Speakers for ADAPT 2022

Leslie Angama-Mueller

Physical Rehabilitation Specialist for ICRC

Country: Colombia

Angama, Leslie

Graduated as a physiotherapist in Geneva in 2005, Leslie Angama worked several years in Switzerland in a private practice and hospital, before engaging in humanitarian and development work by joining the International Committee of the Red Cross, where she has been working the last 10 years in diverse settings such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, West and Central Africa and completed her academic background with a master degree in International Public Health at the University of Liverpool in 2014. She has been extensively involved in the design and delivery of training courses on lower-limb amputation and cerebral palsy to physiotherapy students and practitioners and participated as a facilitator in the design of a MOOC on lower-limb amputation in collaboration with Physiopedia in 2015. Currently working as a Physical Rehabilitation Project Manager in Colombia she is collaborating closely with the Ministry of Health in order to develop wheelchair services in the country, and advocates for their inclusion in the National Health plan. She presented in 2015 in the WCPT congress in Singapore “Barriers to accessing rehabilitation services in Lomé, Togo and ways to address them: perspectives from persons with disabilities” and participated in a few research projects.

Lucia Bernhard

Physical Rehabilitation Specialist for ICRC

Country: Central African Republic

Lucia Bernhard is a physiotherapist graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy at the University of Applied Science of Southern Switzerland in 2010 and a master’s in International Cooperation and Development at the Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia in 2012. She has been working for the last 9 years in the humanitarian field with different organizations in various contexts such as: physiotherapist coordinator in Sudan for 2 years working in the pediatric field, Rehabilitation technical advisor in Iraq and Syria after the Islamic State crisis which created displacement of thousands of Iraqi and Syrian people. Since joining the ICRC in 2016, she has been working in acute or protracted conflicts contexts as Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Gaza and currently covering Near and Middle East countries as a regional Physiotherapist Advisor with focus on treatment of war wounded people in hospital settings. She engaged in collaboration with different international and global working groups for the development of online courses with Physiopedia (Cerebral Palsy) Reference manuals (Early rehabilitation in Conflicts and Disasters) and WHO working groups (Package of intervention in Rehabilitation). The consequence of traumatic events on people have become her main field of interest in the last years.

Huib Cornielje

Founding Director, Enablement & Editor-in-Chief DCID Journal

Huib Cornielje a Dutch physiotherapist who started his international experience in South Africa where he worked from 1984-1989 as manager rehabilitation in a rural hospital. During this time he facilitated the development a large comprehensive CBR programme. From 1990 to 1994 he was head of the training unit of the Institute of Urban Primary Health Care (IUPHC) in Alexandra township, where he initiated an urban CBR programme and realised more and more that there is an immense and ongoing need to build capacity of CBR field staff. He obtained a MSc (Com Med), a Higher Diploma in Adult Education and after returning to the Netherlands an MPH.  He was senior lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences Leiden. Since 1999 he is director of Enablement Ltd and involved in capacity building, research and development in the area of disability inclusive development. For the past 2 years he is the editor-in-chief of the Disability CBR and Inclusive Development journal and the chairman of the foundation Cerebral Palsy Africa. 

Zelalem Demeke

RMNH Senior Program Manager, Ethiopia.

Zelalem Dessalegn Demeke (BSc PT, MSc, OT)  is a physiotherapist and occupational therapist with years of experience working with children with neurodevelopmental disabilities, particularly those with cerebral palsy. He’s currently the head of department of occupational therapy at the university of Gondar, Ethiopia. His research and clinical interests are within areas related to Cerebral Palsy rehabilitation and Assistive technology in Low and middle-income countries.

Emma Tebbutt

WHO Global AT Specialist.

Emma has been a technical officer in the WHO assistive technology team since 2015. She is responsible for coordinating the team’s work related to workforce and service delivery. This includes the development of normative guidance and practical tools, such as Training in Assistive Products (TAP), as well as supporting countries to improve access to AT. Emma is a British physio and has been a member of ADAPT for over 15 years. 

