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The formation of an association of occupational therapists and physiotherapists interested in the treatment of upper limb injury and disease was discussed at a meeting in the rooms of Peggy Whyment and Judith Hague in Kogarah NSW on 31 August 1982. The purpose of the group was to:

  1. Establish communication with other hand therapy groups, and
  2. Continue the growth of the profession in this specialised field.

First formal meeting: At a formal meeting held in Sydney on Saturday 16 October 1982, The Australian Hand Therapy Association came into being. Present were Jill Chapman (Vic), Esther May (SA), Judith Morrin, Wilma Walsh, Peg Whyment and Judith Hague (NSW).

Membership Criteria was developed: The membership criteria for the American Society of Hand Therapists were adopted as being appropriate for our members also. Full membership required twelve month’s experience with a caseload of 75% upper limb conditions, to be supported by a log of patient numbers, conditions and treatments, given during a three month period. Associate membership would be offered to therapists who worked full time with a caseload of 50% upper limb conditions, or part time with a 75% caseload.

Jill Chapman agreed to be the first President and undertook to introduce the AHTA to potential members via the Physiotherapy Association and Occupational Therapy newsletters in each state.


Further meetings were held in Melbourne in February, Adelaide in May and Canberra in November.

By the end of the year, Suzanne Clements, Cathy Jordan, Jill Chapman, Naomi Buesnal, Beverley Trevithick, Judith Morrin, Wilma Walsh and Esther May had formalised Full Membership and Susan Mitchell and Janine de Kretser had formalised Associate Membership. Applications had been received from Jenny Ball, Sandra Williamson and Janet Dindler. Fees were set at $50.00 for Full and $25.00 for Associate Membership.


In 1984 we had an historic meeting in Ballarat, Victoria, where our first formal election of officers took place, as well as our first clinical conference. AHTA members were invited to attend the clinical sessions of the Annual Meeting of the Australian Hand Club. At its AGM that year, the Australian Hand Club decided NOT to invite AHTA members to its future Annual Meetings. Fortunately for our members in New South Wales, that state's Hand Club members continued to welcome AHTA members at their meetings, with beneficial results for the management of hand conditions resulting from the lively discussions at those meetings.

Office Bearers elected in 1984 were:

  • President: Jill Chapman (OT, Vic)
  • Secretary/Treasurer (Admin, Correspond.): Esther May (OT, SA)
  • Assistant Secretary (Minutes, Membership): Suzanne Clements (OT, Vic)
  • Education & Resources Officer: Naomi Buesnal (PT, NSW)

Highlights: A letter of congratulation on the formation of the AHTA and an offer of support for the future was received from Judith Colditz, OTR, ASHT International Affairs Committee.

  • Membership of 20 practitioners of hand therapy
  • Clinical Conference and AGM were held in Adelaide
  • Wilma Walsh was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship
  • Suzanne Clements was awarded a study scholarship to USA
  • The Philadelphia Meeting was attended by Jill Chapman, Suzanne Clements and Wilma Walsh


In February 1985 the first newsletter of the AHTA was produced by Wilma Walsh to bridge the enormous geographic distances between members and to keep everyone informed about new products, forthcoming education events and social news such as Naomi Buesnal becoming Mrs White. A competition to design a logo for the AHTA was launched. Some members were able to combine attendance at the XV International Congress of Rheumatology and lectures by international speakers including Dr A. Swanson in Sydney in May, with an AHTA meeting where Esther May reported on the ASHT Annual Meeting which she had attended in Las Vegas. The Clinical Conference and AGM were held in Sydney.


1986 brought an improvement in AHTA/AHC relations when we were invited to share the AHC's international guest speaker, Professor Graham Lister from Louisville Kentucky, at a combined meeting on Tendon Repairs and The Stiff Hand on 3 October 1986 in Sydney. At our meeting in Melbourne on 8 February 1986, it was decided to add a third membership classification - Affiliate Membership. This would allow educators and researchers access to membership and provide continued membership for previous Full Members who no longer qualify for Full Membership or Associate membership because of a reduction in working hours or upper limb clinical case load. It was also decided to establish criteria for maintenance of membership of the AHTA. Attendance at AHTA meetings, or the preparation of an article for the Newsletter, were established as activities which maintained membership.

Contact was established with the New Zealand Hand Therapy Association. Wilma Walsh, Jill Chapman and Esther May all fulfilled the requirements for Affiliate Membership of the American Society of Hand Therapists.

The AHTA was asked to support the AHC policy on Repetition Strain Injury, describing it as a neurosis. We wrote our own policy regarding this condition.

The first formal list of AHTA members was printed and distributed to all Hand Surgeons, AHTA members and the OT and PT Associations in Australia. The AHTA joined the International Federation of Societies of Hand Therapists, formed in 1986, and Wilma Walsh was appointed International Correspondent. Wilma presented a paper at the IFSHT meeting in Tokyo.

The services of an association management company were employed from October 1986, as the size of the AHTA membership had grown to 28.

1986 was a dramatic year for AHTA members who were Occupational Therapists in Victoria. OTs had never been registered in Victoria and the Victorian Government decided not to register any more health professionals. This meant that Occupational Therapists in private practice were not eligible for payment for services rendered to injured workers under newly enacted Workers' Compensation legislation. That action put our past President and Membership Secretary out of business and ineligible for active membership of the AHTA! Suzanne Clements became Mrs Vandervaere and moved to Sydney and Jill Chapman had to change her practice completely.


Conference: A clinical conference, held in Adelaide on 28 February 1987, was well attended by local PTs and OTs, but not by interstate AHTA members, for various reasons. Topics included Rheumatoid Arthritis, Wrist Instability and a pot pori of other subjects. At the AGM on 1 March 1987, it was clear that the records of the AHTA were in some disarray. No AGM seemed to occur in 1986 and postal ballots are mentioned in the minutes of an October 1986 business meeting. Wilma Walsh's election as president in 1986 and Rosemary Prosser's as Secretary/Treasurer were confirmed by the seven AHTA members present on 1 March 1987.

AGM: By our General Meeting on 1 November 1987, order in our affairs had been restored. AHTA membership had grown to 45, an Executive had been established and the Secretariat was well established under Gary Knespal of Association Management Pty. Ltd. Meetings of AHTA members in several states occurred regularly and NSW, VIC, SA and QLD had appointed representatives to act as contacts between members and the AHTA Executive. A position of Librarian/Historian was established and Naomi White was elected to that post. Sandra Williamson was elected as Vice President of the AHTA. Honorary membership of the AHTA was bestowed on Jill Chapman in recognition of her outstanding service in establishing the AHTA. A draft Constitution of the AHTA was approved.

Conference:The Clinical Conference in Melbourne on 2 November 1987 was on the "Management of Fractures and Small Joint Injuries" and keynote speakers included Richard Honner and Bruce Connolly, two members of the Australian Hand Club whose strong support for the AHTA since its inception is greatly appreciated by our members. At the meeting the first formal constitution was presented.

The first issue of the Hand Therapy Journal was produced by the ASHT and welcomed enthusiastically in Australia.

The AHTA lost two of its founding members in 1987. Jill Chapman became Mrs Butchers and moved to remote North Queensland and Esther May moved to Sweden but maintained Affiliate Membership.


The design of our logo was finalised and the first print of our formal letterhead organised. Membership grew to 55. Certificates of Membership were produced incorporating the logo. Membership requirements and application procedures were clarified.

Attendance at the October AGM in Brisbane, to coincide with World Expo, was hampered by a sudden airline strike and the meeting had to be held without a quorum, adequate state reports or nominations for office bearers! At the Brisbane Clinical Conference the inaugural AHTA Award for the promotion of Hand Therapy was awarded to Simone Everat for her work in organising the Brisbane meeting. This Award was sponsored 50% by Jill Butchers and 50% by the AHTA and became the Jill Chapman Award to honour our first President.

The NSW based Executive completed its term and SA took over with Sandra Williamson as President, Kathy Minchin as Secretary/Treasurer and Carol Walsh as Membership Secretary. The AHC accepted, at a General Meeting, the proposal of the AHTA to hold the AGM and Clinical Conference at a similar time and venue to the surgeons. They also voted to include a one-day combined surgeons/therapists clinical session.

A combined meeting was held with NSW Hand Surgeons - guest speaker Dr D. Green.


A longstanding airline pilot strike made this year a boom year for the Newsletter produced by Janet Dindler, as meetings had to be cancelled and members fulfilled membership maintenance requirements by writing articles. Plans commenced to have Judy Colditz visit Australia and New Zealand. Plans commenced to produce a Hand Therapy Brochure. The Executive undertook a major overhaul of the membership register and printed membership lists.

