International Key Note Speaker

Lynne Feehan

Lynne Feehan is a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of British Columbia. 

Lynne is also a physical therapist and a certified hand therapist with over 30 years of clinician experience specializing in upper extremity rehabilitation.

Lynne’s research focuses on evaluations of bone health and physical activity in people living with inflammatory arthritis.

The AHTA Conference Committee is thrilled to welcome Lynne to Melbourne for the 2018 National Conference.

Conference Presenters

Rose Biggins

Rose is an Accredited Hand Therapist and a Senior Clinician within the Occupational Therapy department at The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne. Her clinical specialties are congenital hand differences and traumatic hand conditions. To continue her higher education, Rose is pursuing the Masters of Science in Hand Therapy, via Derby University. Rose strives to improve outcomes for children and their families via evidence based practice.

Cathy Cooper

Catherine Cooper has a B Ap Sc (OT) and 30 year career specialising in the field of rehabilitation and specifically Spinal Cord Injury.

Since 1993 she has held a part time research and clinical OT position at Austin Health. She works with a team of plastic and reconstructive surgeons and co-ordinates the Upper Limb Program that is embedded within the Victorian Spinal Cord Service. This program aims to maximise upper limb function in people with tetraplegia with the focus on reconstructive hand surgery. This includes tendon transfer surgery, spasticity surgery and more recently ground breaking nerve transfers in tetraplegia.

Tina Czech

Ms Tina Czech is the founding director of the Australian Institute of Laser Therapy, which was officially opened in the city of Melbourne by the Secretary General of the World Association of Laser Therapy [WALT] on the 9th December 1997.
With over 25yrs clinical experience in post –operative care and laser therapy and over 4,000 hours of operating room experience with Australia's most reputable dermatologists, plastic and reconstructive surgeons, Tina has lectured worldwide on the subject of laser photobiomodulation. She has been instrumental in providing post graduate education in the clinical application of non-thermal low level laser therapy [LLLT] in the areas of dermatology and wound healing, pain management, post- operative recovery, tissue repair and rehabilitation following physical injury and brain trauma.
Having studied in the United Kingdom, USA and Germany, Tina has authored several government accredited courses on laser and IPL for clinical application, which she taught for 18 years at a national level and is a regular reviewer of research manuscripts for the Journal of Photomedicine and Laser Surgery.
Ms. Czech is an honorary board member of the World Academy of Laser Applications and the World Association for Laser Therapy and was been granted Life member of the International Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, as a leading expert in the field of clinical laser therapy and photo-medicine.

Jason Fairclough

Jason is a physiotherapist and Certified Hand Therapist with a Masters in Health Science (Physiotherapy - Hand Therapy Subspecialty) from University of Sydney.

Jason has 20 years clinical experience – both public and private and enjoys research on innovative product development.

Jason has presented at International Surgical Conferences in Argentina, China and Australia on skin traction methods for managing phalangeal fractures, and is a key research member in the EAVAST method (Early Active Vector Adjustable Skin Traction).

Jason Fairclough is the practice principle of Hills Family Physio (HFP) and Hand and Upper Limb Therapy (HAULT) in NorthWestern Sydney.

Alastair Flett

Alastair is a Specialist Musculoskeletal and Vestibular Physiotherapist with over 25 years clinical experience. His areas of clinical interest include shoulder girdle, neck, headache and dizziness disorders and the multitude of factors that can drive these conditions. 

Jodie Hahn

Jodie is also an Occupational Therapist working as part of the Upper Limb Program with in the Victorian Spinal Cord Service. She has completed Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours) and Ergonomics, Health and Safety and a Post Graduate Certificate of Science (Hand therapy) at the University of Derby. She has worked in inpatient rehabilitation post spinal cord injury, paediatric burns and hand therapy. For the last 7 years she has combined these experiences in her role in the upper limb program, with a particular interest in assessments to documenting outcomes and determining rehabilitation protocols to maximise the  benefit of nerve transfers in people with tetraplegia.

Melissa Hirth

Melissa is a local Melbourne therapist who has worked in both the public and private health care settings for the past 20 years. She has presented on this topic at the last two IFSHT Congresses. Her first publication was in 2011, a retrospective comparison of Immobilisation to Relative Motion in extensor tendon repairs zones V and VI, and has been added to with a Relative Motion Scoping Review in 2016 and a Case Study in 2017. She is currently undertaking further study on Relative Motion.

