We are proud to introduce the following speakers

Keynote speaker

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Dr Aviva Wolff

Dr Aviva Wolff, EdD, OT, CHT is an occupational therapist, clinician-scientist with a strong background in motor control, upper extremity biomechanics, and movement analysis. She has extensive experience working with performing artists and individuals with upper extremity musculoskeletal injuries. She consults for the Julliard School, and runs the upper extremity clinical movement analysis programs and hand/wrist/elbow biomechanics research at the Leon Root, MD Motion Analysis Laboratory at Hospital for Special Surgery.

Her research interest is in the prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal occupational overuse injuries. She has independently led and collaborated with orthopedic surgeons, scientists, and biomechanists on several funded studies that have led to multiple presentations and publications in the areas of wrist and elbow biomechanics, and upper extremity musculoskeletal overuse injury.

Dr. Wolff has served in various leadership capacities in multiple professional organizations. She is a current research committee member for the Performing Arts and Medicine Association and American Association of Hand Therapy. She has served as the Awards Chair for the Gait and Clinical Movement Analysis Society and Research Division Director for American Society for Hand Therapists. She is also a member of the International Wrist Investigators Workshop, and American Occupational Therapy Association. In 2016 she received the Vargas International Teaching Award to attend a humanitarian mission to Guatemala. She is on the editorial board of Journal of Hand Therapy and guest edited the special issue wrist edition in 2016. She has published multiple papers and book chapters. She is currently President Elect for the American Hand Therapy Society.

Invited speakers

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Dr Leanne Bisset

Dr Leanne Bisset PhD, MPhty (Manipulative Phty), MPhty (Sports Phty), BPhty, is an experienced, titled Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist, as awarded by the Australian Physiotherapy Association in recognition of her advanced clinical skills. She completed her PhD in 2008 at The University of Queensland, which comprised a seminal, large-scale randomised clinical trial in people with lateral elbow tendinopathy. Leanne is currently an Associate Professor and the Academic Lead of Physiotherapy at Griffith University. Leanne also works part-time as a physiotherapist clinician in private practice, where she manages complex elbow cases. Leanne continues to research in persistent musculoskeletal pain conditions including lateral elbow tendinopathy, with a focus on understanding the pathophysiology of persistent musculoskeletal pain, improving the assessment and cost-effective management of people with these conditions.

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Laurinda-Lee Grady

For the past 24 years I have worked in Deaf Education, fulfilling a childhood dream to work with the deaf community. Growing up my idol was Helen Keller, a deaf-blind American who despite her challenges, managed to achieve an education and travelled the world advocating for deaf. I studied sign language for two years as a teenager. Being a visual learner myself, NZSL helps me to retain information and clarify my thoughts. I've been known to sign talkback radio, songs while I'm walking and will by habit sign to hearing friends. Following the 2010 Canterbury Earthquakes I realized that deaf people faced barriers in accessing support so I enrolled and successfully completed a 3-year Diploma in Counselling. I am one of only 5 professional practitioners in Aotearoa that are fluent in NZSL. Hand/wrist disorders are common amongst people who are regular signers and suffering a broken scaphoid has made my job even more challenging. In my spare time I love hiking, travelling and op-shopping (sometimes combining this with travel).

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Alex Malone

Alex Malone is an Orthopaedic Surgeon in Christchurch, New Zealand. He specialises in Upper Limb Surgery (Shoulder and Elbow). He has worked in New Zealand since 2008 after Orthopaedic training in the UK and fellowships in London, Auckland, Sydney and USA.
He is a Senior Clinical Lecturer in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Musculoskeletal Medicine, University of Otago and directs the Christchurch Upper Limb Fellowship Program.
His research interests include acromioclavicular Joint injury, resurfacing shoulder replacement and shoulder scoring tools.
He is married to Charlotte and they have 3 children – Oscar, Chloe and Eve.

HTNZ 23 Tracey Pons

Dr Tracey Pons

Tracey works in private physiotherapy practice in Kaiapoi, North Canterbury and as a registered Physiotherapy Pain Specialist since 2016. With the University of Otago, she was awarded with distinctions; a Post Graduate Diploma in Health Sciences endorsed in Musculoskeletal Management in 2008; later a Master of Health Sciences, in 2012. She was awarded her PhD in 2019.

In 2016, she was also awarded runner up for the New Zealand Pain Society Broadfoot award with her research in pain. Tracey has a passionate commitment to understanding persistent pain; and to encourage the collaboration towards the management of pain. She currently chairs the Physiotherapy in Mental health specialist interest group with PNZ. Her work in clinical practice and research includes international level peer reviewed publications, conference presentations, and numerous short courses for continuing education and growth for the Physiotherapy profession.

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Deborah A Schwartz

Deborah A Schwartz, OTD, OTR/L, CHT is a hand therapist with over 39 years of experience in the field. She has worked for Orfit Industries America since 2007 to promote product awareness and education in orthotic fabrication. She has presented on a variety of hand therapy topics both at national and international conferences. Debby has also written a number of articles for hand therapy publications, including the Journal of Hand Therapy, the British Journal of Hand Therapy, ADVANCE for OT, OT Practice, www.therapytimes.com , HAND, and www.exploringhandtherapy.com as well as multiple book chapters in hand therapy reference books. Debby completed her Clinical Doctorate of Occupational Therapy from Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions in 2010. Debby teaches about 12-15 orthotic fabrication workshops every year, including both in-person and virtual sessions. Debby has recently published a new textbook on orthotic fabrication with her colleague, Dr. Katherine Schofield, available from Slack, Inc. It is called Orthotic Design and Fabrication for the Upper Extremity: A Practical Guide. Check out Debby’s virtual courses of orthotic fabrication on www.orfit.com/academy.

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Jeremy Simcock

Jeremy is a senior lecturer and plastic surgeon at the University of Otago, Christchurch. After completing surgical training in New Zealand he gained further experience in the UK and Melbourne where he completed an MD before returning to New Zealand in 2007.
His clinical work encompasses general reconstructive surgery and hand surgery with particular focus on microsurgical reconstruction and management of neuromuscular upper limb conditions. His areas of research interest include medical education, skin cancer and upper limb reconstruction.

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Associate Professor Stephanie Woodley

Stephanie is an associate professor at the University of Otago, based in the Department of Anatomy. Coming from a physiotherapy background, Stephanie has taught clinical anatomy to physiotherapy and science students for 15 years and also mentors postgraduate research students. Her research focuses on the musculoskeletal system, with a particular interest in the hip and pelvic regions, imaging and clinical assessment. Stephanie utilises a range of anatomical techniques and imaging procedures with the aim of advancing knowledge of human structure and function and applying evidence-based anatomy to clinical practice.

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Blair York

FRACS (Plast 2021)

Blair graduated from Otago Medical School in 2010. He was selected onto Plastic Surgery training in 2015 and was trained across Hutt Hospital, Middlemore Hospital and Christchurch Hospital.

After completing his plastic surgery fellowship exams Blair was fortunate to be accepted onto post fellowship training in Hand and Wrist Surgery with the Victorian Hand Surgery Associates at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. He was able to learn all aspects of hand and wrist surgery from world-leading experts.

Blair has recently returned from his fellowship and has taken up a public hospital position at Christchurch Hospital where he is involved in Hand Wrist and Peripheral Nerve Surgery, Skin Cancer Surgery, Paediatric Plastic Surgery, Head and Neck Reconstruction (including microsurgery), Breast Surgery and General Plastic Surgical reconstructive work.

Outside of work Blair enjoys spending time with his wife and three young children and the adventures that naturally ensue.