The SA Executive decided not to employ a secretarial service, but to do the work of the Association themselves, with the Newsletter and mailing to members done from the Disability Information and Resource Centre and typing etc. being paid for as necessary. The Annual Meeting of the AHTA was planned for 16 September 1989, to follow the SA Hand Workshop at which Peter Hales and Phil Slattery were the invited speakers. However, pilot strikes intervened again and, even when the program was rescheduled for two months later, only AHTA members from Victoria were able to attend.

AGM: At the AGM on 18 November 1989, Donald Lynch was elected Vice-President. Honorary Membership was bestowed on Esther May, whose fame as a researcher into the management of flexor tendon repairs was spreading worldwide. Approval was also given at the meeting for the Executive to seek corporate sponsorship of the AHTA from various suppliers of commercial services and products to Hand Therapists. Megan Fitzgerald presented a draft for a brochure on Hand Therapy. The 1988 AGM minutes were confirmed, despite the absence of anyone who had attended the meeting; the minutes having been circulated previously and with only eight members present at the AGM. Once again, the AHTA suffered the tyranny of distance!

From an international perspective:

  • Rosemary Prosser and Elizabeth Snell presented papers at the IFSHT meeting in Tel Aviv.
  • Rosemary Prosser became the Australian delegate and a member of the Publication Committee of the International Federation of Societies of Hand Therapists.
  • Wilma Walsh was an invited guest speaker at the Gemmsor meeting in Reims. (French Hand Therapy Association).


Relations between the AHTA and the NZSHT were strengthened during this year. Sue Sewell, NZSHT President, visited practices in NSW and SA. Wilma Walsh and Jill Butchers were keynote speakers at the NZSHT Conference.

Other international ties developed through the IFSHT. Sue Caragianis presented a paper at the ASHT meeting in Toronto. This meeting was also attended by Cynthia Nicol, Rosemary Prosser, Wilma Walsh, and Megan Fitzgerald.

A combined meeting of the AHTA and the AHC, in Perth, had to be abandoned, as the surgeons all had to be in Broome the next day.

The Annual Meeting and Conference were held in Adelaide on 23 November 1990, at which Jenny Ball won the Jill Chapman Award for the best paper for her review of results of Flexor Tendon Repairs at the Royal Hobart Hospital.

Megan Fitzgerald was awarded the RACV Sir Edmund Herrmg Memorial Scholarship to visit the USA for three months.


This was a bumper year for conferences, with an abundance of speakers from overseas.

In February, Esther May and Kris Silfverskiold returned to SA to see Esther's family, old friends and to blow our minds with their latest work on Flexor Tendon repairs.

In May, the NSW Hand Surgeons hosted a splendid Conference at the Powerhouse Museum with keynote speaker Professor Michael Wood of the Mayo Clinic, complete with scaphoid fracture suitably splinted!

In November, Judith Colditz was keynote speaker at the AHTA Annual Conference in Sydney. All AHTA members boarded a vessel on the Hawkesbury River for splinting workshops etc.

For the second consecutive year, Jenny Ball won the Jill Chapman Award for best paper for a description of the use of Ultrasound to determine the success or failure of FDP repairs.

Education: Post-graduate courses were established in Western Australia at Curtin University of Technology and in Victoria at the Lincoln Institute of Health Sciences. Three AHTA members commenced post-graduate study in Victoria and four in WA. Associate Membership of the ASHT was offered to overseas therapists. AHTA members, Sue Caragianis, Ann Wajon and Rosemary Prosser, became Certified Hand Therapists by passing the first certification examinations run by the Hand Therapy Certification Commission Inc. in the USA. Sandra Kay became Newsletter Editor.

Member News: 1991 saw the inaugural Certified Hand Therapy examinations in the United States. A Certified Hand Therapist is an occupational therapist or physiotherapist who has a minimum of five years clinical experience including 4000 hours or more in direct practice in hand therapy. In addition, the Certified Hand Therapist has successfully passed a comprehensive test of advanced clinical skills and theory in upper quadrant rehabilitation. The CHT is required to demonstrate continued professional development and competancy by recertifying every five years. A number of Australian Therapists achieved certification in it's inaugural year. Congratulations to Suzanne Caragianis, Beth McNeish, Rosemary Prosser and Anne Wajon.

AHSS: The Australian Hand Club changed its name to the Australian Hand Surgery Society, but decided not to offer Affiliate Membership to AHTA members except in NSW. AHTA members in SA were invited to attend the clinical section of local AHSS meetings and continue to do so regularly. Wilma Walsh became the first Australian corresponding editor of the American Journal of Hand Therapy.


Nine AHTA members attended the IFSHT meeting in Paris in May, with Jenny Ball, Susan Dunn and Wilma Walsh presenting papers. A poster presentation of the history of the AHTA and the involvement of its members in IFSHT activities was prepared by Wilma Walsh.

AHTA members were invited to attend the AHSS Registrars’ meeting in Brisbane in April.

Annual Confernec and AGM: The AHTA Annual Conference was held in Adelaide in October, with a theme of Sports Injuries. Guest speakers included Orthopaedic Surgeons Malcolm Wicks and Michael Sandow.

Janet Dindler won the Jill Chapman Award for Best Paper for her presentation on the Management of Metacarpal Injuries in Sport.

Members were introduced to the concept of Neural Tension at a workshop by Michael Shacklock prior to the AGM.

The AHTA Poster and Brochures were completed by Helen Burfield and presented to members at the AGM.

The SA Executive completed its term and, because no other state was quite strong enough in numbers, the members from NSW agreed to accept responsibility for the Executive.

The following Office Bearers were elected at the AGM on 21 October 1992:

  • President: Beverley Trevithick
  • Vice President: Susan Dunn
  • Secretary/Treasurer: Cynthia Nicol
  • Membership Secretary: Joanne Munro
  • International Liaison: Rosemary Prosser
  • Newsletter Editor: Anne Wajon
  • Conference Co-ordinator: Susan Dunn


Because of increasing membership and diverse membership needs, the Constitution was revised, as were membership criteria. A new newsletter was designed which was sponsored by Smith and Nephew.

Sultan Lalani presented papers at the Singapore and Malaysian Association of OT meetings.

In November, a combined meeting with NSW Hand Surgeons was held, with guest speaker Dr Uli Bucher from Switzerland.

Suzanne Caragianis won the Jill Chapman award for her paper "Functional Hand Use Following Multiple Finger Replantation".

Hand-made silver hand pins were made as a marketing tool, and each state continued to hold regular continuing education meetings.


1994 saw Australian Hand Therapists interacting at an international level more frequently:

Sandy Williamson gave lectures to hospital staff, in Kuala Lumpur

Wilma Walsh travelled to Romania and Hungary with the Hand Surgery Delegation with the Citizen Ambassador program

Rosemary Prosser attended the ASHT Meeting in Kansas

Jenny Ball co-authored a paper on Diagnostic ultrasound which was published in the British Medical Journal

Rosemary Prosser became corresponding editor for the American Hand Therapy Journal.

Back in Australia, Bev Trevithick co-authored a paper published in the Aust/NZ journal of Surgery and Judith Wilton continued her Post Graduate Courses at Curtin with 14 students enrolled.

The AHTA National Conference was held in Noosa. Guest speaker was Terri Skirven and the theme was "The Wrist”. Janet Dindler began to prepare a detailed AHTA history.

During 1994 the Constitution was revised.

Congratulations to Catherine Reid who achieved certification in 1994.

The Management Committee for 1994-6 consisted of:

  • President: Jenny Ball
  • Vice President: Jane Abbott
  • Secretary/Treasurer: Karen Fitt
  • Membership Secretary: Marianne Hodder
  • International Liaison: Rosemary Prosser/Megan Fitzgerald
  • Newsletter Editor: Diana Francis
  • Historian/Librarian: Katie Watkin

State Representatives were: NSW: Judith Davidson, VIC: Megan Fitzgerald, SA: Helen Burfield, TAS: Jenny Ball, QLD: Marguerite Copley and WA: Sandra Kevill 


With the President in Tasmania and the rest of the executive in Victoria, and no secretariat (and none of the convenience of e-mail) managing the affairs of the AHTA, involved a huge effort from Jenny Ball. Nevertheless, significant things were achieved:

The Constitution of the AHTA was consolidated to include a Mission Statement, which was based on the definition of Hand Therapy in the Oct/Dec edition of the Journal of Hand Therapy 1987 - published by the American Society of Hand Therapists.

Committees were formed for the first time to address Marketing, Scholarship, Education and Certification. The latter was later dropped when the USA CHT exam became available to Australian therapists, but the other committees formed the basis for AHTA activities for the future.

Positive links were forged with AHSS and a combined conference planned for Cairns in 1996. When Dr. Harold Kleinert visited, AHTA members were formally invited to Port Stephens & Bowral to hear him speak.

The committee saw the need for a more formal organisational structure and investigated incorporation.

