As an association, the AHTA considers it a great privilege to be able to support volunteers, and help share knowledge with other therapists around the world. Volunteering is very rewarding on many personal and professional levels and we encourage members to be involved.
Emilie Myers is a Sydney based Hand Physiotherapist who started volunteering as a student, has worked in rural India and was the clinical supervisor in India for the University of Sydney. Emilie has spent the last 17 years working in Fiji with Orthopaedic Outreach.
Emilie's time in Fiji has involved over 20 trips to Lautoka & Ba Hospital as well as two teaching trips to Suva. She travels with her husband, who is a hand surgeon and their two young children.
Emilie co-ordinates a large (14+) Hand Surgical team from Sydney. The team also includes Hand therapists as well as students. She liaises with the local Physiotherapists, and all other relevant surgical staff in Fiji. Donations are gathered in NSW and packed by the team to be freighted ahead.
The logistics are complex and vary from area to area. In Fiji, volunteers need to be locally registered, and the relevant local staff must approve of and be fully informed of the trip. Emilie organises the patients for outpatient clinics and relevant surgical cases are booked. A digital clinical log is set up for the Orthopaedic Outreach volunteers to use for their record keeping. The focus is on local teaching and assisting with the caseload in any way we can.
Emilie is committed to assisting volunteers in any way she can. She has run an audit of AHTA volunteers in the past, and she encourages the sharing of information to make the volunteering process as effective as possible.
While Emilie’s personal experience is with Orthopaedic Outreach, other organisations such as Interplast do also take Hand therapists from time to time.
If you are interested in volunteering, get in touch with Emilie anytime by email, and she will assist you.