Kathleen Leach

Kathleen Leach is a senior clinical psychologist at Western health Sunshine and Williamstown Community Based Rehabilitation. She has had over 20 years experience in rehabilitation across the spectrum from neurological (Brain injury and Stroke) to Cardiac and Musculoskeletal  (Chronic pain management) working in several centres in Victoria and also with Medicins Sans Frontiers. Kathleen frequently works with clients with injuries to hands, often with Complex regional Pain Syndrome, that have become stuck in hand therapy.  In addition to a Masters in Clinical Psychology, Kathleen also has a Doctorial Degree in Neuropsychology and is a qualified ski instructor and dive master. Her passions outside of work are skiing, travel and gardening.

Daniel Purtell

Qualified in 2003 Daniel has vast experience in treating a range of hand conditions from complex multi-trauma through to simple fractures. He has Worked for over 14 years in upper limb rehabilitation in a variety of settings here in Australia and across the United Kingdom. Daniel also has experience in University Lecturing and Supervising students as well ongoing professional development with the Victorian Hand Surgery Associates and the Australian Hand Therapy Association. He has presented at state and national Hand Therapy and Hand Surgery conferences, published articles on hand transplantation and continues to work on researching better practice.

Mark Simpson

Mark Simpson is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist & Director at PACE Health Management, with over 10 years of experience in private practice. During this time Mark has worked with a wide scope of clientele, including;

  • Occupational Health Services 
    • Return to Work Rehabilitation Programs 
    • Pre-Employment Screening
    • Job Capacity Profiling 
    • Safe Manual Handling 
    • Ergonomics 
  • Athlete Rehabilitation & Performance
  • Chronic Disease Management 
  • Chronic Pain Programs

Mark believes in taking a biopsychosocial approach to rehabilitation and places a large focus on education & behaviour change, with the goal of developing self-management strategies & accountability in his patients to produce sustainable long term outcomes. 

PACE Health Management is recognised as one of Australia’s leading team of Exercise Physiologist’s, winning Exercise Physiology Practice of the Year on 2 separate occasions. PACE Health Management is based across the South Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne & the Mornington Peninsula, with the key mission of providing the right advice for the right condition, to help more people move better and move more often. 

Geoff Sussman

Associate Professor Geoff Sussman  holds a position in  the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences Monash University, the first Professor of wound care in Australia in the Monash Institute for Health and Clinical Education.He has been a faculty member at St Anne’s College Oxford University and  Auckland University . He has been involved in wound management for over 30 years in clinical research and clinical practice and teaching  and  has over 100 publications including 27 book chapters. He is a board member of Wounds Australia, an executive board member of the Australasian Wound and Tissue Repair Society and The International Wound Infection Institute. He was the inaugural  Secretary of the World Union of Wound Healing Societies and is President elect of the Asia Pacific Association for Diabetic Limb Problems. He is associate editor of the International Wound Journal, a member of the editorial board of Wound Practice and Research, Chronic Wound Care Management and Research  and is a member of the advisory committee for Post Graduate Wound Care education at Monash University. He was awarded an OAM in the Queens birthday Honours in 2006 for his work in wound care as a researcher, educator and clinician. He was recognised at the 2008 World Wound Healing Congress in Toronto with a life time achievement award for his work in wound management.

Elizabeth Ward

Accredited Hand Therapist and AHTA Life Member, Elizabeth has worked in the private arena as a Hand Therapist since 1995 on the Central Coast NSW, and before that spent 10 years in the public hospital sector. Elizabeth has a Master of Public Health, and a Master of Health Science (Physiotherapy) from the University of Sydney.  Her interest in gymnastics began in 2004 when her own daughter started competing at a high level, and over the following years this interest has developed further, particularly in the younger athlete population.  Elizabeth presented at the NSW and QLD Hand Surgeons combined meeting in 2010 on elbow injuries in gymnastics, and in 2007 to the NSW Hand Surgeons meeting on CRPS. At the 2001 AHTA Conference Elizabeth won the Jill Chapman Award for the Best Clinical Paper with a presentation on Midcarpal Instability.   Elizabeth is a past Vice President of the AHTA, and has been on the Organizing Committee of the 2005 and 2011 AHTA Conferences.