Twelve AHTA members attended the IFSHT and IFSSH meetings in Helsinki at which papers were given by Rosemary Prosser, Judith Wilton and Helen Rennie. Rosemary contributed to the IFSHT Council as Publications Committee Chairperson. Jenny Ball and Rosemary Prosser represented the AHTA at the IFSHT council meeting.

Annual Confernence and AGM: As well as running AHTA, the Victorian committee, chaired by Katie Watkin, organised a fantastic annual conference on “Upper Limb Joint Replacements”.

The social program was memorable with competitions, wild hand-related prizes, canoeing on the Yarra and a great dinner with dishevelled dancing to “YMCA” etc. Sandra Kay won the Jill Chapman Award for the best clinical paper at our conference for her study on the management of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in pregnant women. Esther May published in the Journal of Hand Surgery. Rosemary Prosser published two papers in the Australian Physiotherapy Journal.


In 1996, total membership increased to 94: 73 Full, 11 Associate, 7 Newsletter and 3 Honorary members.

Annual conference and AGM: The Annual Conference and Meeting was held in Cairns, Queensland, with Lyn Miles doing a splendid single-handed job as convenor. The Guest Speaker was Anna Mae Tan, CHT OT (San Diego) and the theme was “Nerves and the Upper Quadrant”. The conference attracted 130 registrants and saw a renewal of the association with the AHSS and commitment to share conference opportunities.

Judith Wilton was invited to be a keynote speaker at the Cerebral Palsy Conference in Singapore where she presented two papers and a splinting workshop. Kate Harkin was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship to visit the USA for three months.

Margaret McMahon co-authored a paper published in Atlas of Hand Clinics. Duty Statements were prepared for all executive positions, including State Representatives. Barbara Watson was elected AHTA President for the next two years and an executive committee was selected from Queensland.


Incorporation of the AHTA was formalised under the Queensland Associations Incorporation Act 1981, which meant the official secretary of the Association had to reside in Queensland. A professional secretariat was employed, and Ray Hüttenmeister became our secretary. His experience and guidance for the next nine years would prove invaluable to the AHTA.

A commissioned marketing survey was undertaken and a marketing plan prepared for the AHTA to be implemented over two years.

Members News: This year saw Barb Hall achieve hand therapy certification. Congratulations!!

Annual Conference and AGM: The Annual conference and AGM were held in Sydney and had a workshop focus. Topics included Wrist, Shoulder, Research and Functional Capacity Evaluation. A trial of a system for classifying professional education activities was undertaken in relation to “Criteria for Membership”. Guidelines were drafted by Lyn Miles to assist applicants with their case studies which formed part of membership applications.

The Management Committee for 1997-1998 consisted of:

  • President: Barbara Watson
  • Vice President: Marguerite Copley
  • Membership Secretary: Lyn Miles
  • Treasurer: Sue Lovett
  • International Liaison: Wilma Walsh and Cath McOwan
  • Newsletter Editor: Katie Whittle
  • Librarian/Historian: Kate Harkin

Divisional Representatives were: NSW: Fiona Evans, VIC: Sue Dorman, SA: Nicolette Nagy, TAS: Jenny Ball, QLD: Melissa James and WA: Judith Wilson 


Membership increased to 84 Full, 14 Associate and 10 Newsletter members. The AHTA signed its first corporate sponsorship agreement with Smith and Nephew, to cover the costs of producing our newsletter and provide a research award to Full members of the AHTA the value of which was $2,500.

The Executive continued its work on the Continuing Education Criteria. Forms for application to research and scholarship funding were developed. The secretariat developed a new membership data base and membership booklets were printed and distributed to doctors.

The Curtin University Grad. Dip. in Hand & Upper Limb Rehab course flourished with 26 participants and six AHTA Members completed Masters Degrees at other institutions during this year. Rosemary Prosser and Cathy Merry travelled to Vietnam as part of a Hand Surgery and Therapy education project.

The AHTA Annual Conference and AGM were held in Perth. The guest speaker was Shrikant Chinchalker and the theme was “Biomechanics of the Upper Limb”.

Twenty AHTA members attended the IFSHT conference in Vancouver, Canada. Papers and Posters were presented by Judith Davidson, Suzanne Caragianis, Cathy Merry, Rosemary Prosser and Judith Wilton.

Rosemary Prosser was elected IFSHT Treasurer. Cath McOwan received a Rotary Ambassadorial Academic year Scholarship to carry out research in Ontario Canada.

This year two Australian therapists achieved certification. Congratulations to Mary Lee and Alex Retallick. 


A combined AHTA/AHSS meeting was held in Adelaide and the Clare Valley, SA. The AHTA component was a one day clinical reasoning workshop on soft tissue injuries. Dr Richard Gelberman spoke on a variety of topics including an update on flexor tendon surgery.

The AHTA Annual conference was held in Sydney in October. The theme was “Sporting Injuries in the Hand and Upper Limb”.

The Executive revised the Constitution and Rules to fully reflect the aims, objectives and ongoing operational requirements of the AHTA.

Membership of the AHTA grew to 145. A system of points for continuing professional development activities began. Six divisions for AHTA representation on the executive was agreed, with ACT combined with NSW and NT combined with QLD. Tasmania, with only one member, maintained individual representation.

Rosemary Prosser was awarded Life Membership of the AHTA for her contribution to both the AHTA and to the development of Hand Therapy as a post-graduate discipline. Cathy Thomas won the Jill Chapman Award for her paper on Turnbuckle Splints. Tracey Clark won the AHSS prize for her research paper on the relationship between sensibility and dexterity following digital nerve repairs.

The Management Committee for 1999-2000 was the first to be truly national and conducted its meetings by teleconference. The record keeping, meeting co-ordination and communication provided by our professional secretariat became invaluable.

The Management Committee for 1999-2000 consisted of:

  • President: Janet Dindler
  • Vice President: Beverley Trevithick
  • Secretary: Ray Hüttenmeister
  • Treasurer: Suzanne Caragianis
  • Membership Secretary: Tracey Clark
  • International Liaison: Jackie Oldham, Megan Fitzgerald
  • Librarian/Historian: Kate Harkin
  • Newsletter Editor: Beverley Quee 

Divisional Representatives were: NSW: Jackie Shannon, VIC: Sue Doman & Angela Chu, SA: Simone Nothdurft, TAS: Jenny Ball, QLD: Celeste Glasgow and WA: Judith Wilton & Barbara Hall 


The end of the century saw the AHTA growing and flourishing with 86 Full Members, 81 Associates and 14 Newsletter members.

The executive worked to established a website for the AHTA on the internet, drafted a submission on splint rebates for insured patients, and finalised our By-Laws. Membership criteria were once again reviewed. Post-graduate qualifications were discussed as the requirement for Full Membership. A survey showed that 24 members had achieved post-graduate qualifications relevant to Hand Therapy, 12 were currently enrolled in post graduate study and four were planning to do so in the next year.

Celeste Glasgow was awarded the Smith & Nephew research award of $500 to facilitate her research into splinting into flexion.

Member News: The turn of the century saw two Australian therapists gain CHT honours. Congratulations to Jennifer Kaess and Helen March.

Conference and AGM: The annual conference was held in Melbourne. The theme was “Trauma” and our guest speaker was Karen Stewart-Pettergill from USA who presented extensively on hand trauma. Daisy Kong was awarded the Jill Chapman Award for her paper on “Therapy management of the replanted hand, a case study”, and Dianne Wilson was awarded the AHSS prize for her research paper on “Clinical factors associated with the efficacy of splinting the painful Osteo-arthritic Trapeziometacarpal joint”.

The AGM included approval of changes to the roles, responsibilities and titles of some positions on the Executive. The role of International Liaison was added to the role of President so that one person only had the responsibility for speaking on behalf of the AHTA, and the Vice President was given the responsibility for action on marketing issues. A new role of Professional Development Officer was created in view of the increasing need for the AHTA to be active in this area. The Librarian’s duties were expanded to include co-ordination of review of literature, books and journal articles for publication in the quarterly newsletter.


The Management Committee for 2001-2002 consisted of:

  • President: Judith Wilton
  • Vice President: Janet Dindler
  • Secretary: Ray Hüttenmeister
  • Treasurer: Sandra Kevill
  • Membership Secretary: Celeste Glasgow
  • Professional Development Officer: Lyn Miles
  • Newsletter Editor: Bev Lang
  • Librarian/Historian: Cathy Thomas

Divisional Representatives were: NSW/ACT: Mary Lee, QLD: Mary Mitchell, SA: Marion Turner, TAS: Jenny Ball, VIC: Angela Chu and WA: Barbara Hall

The focus of energy in the Management Committee meetings, held by teleconference during the year, was on defining the roles and responsibilities for the newly appointed Professional Development Officer and the establishment of resources and data for a PD Forum to be run at the 2002 conference. The committee also worked on a Conference Manual to guide future AHTA conference organisers.

