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2018 National Conference

On behalf of the Organising Committee, we take great pleasure in inviting you to join us for the 2018 AHTA National Conference to be held in Melbourne from 19 - 21 October 2018.

The theme for the 2018 conference is Reaching for the Future: Innovation and technology in hand therapy practice.

This event will provide hand therapy professionals access to recognised experts in the field of hand therapy as they share their expertise and knowledge, explain their tools and techniques and showcase their innovative ideas.

Delegates will be spoiled for choice with a variety of platform and poster presentations, interactive workshops and networking opportunities alongside a comprehensive trade exhibition.

We look forward to welcoming you to the 2018 AHTA National Conference in Melbourne.

Hamish Anderson & Leanne Graham


Conference Committee

Hamish Anderson (Co-Convenor)

Hamish graduated from La Trobe University with a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy in 1995. After graduating, he worked in New York, qualifying as a CHT in 2001. Returning to Australia in 2002, Hamish began his own private hand therapy practice, whilst still working in the public hospital system up until 2009. Having taking a sabbatical in 2012 to travel around Australia with his family, Hamish resumed his private practice, and increased his focus on the management of sporting injuries to the upper limb.

Hamish is now the senior hand therapy clinician at the Austin Hospital, combining this role with his private practice and his work at the Hawthorn Football Club. He has a specific interest in treating athletes with hand injuries, and in dysfunctional wrist biomechanics with published articles in both areas. He also co-authored the chapters on the hand and the wrist in the current edition of Brukner and Khans’s “Clinical Sports Medicine”. Hamish is an active member of the AHTA, and is looking forward to welcoming you all to his home for a quiet beer following the conference!

Leanne Graham (Co-Convenor)

Leanne Graham graduated from OT in 1994, working in Hand therapy for over 20 years, initially in the public system, but exclusively in private practice for the past 18 years. Her practice receives referral from a wide group of Hand Surgeons, Rheumatologists and General Medical Practitioners. 

She also consults part time at the VHSA with the opportunity to collaborate directly with surgeons and other hand therapists. She enjoys a varied caseload including sporting injuries, workplace trauma and postoperative therapy. She was successful in achieving her CHT in 2016 and is a full member of the AHTA. Leanne is excited about the opportunity to co-convene the 2018 AHTA conference.

Jane Aarons

Jane graduated from Lincoln Institute, Melbourne in 1984 with a B.App Sc (OT). Her first 3 years were spent in general rehabilitation at Caulfield Hospital before she left to work in Vancouver Canada.

Jane spent the next 7 years working in Vancouver where she developed her Hand and Upperlimb expertise working for the Arthritis Foundation and as the senior clinician in Hand Rehabilitation at Lionsgate Hospital before taking on a teaching role at the University of British Columbia in the Faculty of  Medicine Department of Occupational Therapy. Here Jane taught aspects of Upperlimb Rehabilitation and Ergonomics.

On returning to Australia she founded “Peninsula Hand Therapy” on the Mornington Peninsula in 1995 and has continued to develop the practice over the last 22 years. Jane has presented at a number of National and International Conferences on various aspects of Upper rehabilitation such as Iontophoresis and Thumb Instabilities. Jane is also a founding member of the Interplast Allied Health Working Party who provide volunteer Hand therapy services to developing countries.

  Emily Donovan

My name is Emily Donovan, and I love working in Hand Therapy.  I initially studied Occupational Therapy at La Trobe University and am currently completing my Masters of Science (Hand Therapy) at the University of Derby. I recently returned from living in London for 2 years, where I was fortunate to work in the delighful Hand Therapy teams at Chelsea and Westminster, and Guys and St Thomas' Hospitals. I've now joined the highly motivated team at Western Health in Melbourne and look forward to seeing how we can contribute to the Hand Therapy community in the coming years.

I'm really excited about the theme for the 2018 conference, as there are some incredible technological advances that will change our practice. Here's to all the possibilities the future holds.

Brodwen McBain

Brodwen McBain is a Physiotherapist who started her hand therapy career in the public hospital setting. Working in a large private hand therapy practice in Melbourne since 2012, Brodwen manages a varied caseload, however non-traumatic tendon injuries remain her clinical area of interest. Supporting this, she commenced a PhD at La Trobe University in 2017, investigating De Quervain’s Syndrome. Passionate about volunteering, Brodwen is working with Interplast, and travelled to the Solomon Islands in 2017 as part of their surgical and allied health mentoring programs.

Jessica Newton

Jess is an Occupational Therapist who has worked in the public sector since graduating from Deakin University in Geelong in 2011, first regionally and now in the big city of Melbourne. She has experience in many areas of OT, however has spent the past 3 years working full time in Hand Therapy. Jess loves assisting patients to achieve occupational performance post traumatic and cumulative upper limb conditions.

Jess is an associate member of the AHTA and is excited to be involved in conference preparations for 2018.

Meg Schibli

Meg Schibli became involved in hand therapy early in her OT career and has been working in private practice for over 20 years. Her practice in Melbourne receives in-house referrals from Plastic and Orthopaedic hand surgeons as well as local medical practitioners and caters for a range of diagnoses and age groups. She has a special interest in paediatric clients, managing congenital conditions, post-operative therapy and juggling unpredictable surgeons’ schedules.

Meg achieved her CHT certification in 2016 and is a full member of AHTA.

Liz Witherow

Liz is an Occupational Therapist who has worked in public health since 2004, primarily with the traumatic hand injury population.  Liz is currently undertaking a Masters of Hand Therapy from Derby University.  Liz published a systematic review in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in 2015 and won the Best Scientific Paper Award at the 2015 AHTA Conference on this paper.