oversight and care of our patients receiving rehabilitative therapies as well as at our partner companies Manzil Health Care Services and ProVita International Medical Center.

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