Australia participated in a five yearly USA Hand Certification Commission Questionnaire which would give access to useful data about the practice of Hand Therapy in Australia.

We were notified that the Australian bid to host the 2007 Congress of the IFSSH and IFSHT in Sydney had been successful. Planning for the event started immediately, led by Rosemary Prosser and Roland Hicks.

Conference and AGM: The Annual Conference and AGM were held in Adelaide beachside in November with very disappointing weather. On the first day, therapists attended the annual SA Hand Meeting and the rest of the conference concentrated on Pain Management. The Jill Chapman Award for best clinical paper was awarded to Elizabeth Ward for her paper “A Case of Mild Carpal Instability” and Judith Wilton won the AHSS award for best research paper for “An Investigation into the Relationship between Gross Grip Strength and the Perception of Upper Limb Pain”.

Many AHTA members attended the IFSHT meeting in Istanbul Turkey in June. Free papers were presented by Judith Davidson, Carolyn Donnolly, Celeste Glasgow, Wilma Walsh. Barbara Hall, Suzanne Caragianis and Judith Wilton took part in panel sessions and Cathy Merry presented a poster.

Membership: By November 2001, AHTA Membership stood at 91 Full Members, and 100 Associates.

The Continuing Professional Development Activity Log was in the first year of a two year trial period with review of its use by members planned for mid 2002.

Member News: Congratulations to Hamish Anderson whom gained CHT accreditation in 2001.


Combined AHSS and AHTA Conference: 2002 got off to an early start with the Annual Conference held in March on the Gold Coast to coincide with the AHSS meeting at the same venue. Organization was complicated for Marguerite Copley and her committee (Celeste Glasgow, Marianne Hodder and Mary Mitchell) because we had a contracted conference organiser from Melbourne (which had worked well in Melbourne and Adelaide but was too remote from Queensland). Assoc. Professor Jane Fedorczyk, an experienced therapy educator and researcher from the USA, was our invited speaker. Jane presented extensively on her research into Cumulative Trauma and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome at our meeting and also at the half day combined meeting with the surgeons. A two day post conference workshop on the use of Physical Modalities was run for Full Members, with Jane as the instructor. Her excellence as a speaker and her generosity in donating copies of her lecture materials to the library were appreciated by our members.

  • Catherine Menzies won the Jill Chapman Award for the best clinical paper for “Case-Study:The use of Ring Splints on a 37 year old woman with Psoriatic Arthritis”.
  • Denise O’Connor’s research “A Systematic Review of Non Surgical Treatments of CTS” won her the AHSS Award.

Two things became clear after this excellent conference; the appointment of a local conference organiser is an advantage and devising a joint program with the surgeons is still quite difficult.

AGM: Because the early timing of the conference precluded inclusion of the AGM (which must be held in the last quarter of the calendar year), a Professional Development Forum was held to allow input from members and to decide priorities for PD activities to be run by the AHTA. Under Lyn Miles’ guidance, two priorities were identified:

  1. Development of criteria or a model for formal qualification/recognition.
  2. Development of appropriate PD activities to be organised in addition to annual conferences and local meetings.

A secure financial position made it possible for the AHTA to allocate $5,000 for research activities this year. The successful applicants were:

  1. Ian Dowley: $2,000 for “A Multi-Centre Randomised Clinical Trial Comparing Early Active Motion and Early Passive Motion after Extensor Tendon Repair in Zones 5-8”
  2. Dr Esther May et al. $2,000 for “Evidence-based Practice for Hand Therapy”
  3. Margaret McMahon $1,000 for “An Investigation into the Prevalence of Thumb Problems in Australian Physiotherapists”.

Further refinement and update of the By-Laws was undertaken by the Management Committee, and Celeste Glasgow had a very busy term as Membership Secretary, overseeing lots of applications for membership and also reviewing the requirements for, and maintenance of, Full Membership. The following changes were made:

The time to accrue the Membership requirement for 3,600 hours of clinical contact was extended from 4 years to 5 to assist those therapists whose involvement with hand and upper limb therapy was part time only. CPA Log requirements for maintenance of Membership (24 points in a two year cycle) was adjusted to a total of 18 points: 12 points from continuing education activities and six points for contributions to the profession.

Bev Lang commenced an index of articles published in the AHTA newsletter since its inception, by subject and author, for use by members.

The Library was housed with the Secretariat instead of in a box that had to be shipped from state to state as the office of librarian changed.

Planning commenced with NZAHT to run a Trans Tasman Conference in 2003, with Janet Dindler liaising with Sue Sewell.

Our first AGM by Teleconference was held with members gathering in one location per state, with most taking the opportunity to run some sort of clinical meeting at the same time. Even with election of office bearers on the agenda, the business of the Association can be handled satisfactorily in this manner.

The Oct-Dec issue of the newsletter was delayed because an electrical storm destroyed Bev Lang’s computer equipment, and her workload was dramatically increased because of injuries sustained in dreadful bush fires around Canberra.

Member News: Congratulations to Leesa Gilkey and Terra Branton for achieving their CHT in 2002.


The AHTA Management Committee for 2003 and 2004, elected in October 2002, consisted of:

  • President: Celeste Glasgow
  • Vice President: Judith Morrin
  • Secretary: Ray Hüttenmeister (professional)
  • Treasurer: Sandra Kevill
  • Membership Secretary: Barbara Hall
  • Professional Development Officer: Judith Wilton
  • Librarian/Historian: Alexandra Retallick
  • Newsletter Editor: Bev Lang

Divisional Representatives were: WA: Elizabeth Saleeba, VIC: Jennifer Mathias, QLD: Melissa James, NSW/ACT: Amanda Hughes, TAS: Jenny Ball and SA: Janet Dindler 

Divisional Coordinators were: NSW/ACT: Judy Hunt, VIC: Rebecca Banks, SA: Cathy Minchin, QLD: Jacki Oldham, WA: Elizabeth Saleeba and TAS: Jenny Ball

The concept of a Keynote Address Award, to be made to an Australian Hand Therapist to present a keynote address in the years when we do not have an international speaker at our conference, was approved by the Management Committee. The awardee would be expected to present a 50 minute address on issues of experience, research or philosophy to an annual conference. The value of the award included conference registration, economy airfares to the venue, and a memento of the award to the value of $200.

Education: Judy Colditz came to Sydney and ran a two day course on CMMS plastering technique for stiff hands. She wrote to the newsletter describing the Australian therapists as warm and hospitable, the messiest plasterers and the quickest to catch on to the concept.

The Hand Therapy Certification Exam was offered to therapists outside the USA for the first time. Anne Wajon was invited to participate in exam construction in New York to ensure terminology and questions were relevant to hand therapy in Australia and New Zealand.

Continuing Professional Activity Logs and Guidelines were completed. These are to be used in conjunction with Member renewal forms to document compliance with the requirements for maintenance of Full Membership.

Artistic members were encouraged to have a go at designing a new Logo for the Association.

Member News: This year saw the CHT examinations sat in Australia for the first time. Prior to this year, all therapists had gained certification through examination in the USA. A number of Australian Hand Therapists became certified. Congratulations to Kylie Flynn, Jennie Graetz, Lara Griffiths, Judy Hunt, Ranji Jayawardena, Vanessa Kirkham, Cathy Merry, Jacki Shannon and Julia Wild.

Joint AHTA and NZHTA Conference: In August, we headed for Queenstown New Zealand to a conference entitled “The Cutting Edge”, with guest speaker Roslyn Evans. Roslyn presented for a day and a half on “Wound Healing”, “Dupuytrens Disease”, “Flexor Tendon Rehabilitation”, “ Rehabilitation Techniques for Applying Immediate Active Tension to the Repaired Extensor System”, “Therapeutic Management of Thumb CMC OA”, “Evidence Based Conservative management of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome”, and “Altered Mechanics Dorsally in the Rheumatoid Hand”. She provided detailed notes and reference lists for the proceedings and the 146 delegates received a thorough education on the topics. Other highlights of this conference were the spectacular scenery and the chance to go night skiing. Our NZ colleagues are an energetic and friendly group and our first attempt at a Trans Tasman combination was an outstanding success.

Elizabeth Saleeba won the Jill Chapman Prize for her paper on “A Dynamic Flexion Splint and Functional Blocking Splint for the Distal Interphalangeal Joint” and Bev Trevithick won the AHSS Research Prize for her paper on “Muscle Recruitment in Normal Shoulders during Kayak Stroke”.


First APFSHT Conference: The first Asian Pacific Federation of Societies for Hand Therapists (APFSHT) meeting was held in Japan in November. Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, UK and Australia were represented and interest in joining was indicated by Taiwan, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Sri Lanka and New Zealand. Rosemary Prosser was elected Secretary, and Celeste Glasgow prepared a DVD on Hand Therapy in Australia, which was presented to the meeting.