Rachael Lowe

Founder & President, Physiopedia

Innovator, explorer, entrepreneur, co-founder of the #1 Physiotherapy website in the world. Following a successful clinical career that culminated with her own group of physiotherapy clinics, Rachael moved into the world of providing online technology solutions for physiotherapists and other health care professionals. In 2008 Rachael established the Physiopedia project with the ambitious goal of providing free and open access to all physiotherapy and physical therapy knowledge to improve global health. Starting small and low key, through her determination, passion and unrelenting energy, Physiopedia is now the largest and most popular physiotherapy related website. It has developed and delivered the world’s largest open-access physiotherapy related courses and the project’s activities are supported by a vibrant and growing community of supporters and contributors. Rachael also co-founded Physiopedia Plus, an online learning platform for Rehabilitation Professionals which supports high standards of rehabilitation practice worldwide.

Eric Weerts

Rehabilitation Specialist, Humanity and Inclusion.

Since 1991, working for NGO  Humanity & Inclusion in the field of project coordination and training on set up of Rehabilitation services in LMIC (South East Asia ). Currently he is a Specialist in  Rehabilitation Services in Emergencies, Armed conflict and Natural Disasters  to support the set the up of rehabilitation care for injured victims. He is based in Brussels, Belgium since July 2012 and travels regularly to projects in Afghanistan, Jordan, Myanmar, Ukraine, Gaza, Congo DRC and Burundi for training and technical support of health workforce and Ministries involved with physical rehabilitation and medical emergencies’ preparedness in humanitarian contexts. Has been working in Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)  projects set up  for more than 20 years in Asia ( Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar) and participation in drafting standards of care in SCI. Eric regularly presents his experiences and work with disabled persons in complex humanitarian settings at conferences, occasional courses  and seminars at Universities and Colleges.

Neelum Zehra

Occupational Therapist

Neelum Zehra is an Occupational Therapist (OT) from Pakistan. She is active both within her member organization as Vice President Finance of the Pakistan Occupational Therapy Association, as well with several international organizations such as World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center of Health and Innovation. Ms. Zehra is also presently the Vice principal / Head of the Department for the Occupational Therapy Department with Ziauddin College of Rehab Sciences in Pakistan. She has a strong clinical passion for helping people regain their occupational performance and confidence in order to participate in their day-to-day activities. She has an impressive hybrid of clinical, teaching and research experience and is enthusiastic about developing curriculums and contributing to rehabilitation knowledge. Ms. Zehra has several publications on the topics of the changing role of OTs, establishing the acute care by OTs in Pakistan as well as the emerging need of OT for global health. With her drive and determination, Ms Zehra is currently completing a Master’s degree in Healthcare Management.

Olha Kovalchuk

Education and Workforce Development Specialist

Olha Kovalchuk is Education and Workforce Development Specialist Consultancy for Learning, Acting and Building for Rehabilitation Systems (ReLAB-HS) in Ukraine. Ms. Olha has PhD degree in Biological Sciences. She held several positions as a Scientist at Scientific Institutions, Lecturer at the Medical University, State Expert of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and has over 30 peer-reviewed publications. Ms. Olha took part in the Open World Program and studied the functioning of medical hospitals and medical education in the USA, including education of rehabilitation professionals. During her work at the Ministry of Health of Ukraine as Acting director of Directorate of Science, Innovation, Education and Personnel, she participated in developing the decree on the continuous professional development of doctors in Ukraine (decree of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine № 446 dated 22.02.2019) and participated in the legislative regulation of rehabilitation professions in Ukraine.

Leslie Gillon

ADAPT Ex-Chair & Global Rehabilitator

I am a British physiotherapist and I graduated with a Masters in Physiotherapy in 2005 at Cardiff University.  I have a broad-based experience gained from a variety of physiotherapy and teaching posts in UK and abroad but specialise in paediatrics and neurology. Having been a lecturer for over 11 years, I am passionate about teaching and training. 

Due to family circumstances, I have only been able to undertake short postings mainly in the Middle East, in Yemen, Jordan, Syria, Palestine but also Tanzania. Visiting a country for a short time, makes you realise the importance of providing training that is culturally relevant and sustainable. We have to ensure that the local people are the principle beneficiaries and that the same people have as much to teach us as we have to offer them. 

I have been part of the inspirational network of ADAPT for many years and was Chair of ADAPT for three years. 

Lesley has worked tirelessly, along with OT frontiers and CTI, as the driving force for the ‘working abroad’ document. This has taken years of collaboration, commitment and hard work. She will be explaining to the audience how best to use this excellent and peer reviewed resource.