IFSHT Conference: The IFSHT conference was held in Edinburgh with 17 Australians in attendance. The surgeons were meeting in Hungary but there was no therapy association to organise a meeting of therapists there, so the UK volunteered. Papers were presented by Jacki Shannon (Opsite for Hypersensitivity), Dr Andrea Bialocerkowski (Wrist Outcome measures), Prof. Bruce Conolly (Stiff-Hand Surgery) Judith Boscheinen-Morrin (CMMS and the Stiff Hand), Rosemary Prosser (Education Workshop, Dupuytrens Contracture management, and 2007 Sydney promotion). Plenary sessions included an address by pioneer surgeon Dr Kit Wynn Parry on the Psychosocial needs of Patients with Hand Injuries, Pain and its Management. The most unusual paper was about the use of snail slime for scars in South America! The dinner was a Scottish Ceilidh and the first IFSHT silent auction raised $1,400 for sponsorship of therapists from disadvantaged countries to attend IFSHT meetings.

AHTA Conference and AGM: The Perth conference was held in Fremantle in November. Our invited speaker was Birgitta Rosen from Sweden, where ground-breaking research with Prof Lundborg is being carried out in Sensory rehabilitation of the hand. In 2000 Birgitta completed her PhD thesis entitled “The Sensational Hand: Clinical Assessment after Nerve Repair”. She presented keynote addresses on “Rehabilitation after Peripheral Nerve Injury: Defining the Problem”, "Model Instrument for Documentation of the Outcome after Nerve Repair”, “A Five Year Follow up after Median and Ulnar Nerve Repair”, “Sensory Re-Education Today and Tomorrow: Evolving Concepts and New Strategies” and “Sensory Re-Education using Artificial Sensibility to Improve Sensory Recovery after nerve repair”. There were many varied free papers and a segment on Tendon Issues. Birgitta conducted two post conference workshops on Assessment of Hand Function (Basic and Advanced). The conference committee of Judith Wilton, Alex Retallick, Emma Binns and Leanne Breen, did a great job.

  • Judith Morrin won the Jill Chapman Prize for her paper on “Pre-Triggering as a Consequence of Acute Trauma: Diagnosis, Complications and Management”.
  • Elizabeth Saleeba and Gary Alison won the AHSS Research paper Award for “Patient Compliance and Spontaneous Movements while following an Early Active Motion Protocol after a Flexor Tendon Repair: A Research in Progress.”

At the AGM, Life Membership was bestowed on Judith Morrin, Judith Wilton and Janet Dindler. The Judiths were honoured for their contribution to Hand Therapy body of knowledge, both having published books on the subject. Janet was honoured for her contribution to the development of the AHTA as an organization.

The AHTA Research Fund granted Celeste Glasgow $1,500 towards her project, ‘Predictors of Outcome in Mobilizing Splinting Post Hand Trauma” and Nicola Massey-Westropp received $900 towards the development of an ”Electronic Grip Meter”.

Member News: Three therapists gained certification in the second year of the CHT in Australia. Congratulations to Jenny Ball, Teresa Squires and Belinda Hession.


The AHTA Management Committee elected at the Perth AGM consisted of:

  • President: Anne Wajon
  • Vice President: Rosemary Prosser
  • Secretary: Ray Hüttenmeister
  • Treasurer: Trish Holmes
  • Membership Secretary: Barbara Hall
  • Professional Development Officer: Kerry Stingel
  • Marketing & Communication: Suzanne Caragianis
  • Librarian/Historian: Janet Dindler
  • Newsletter Editor: Jennie Graetz

Divisional Representatives were: WA: Leanne Breen, VIC: Megan Fitzgerald, QLD: Celeste Glasgow, NSW/ACT: Amanda Hughes, TAS: Jenny Ball and SA: Helen Burfield

Divisional Coordinators: NSW/ACT: Vanessa Kirkham, VIC: Kerry White, SA: Kathy Minchin, QLD: Jo-An Atkinson, WA: Jeannie Davis and TAS: Jenny Ball

Conference and AGM: The Conference and AGM were held in October at Coogee Beach, on one of Sydney’s wonderful beaches. The theme was “Hands On Trauma”. An important part of the program was a segment in which members and invited speakers described their experiences providing therapy services or education in our neighbouring countries. Jan Rice (wound care expert) talked about her role as part of an Interplast/AusAid medical team in Indonesia after the earth quakes and tsunami, which devastated Bande Aceh in December 2005 and Nias in March 2006. Assoc. Prof. Graham Gumley talked about “Hand Trauma in Cambodia”, Assoc Prof W B Conolly talked about “Laos: The Hand Experience” and Jenny Ball told us about “An Invitation to Educate in the Pacific”.

Other sessions included Dr. Doug Wheen speaking on “Surgical management of Complex Metacarpal and Phalangeal Fractures” with free papers on that topic, Dr James Masson, Angela Chew/Rene Hamilton and Chris Basten on "Replants and their Challenges".

Workshops included Wound Care (Jan Rice), Second Skin Garments (Lisa Hannen & Melissa Slack), The Thrower’s Elbow (Rod Whitely), Soft Splinting (Bev Quee, Surgical Synergies) Synthetic Casting (Smith & Nephew) and Kinesiotaping (Thuy Bridges, Sportstek).

Dinner at the Deep Blue Bistro, Lawn Bowls at Clovelly Bowling Club and a trip to local markets were enjoyed by all and the quiz during dinner was great fun. Thanks to the organising committee of Cathy Merry, Amanda Hughes, Kylie Flynn, Lara Griffiths, Theresa Brosnan, Jacki Shannon, Vanessa Kirkham, Elizabeth Ward and Jennie Graetz.

Helen Burfield won the AHSS Prize for Best Research Paper for “A New Management Approach Emphasizing Functional Stability of the Lateral Elbow for Extensor Tendinosis: A Single Case Study”.

Sue Shaw won the Jill Chapman prize for best Clinical Paper for “Whirlpool - Cleaning Up Our Act”

Honorary Membership of the AHTA was bestowed on Cynthia Nicol for her contribution to the AHTA and Hand Therapy.

Education: By 2005, 32 Australian and five New Zealand therapists had passed CHT exams held annually in November. The Australian steering committee for the HTCC consisted of Anne Wajon, Hamish Anderson, Jenny Ball, Suzanne Caragianis, Barbara Hall, Rosemary Prosser, Cath Reid, and Wilma Walsh.

As part of the AHTA’s efforts to assist members with formal education towards Full Membership, Judith Wilton was commissioned to develop Certificate Level Splinting Courses: Level 1 (Static or Immobilising) and Level 2 (Mobilising; Dynamic and Serial Progressive). The first Static Splinting courses were run in Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne and Canberra during the year, with Judith as the presenter and various other therapists undergoing training as future presenters. These included Cathy Merry, Bev Lang, Barbara Hall, Melissa James, Megan Fitzgerald, Catherine Reid, Birgit Svens, Kathy Minchin, and Jenny Ball.

Member News: Congratulations to Rebecca Crowley and Gretel Evans for attaining CHT accreditation.


Level 1 Splinting Courses were run in Brisbane and Adelaide, and Level 2 courses were run in Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane. By the end of 2006, 117 Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists had attended an AHTA Splinting Certificate course.

The Conference and AGM were held in November in Adelaide at the National Wine Centre, with wonderful weather, allowing delegates to enjoy the Botanic Garden setting during breaks. The theme was “Getting a Grip on Arthritis“. Invited speakers included Professor Les Cleland (leading researcher into omega 3 fatty acids), Dr Nicola Massey-Westropp (OT, PhD on Rh A), Professor Paul Rolan (pain management), Dr Susanna Proudman (Schleroderma), surgeons Michael Sandow, Phil Griffin and Randall Sach, engineer Darius Chapman, dietician Dr. Evangeline Mantzioris, physiotherapist Lynne Haysman and Rheumatoid Arthritis survivor and educator, Jenny Bennett. Organising Splinting workshops in the week before the conference significantly increased the workload for the conference committee of Margaret McMahon, Kathy Minchin, Helen Burfield, and Sandra Williamson, but the end result was a financial and social success as well as a very thorough look at arthritis and its management from fish oil to Tai Chi.

Margareta Persson (IFSHT President from Sweden) ran a splinting workshop focussing on the Rheumatoid Hand on the day prior to the conference, to raise funds to sponsor delegates from disadvantaged countries to attend the 2007 international IFSHT/IFSSH congress in Sydney.

Social events of the conference included a Wine Tasting Competition (Wilma, Megan and Helen were best!) and Dinner at the Museum of SA among ancient fossils, at which popular retiring professional Secretary, Ray Hüttenmeister was farewelled and thanked for his important contribution to the development of the AHTA during nine years of service. Ray will be remembered for the depth of his knowledge of association management, his patient guidance of successive management committees, the delightful tone of his voice and his charming good humour. Ray’s ability to develop a data base and internet website was invaluable as the Association grew rapidly and ran its business by national Management Committee teleconferences. Total membership grew from 94 to 279 during Ray’s tenure.

Lorelei and David Broadbent of Agenda Management were appointed to be the next secretariat of the AHTA, and were “thrown in at the deep end” with the additional challenge of involvement in the organization of the international congress to be held in Sydney in March 2007.

AHSS Prize: Jill Thiele “Functional Wrist Splinting for People with Chronic Musculoskeletal Wrist Conditions”.

Jill Chapman Prize: Ben Cunningham and Lisa O’Brien "CMC Arthritis and Carpal Tunnel: The Chicken or the Egg?”

Carolyn Whitson was awarded the best clinical paper contribution to the newsletter in 2006 for her paper on Epidemiology study of hand injuries in Netball.

The Management Committee elected for 2006-2008 at the Adelaide AGM consisted of:

  • President: Barbara Hall
  • Vice President: Elizabeth Ward
  • Treasurer: Trish Holmes
  • Membership Secretary: Maslyn Cullen
  • Professional Development: Kerry Stingel
  • Librarian/Historian: Bev Trevithick assisted by Wilma Walsh
  • Marketing & Communication: Karen Fitt
  • Newsletter Editor: Jennie Graetz

Divisional Representatives were: QLD/NT: Christina Harwood, TAS: Jenny Ball, WA: Leanne Breen, VIC: Fiona Moate, NSW/ACT: Lara Griffiths and SA: Helen Burfield

Divisional Coordinators were: QLD/NT: Leesa Gilkey, WA: Leanne Breen, VIC: Kate Love, NSW/ACT: Julia Wild, TAS: Jenny Ball and SA: Kathy Minchin

This year saw two hand therapists become AHTA accredited. Congratulations to Beth Taylor and Clare Maple-Brown.


2007 continued with an enormous workload for the dedicated committee involved in the combined IFSHT and IFSHS meeting in Sydney March 11-14th. The host AHTA organising committee of Cathy Merry, John Breckenridge, Tracey Clark and the scientific committee led by Anne Wajon and Rosemary Prosser and all the volunteers worked hard over the last 3 years in organising this outstanding conference.

Papers presented by members: Jane Aarons, Hamish Anderson, Jo-An Atkinson, Jenny Ball, Susan Caragianis, Ben Cunningham, Judith Davidson, Amy Geach, Celeste Glasgow, Barbara Hall, Judith Hunt, Annette Leong, Margaret McMahon, Cathy Merry, Judith Morrin, Lisa O’Brien, Rosemary Overton, Rosemary Prosser, Bev Trevithick, Wilma Walsh, Nicola Massy- Westropp and Judith Wilton.

There were pre and post conference workshops on Pain presented by David Butler and the Shoulder presented by Craig Allingham which added a great balance to the conference program.

Education - Courses during 2007:

  • Level 1 splinting course in Melbourne 18 &19 August, thanks to Judith Wilton and Megan Fitzgerald. Level 2 splinting course in Adelaide on 25 & 26 August, with thanks to Judith Wilton and Kathy Minchin.
  • There were two Manual oedema mobilisation (MEM) courses with internationally-acclaimed Sandy Artzberger, held in Brisbane on 13 &14 October and in Perth on 20 & 21 October, coordinated by Kerry Stingel.
  • The executive communicated regularly by teleconference and major decisions on the future of the AHTA were directed by the president, Barbara Hall and a five-year strategic plan, as a guide for the future direction of the AHTA, was developed.

Definition of AHTA: AHTA is a not-for-profit professional association comprising Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists from across Australia who specialise in hand and upper limb therapy.

AHTA Mission: to advance the professional knowledge and skills of members and to represent and promote the speciality of hand and upper limb therapy.

The 10 key areas of the strategic plan: Advocacy, Communication, Education, Finances, Governance, Knowledge and Resources, Membershjp, Promotion, Research and State and Territory Affairs.

There was major upheaval in September, when the secretariat, Agenda Management based in Brisbane, resigned. They had taken over from Ray Hüttenmeister on his retirement in January this year. However, a new administrator was found in WA, Maureen Pezalli, who gallantly took up the reigns of office and the AHTA’s executive could then work with her to cause as little upheaval in the Association’s affairs as possible. Ray agreed to work on a casual basis to update our web site.

The AGM was held by teleconference on 27 October: Honorary Memberships were awarded to Ray Hüttenmeister, our previous long-serving secretariat for his dedication and commitment to the AHTA and solicitor Matt Woods for his valuable assistance in all legal matters.

  • WA - Leanne Breen resigned as Divisional rep and was replaced by Bethanie Trevenen
  • Vic - Fiona Moate resigned and was replaced by Angela Chu.
  • A new incentive for members was initiated by Liz Ward. All members will have access to the Proquest database with renewal of membership for 2008.

Divisional Interest group meetings during 2007:

  • Queensland: Dr Ken Cutbush presented on the elbow, Dr Bayley on grafts and flaps, Angela Herde on her time in Cambodia and Sven Rhors a practical demonstration on soft tissue. Lynne Miles presented an update on soft tissue management
  • Wilma Walsh, Chris Harwood, Susan Peters and Anita Clerk presented papers at the Queensland Surgery Association’s conference at Noosa in November.

Divisional Information:

  • Chris Harwood, Kerry Stingel and Bev Trevithick, as executive members of the AHTA, were invited to attend a QLD WorkCover collaborative meeting to discuss responsibilities of hand therapists to changing regulations, OT assistants, clinical guidelines and costs of incidentals. Qld is currently the only state where WorkCover has a separate hand therapy payment category. This was revised and conditions added to the regulations as to who could claim payment for ‘hand therapy’. As it stands, only those therapists who are Full Members of the AHTA are able to claim the hand therapy rate.
  • South Australia: Nicola Massey-Westropp presented on research in practice, Janet Dindler presented on CMC OA, Sue Caragianis, Karen Burford, Chris Drury and Lorien Coff presented at the Adelaide Hand Surgeons Meeting, and Helen Burfield presented to post grad students on sports injuries.
  • Western Australia: a variety of case studies were presented by members, Kinesiotaping of the upper limb was presented by 2 local physiotherapists and the Sandy Artzberger course finished off the year.
  • NSW: a variety of case studies were presented by members, the IFSHT meeting and Bronwyn Ackerman presented her work on focal dystonia related to musicians.
  • Victoria: Hamish Anderson presented on management of transmetacarpal amputation/replantation and other meetings included presentations on rheumatology and surgery, presentation skills, evidence based practice and functional outcome measures.

AHTA member involvement overseas: In May, Jane Aarons and Alison Hardman travelled to Bangladesh as volunteers for Interplast Australia. They lectured to staff and OT students at the centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed in Dhaka, on what is hand therapy?, wound healing, scar and burn management, oedema control, compression therapy, nerve injuries, arthritis management and basic splinting. The second week they spent at Dhaka medical college educating the staff, PT and medical registrars on prevention of contracture following burns, and establishing a referral system to the rehab centres for therapy.

Aus Aid will fund a two-year project to send two therapists (two per year for the next two years) to assist with the development of a hand therapy service in the country, forming links between the hospitals and developing a hand therapy module to be taught as a fourth-year elective in Dhaka. Melbourne University will be involved in this.

In June, Wilma Walsh travelled Shenzhen, China. Wilma was the keynote speaker and AHTA representative at the ‘Hand therapy Forum and Workshop’ organised and sponsored by the Hong Kong Institute of OT. Wilma spent two days in Hong Kong visiting three of the hospital-based hand therapy centres. Papers Wilma presented were; The development of hand therapy, educating the hand therapist and passive mobilisation of the hand and upper limb. Over the next five days Wilma conducted workshops on flexor and extensor tendon injuries, nerve injuries, hand fractures and splinting the thumb.

Member News:

  • Anita Clerke was awarded her PhD in March. The title of her thesis was “Factors Influencing Grip Strength in Teenagers”. Congratulations Anita.
  • Hamish Anderson won the ward for the best article submitted to the AHTA newsletter in 2007. His paper was on Dupuytren’s disease.
  • This year saw a number of hand therapists gain certification via passing the CHT exam. Congratulations to Katie Anderson, Louisa Lenz, Sally Mayfield, Alicia McInnes, Dion Sandoz, Mark Washyn and Katie Whittle. 
  • From Qld; Katie Whittle, Kate Anderson, Louise Thompson, SA; Mark Washyn, NT; Sally Mayfield, NSW; Victoria Tricardos, Lauren Miller, Dion Sandoz, Alicia Mc Innes and Vic; Jennifer Smith.


Executive: The executive continued to work under the revised strategic plan with two-monthly meetings during the year.

The added advocacy portfolio was taken up by Judith Wilton, Celeste Glasgow and Janet Dindler.

The AHTA became an ‘Australian Registrable Body’ under ASIC. This was a legal requirement as we were operating outside Queensland which is our State of incorporation. It is also a requirement under the Incorporation Act to have a secretary in Queensland. The AHTA accountant, Norman Hoare agreed that his office can be named as the AHTA Qld office and Anita Clerke is the current Qld secretary.

The AHTA By-Laws were changed and these changes registered with both ASIC and the Qld Dept of Fair Trading. Current By Laws are available to members on the AHTA web site.

Proquest: Unfortunately Proquest removed the American Journal of Hand Surgery, JHT, and Hand Clinics from the list on instruction from Elsevier the Publisher after AHTA had contracted for the year. As it was a consideration that the hand journals be included in the accessing of online journals for members of the AHTA, Science Direct is now the current provider for journal access to members. Because of the expense of having access the annual AHTA membership fees were increased to cover this.

Education: There was a Level 1 splinting course in Perth and Brisbane in June and a Level 2 in Brisbane in November.

The AHTA national conference, on Occupational Injuries, was in Melbourne on 24-26 October, with a pre conference workshop on Myofacial Pain Syndrome of the Upper Limb conducted by Andrew Gallagher. The Victorian branch of the AHTA hosted a workshop on 23 October on The Musicians Hand - culprit or end point of dysfunction? conducted by Bronwyn Ackerman.

Congratulations to Karen Fitt, Megan Fitzgerald and their team who put together a successful and challenging conference. There were 270 registrations including overseas registrants. The AHTA provided complimentary registrations to the delegates from Bangladesh.

Key speakers were Professor Bill Vicenzino, and Andrew Gallagher and invited speakers were Dr Bronwyn Ackerman, Andrea Bialocerkowski, Dr Peter Bragge, Ania Ciechanowjki, Anne Daly, Dr Phillipa Francis, David Harraway, Bruce Hildebrand, Will Howard, Jessie Lam, Dr Steven Miller, Cathy Reid, Wilma Walsh, Judith Morrin, Professor Wayne Morrison, Claire Nicol, Dr John Salmon, Jane Rooney and Cath Reid.

Divisional Meetings:

Queensland WorkCover issues: Megan Gandfors is the current AHTA rep on the QComp Allied Health Advisory Committee. To be paid under the hand therapy code, which they are regulating, you need to be a Full Member of the AHTA or achieve the following;

Minimum two years in hand therapy with minimum of 1000 hours in clinical practice, evidence of continuing education, evidence of working towards Full Membership and letter of referral from a hand therapist or orthopaedic surgeon.

Qld IG presentations during the year included oedema management and members attended the QHSS conference at the Gold Coast in November.

A hand interest group, coordinated by Kerry Stingel, has been formed in Cairns to assist those therapists in North Qld to have better access to education.

South Australia Presentations by Sandra Kay on distal radial fractures, Kelly Hanna on FCE’s, and topics on burns, outcome measures and ‘bucket shoulders’, made up the year’s interest group meetings. Members also attended the Australian Orthopaedic Association’s Hand and Wrist conference in Adelaide.

Western AustraliaPresenters during the year included, Rohan Page on tendon transfers, Heather Selfe and Karen Marthins on Explain Pain feedback from a course by David Butler, Anna Baker on thumb MCP ligament injuries, Judith Wilton on coban wrapping, Ceri Pulham on her trip to China, Peter Hales and Sandra Keevil on MACI graft for intra -articular MC injury, and Mark Allison on wrist instability.

NSW Presentations for 2008 included extensor tendons, splints, complex trauma and writers’ cramp.

Victoria The Victorian group were not too busy organising the conference to have additional presentations during the year. These included taping for football injuries, attending the Annual Victorian Hand Surgery Society meeting, and hosting a workshop prior to the conference on musicians’ injuries.

Member News:

  • Amy Geach and Tanya Cole attended the Eurohand Conference 2008 in Lausanne, Switzerland.
  • Personal highlights included presentations by Judith Colditz on intrinsic muscles of the hand and Birgitta Rosen on Cortical reorganisation and improved sensibility as a result of cutaneous anaesthesia of the forearm, Lynne Feehan’s paper on early controlled motion following extra-articular hand fractures and Corrianne Van Velze on OA thumb.
  • Catherine Pritchard became a CHT by passing the examination.

AGM Awards:

Jenny Ball was awarded Life Membership for her contribution to the profession both as a hand therapist and an AHTA member.

Jenny was also awarded the AHSS prize for the best research paper. The title was Apophyseal injuries in teenage athletes; two cases of overuse injury to the central slip insertion of the PIP joint.

Sandra Kay won the Jill Chapman award for best clinical paper titled ‘Does an advice and exercise program improve outcome after a distal radius fracture?’

Best Poster was awarded to Rebekah Beard, Ted Brown and Lisa O’Brien for the poster titled ‘Evaluating functional recovery after acute hand injury.

The new Management Committee elected for 2009-2010 at the Melbourne AGM consisted of:

  • President: Beth Taylor
  • Vice President: Elizabeth Ward
  • Treasurer: Helen Burfield
  • Qld secretary, Knowledge and resources portfolio: Anita Clerke
  • Communication portfolio: Amy Geach
  • Membership Secretary: Chris Harwood
  • Deputy Membership Secretary: Helen Walsh
  • Education/Professional Development: Katie Anderson
  • Marketing & Promotion: Belinda Hession
  • Deputy Marketing & Promotion: Rebecca Crowley  

Divisional Representatives were: QLD/NT: Joanne O'Sullivan, TAS: Teresa Squires, WA: Bethanie Trevenen, VIC: Hamish Anderson, NSW/ACT: Lara Griffiths and SA: Janet Dindler  

Divisional Coordinators were: QLD/NT: Leesa Gilkey, VIC: Judy Hartman/Katie Anjou, NSW/ACT: Michael Ward, SA: Mark Washyn and WA: Bethanie Trevenen

Mentors were: QLD/NT: Joy Hanna, VIC: Sue Doman, WA: Judith Wilton/Sally Flavel, NSW/ACT: Judith Morrin/Cathy Merry, SA: Suzanne Caragianis and All Regional Areas: Barbara Watson   


Membership: The 2009 AGM reported 353 members in the AHTA, with 125 Full Members, 212 Associates, 5 Honorary Members, and 6 Life Members. There were 43 new Associates and 16 upgrades to Full Members since the 2008 AGM.

AHTA Annual Conference & AGM: In 2009, the Annual AHTA Conference and AGM were held in Brisbane, Queensland. The theme of the conference was ‘Pearls and Pitfalls’. The conference was well attended and boasted some wonderful clinical workshops, and presentation of papers. Invited Guest Speakers included Dr Greg Couzens and Dr Mark Robinson. The Keynote Address was presented by Dr Mark Ross.

The award for Best Research Paper was presented to Lauren Miller from Sydney Hospital Hand Therapy Unit, NSW, for her paper titled: “Active Range of Motion Following Surgical Fixation of Finger Proximal Phalanx Fractures”. Amy Geach (Riverina Hand Therapy, Wagga Wagga, NSW) won the Jill Chapman award for Best Clinical Paper and the Therapist Support Laboratory (TSL) award for Best Overall Paper, for her talk on “Pearls and Pitfalls of Marketing a Hand Therapy Services”.

Barbara Watson from Queensland was awarded AHTA Life Membership at the AHTA annual AGM for her ongoing passion and dedication to the area of hand therapy and her contributions to the development of the profession.

The organising committee of 2009 performed a fantastic job in making the conference such a success. Special thanks to Susan Peters, Lyn Miles, Megan Gandfors and Kate Harkin for their tireless work and enthusiasm.

AHTA Membership Involvement Overseas:Jess Lam (from NSW) was awarded the best free paper at the New Zealand Annual Hand Therapy Conference in Tauranga. Jess presented her paper on “Kinesio Tex Taping: An Alternative Approach to Overcoming Forearm Stiffness.

The combined ASSH and ASHT Bridges Conference in San Francisco in September was attended by Suzanne Caragianis (from South Australia), who reported some highlights to the South Australia Interest Group.

AHTA's new logo launched:

The Marketing / Promotions team of Belinda Hession and Rebecca Crowley were also busy throughout 2009 creating a new AHTA logo and website. The new AHTA logo was launched at the 2009 AGM.

Professional Education

AHTA Professional Development offered a number of opportunities throughout 2009. These included a Level 1 splinting workshop in Newcastle, Level 2 splinting workshops in Perth and Melbourne, the Annual Conference in Brisbane and an online course in Physical Agent Modalities. Interest group meetings were held in each State.

Katie Anderson and the Education Subcommittee were active in setting up the online modalities course, an analysis of education needs of AHTA members and the commencement of developing a Trauma Workshop.

Divisional Meetings:

Queensland A number of Queensland Special Interest Group meetings were held which included the psychological issues related to upper limb trauma with Dr Rice,“Things you wanted to know but were too afraid to ask” with Dr Huang and X-rays of the Upper Limb with Dr Gervais.

South Australia South Australia presented the topics of “Mechanics of Ulnar Drift at the MCP Joint”, “Hand Dysfunction in Diabetes”, PIP Joint, PIN entrapment, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and Extensor Tendon Rehabilitation as part of their Special Interest Group Meetings.

Western Australia The March meeting consisted of a debate on the pros and cons of Dynamic Splinting v Serial Progressive Splinting. A strapping workshop for hand, wrist and elbow injuries was also held. The 2nd annual combined meeting with the WA Hand Surgery Society occurred in August and covered a variety of topics. The final meeting discussed treatment of intra-articular distal humerus fractures, an overview of the brachial plexus, and Inter-X and its use in hand therapy.

New South Wales Dr Grace Warren presented on her 50 years of experience in treating patients with leprosy, including surgical techniques and post-operative management of patients living in third world countries. There was also a presentation on the logistics of a paperless office. Dr John Korber demonstrated ultrasound assessment of the hand and wrist and Dr Yee presented on TFCC injuries and management.

Victoria The Victorian Special Interest Group covered extensor tendon management, distal radius fracture management, replantation, ulnar sided wrist pain, radial sided wrist instabilities, and MCP joint replacements.

Member News This year also brought tremendous grief for the AHTA with the tragic passing of Leanne Breen, an inspiring hand therapist, wife, mother, friend and colleague in November 2009. Leanne was a dynamic and energetic member of our profession. She was a Conference Organiser in 2004 and WA divisional representative for 2 years. Leanne presented at the combined hand surgery/therapy meeting in August 2009, giving an indication of her strength and determination. Special thanks to Kerry White, who provided a beautiful and moving tribute to Leanne in the AHTA newsletter.

Congratulations to John Breckenridge and Susan Carroll, who passed the CHT examination.


Membership The 2010 AGM reported 130 Full Members, 222 Associates, 6 Life Members and 2 Honorary Members. By the end of 2010 there were 136 Full Members, 219 Associates, 7 Life Members and 4 Honorary Members, with 10 pending Associate applications and 3 upgrading to Full Members.

AHTA Annual Conference and AGM In 2010, the Annual AHTA Conference and AGM were held in Perth, Western Australia. The conference had the theme Multi-trauma and was exceptionally well organised with a strong scientific program. Congratulations and thank you to the organising committee for all your work.

The Jill Chapman award for Best Clinical Paper was presented to Barbara Hall and Brent Byrne for their paper “How Traumatic is it to be waitlisted?”. Zoe Milner was awarded the Australian Hand Surgery Society Prize for her case presentation of "Hand Function following Brand Transfer". The Inaugural Leanne Breen Memorial Award for the best poster was awarded to Erika Lassig for “Myth Busters - Does smoking affect wound
healing?”. This award was presented with Leanne's family in attendance.

2011-2012 Management Committee

President: Joy Hanna
Vice President: Celeste Glasgow
Treasurer: Vanessa Kirkham
Queensland Secretary: Beverley Trevithick
Knowledge and Resources: Belinda Hession
Communication: Amy Geach
Membership: Helen Fitzgerald
Membership: Lynette Miles
Education/Professional Development: Cara Gilbert
Marketing and Promotions: Susan Peters

Divisional Representatives  WA Joelene Colliton, VIC Hamish Anderson, QLD/NT Margo Coffey, NSW/ACT Cathy Merry, TAS Teresa Squires, SA Janet Dindler
New strategic planning committee developed (Beth Taylor, Sarah Dixon, Liz Ward and Belinda Hession)

Historian Adrian Jollow kindly accepted the role of AHTA Historian and has updated the AHTA History for 2009 and 2010. We thank him for his ongoing contribution to this invaluable role. The AHTA wishes to acknowledge the huge effort, excellent memory, and resourcefulness of Janet Dindler for providing us with the first 25 years of the AHTA's history.

Website Launch

The new AHTA website was launched in August 2010, concluding many months of hard work and negotiations by all involved. A special note of appreciation to Belinda Hession, who was instrumental at every stage of the process. The website offers greater access to members in a number of areas and should be an important part in the future of the AHTA.

Professional Education This year saw the development and implementation of the certificate workshop in Hand Trauma which had Level 1 and 2 in May (Sydney, NSW) and Level 1 as a pre-conference workshop in October (Perth,WA). Katie Anderson and the Education Subcommittee have excelled in organising this workshop and Ben Cunningham presented a very high quality, well-organised and comprehensive workshop. In addition to the Hand Trauma workshops,there were a number of Professional Development activities throughout the year including splinting workshops and online courses. These included:
• Level 1 Splinting Workshop in May (Cairns, Queensland)
• Level 1 Splinting Workshop in August (Adelaide, South Australia)
• Level 2 Splinting Workshop in November (Brisbane, Queensland)

A new online course “Wrist Secrets” was offered in addition to the Physical Agent Modalities course. Each state also had interest group meetings throughout the year

Divisional Meetings

Queensland Alison Taylor presented a kinesiotaping workshop in March 2010 whilst Lyn Miles presented on wrist reactive muscle activation and dart thrower’s motion in July 2010. PIP joint replacements and IFSHT Conference feedback was presented by Joy Hanna, Lessa Gilkey and Christina Harwood. The December presentation was on Traumatic Hand Injuries and presented by Cherie Aceti and Emma Taylor.

South Australia In May, an anatomy lab session at the University of Adelaide provided excellent revision of upper limb anatomy. In June, Janet Dindler reported on the first international NOI Group Neuromatrix and Neuroplasticity Conference in Nottingham (UK). Other meetings covered exercise and soft-splinting, CRPS and a review of 2009 conference workshops.
Western Australia Western Australia started a new format for interest group meetings, where members from different hospitals and private practices were allocated a meeting. They were responsible for the topic and it?s structure. The first presentation was on anatomy of extensor tendons, clinical reasoning for treatment choices. In May, there was a presentation on CRPS and in July a combined meeting with WA Hand Surgery Society. In October the AGM and National Conference was held in Perth, and in November there were talks on proprioception, scapho-lunate instability and EPL repairs.
New South Wales This year saw a number of guest speakers presenting to the NSW Interest group. Dr Rob Boland presented on issues related to Workcover and physiotherapy management plans, and later in the year on carpal tunnel syndrome. Dr Nick Smith presented on cmc joint surgery. Hand therapists presented on basal thumb joint disease, evidence based approach to conservative management and post-operative management and outcomes. In October, Dr Robert Adler presented on current thoughts and management strategies in CRPS. A kinesiotape workshop also provided a great opportunity to explore this approach to manage a number of soft-tissue conditions of the upper limb.
Victoria Interest group meetings and workshops were well attended. A taping workshop was presented in April by Steve Galloway and Hamish Anderson, and in May a number of therapists presented on lateral epicondylitis. An anatomy wet-lab and plastering session was possibly the highlight of the year, however the hand therapy and marketing night was very informative.

Member news The Certified Hand Therapy examinations saw Emma Carr, Margo Coffey, Virginia Cartwright, Jessie Lam, Florence Schanzer, and Stacey Perkins beome CHTs.

AHTA Membership Involvement Overseas

This year saw ongoing committment of AHTA members in philanthropic activities in countries such as Burma, Fiji and Vietnam. These trips provide education and training to local staff to help with rehabilitation of the hand and upper limb.

The 2010 International Federation of Societies for Hand Therapy Congress was held in Orlando, Florida in June 2010, and was well represented by Australian therapists. Joy Hanna chaired a session on joint replacements, Hamish Anderson was involved in a wrist instability panel, and Lisa O'Brien presented high quality talks on ‘Adherence to therapeutic splint wear in adults with acute upper limb injuries: a systematic review’ and ‘Patient experience of distraction splinting for complex finger fracture dislocations’. The line-dancing was enjoyed by one and all.

The Philadelphia Hand Rehabilitation Foundation 2010 symposium was represented by Wilma Walsh and Anita Clerke, with Wilma Walsh an invited speaker. Wilma gave three excellent presentations that provided some new and challenging concepts for the delegates.

The New Zealand Association of Hand Therapists Annual Conference was held in September in Auckland. Rosemary Prosser was a keynote speaker for the Hand Trauma - Excellence in Rehabilitation themed conference.

The first International NOI Group Neuromatrix and Neuroplasticity Conference was in Nottingham UK in April 2010. Janet Dindler attended the three day program and found it excellent.


Click here to download a copy of the AHTA Annual Report 2011


Click here to download a copy of the AHTA Annual Report 2012


Click her to download a copy of the AHTA Annual Report 2013


Click here to download a copy of the AHTA Annual Report 2014


Click here to download a copy of the AHTA Annual Report 2015


Click here to download a copy of the AHTA Annual Report 2016