Elizabeth Ward - Australia - Treasurer

I have been a Hand Therapist since 2003 after completion of my Masters of Physiotherapy (Hand Therapy) and have been a Registered Physiotherapist since 1985. Over the past 19 years I have been almost continuously involved in and fulfilled various volunteer roles in the Australian Hand Therapy Association.

I have been on the organizing committees of three AHTA National Conferences including this year’s conference and am also part of the Scientific Committee for 2022. At the 2003 National Conference I was awarded the Jill Chapman Award for Best Clinical Paper on Mid Carpal Instability and have presented workshops and lectures nationally and internationally on elbow and wrist injuries in the paediatric athlete.

In 2006 I was elected Vice President of the AHTA and fulfilled this role for 2 terms. In 2010 I took on the role of Chair of the Governance committee and continued in that role till 2014. At the 2014 AGM I was honoured to be awarded Life Membership of the AHTA ‘in recognition of (my) outstanding dedication and commitment to the AHTA’. In 2015 a small group of hand therapists including myself set up a steering committee to develop the credential of ‘AHTA Accredited Hand Therapist’ based on a three-pronged model of 300 hours of clinical education based on 100% assessable standards, 1 year of mentorship, and 3600 hours of hand therapy practice. The AHTA Accredited Hand Therapist credential commenced in January of 2018 , and we established the first ‘Credentialing Council of the AHTA’ in the same year – of which I was a founding member.

I run a busy Physiotherapy and Hand therapy private practice on the Central Coast of NSW, Australia, and am also the President of the NSW Physiotherapy Council. This regulates the conduct and performance of over 10,000 Physiotherapists and students in NSW. I have therefore been involved in governance and leadership over the past 15 years, and am passionate about clinical leadership, and ensuring that health practitioners can work safely and competently at the top of their clinical scope of practice.

One of my other roles is as a Director on the Board of a Primary Health Network (PHN) in Australia which commissions services for community health including mental health services, indigenous health, aged care, Covid care, flood, and disaster relief. As a board member I advocate for and give a voice to all allied health practitioners in the primary healthcare space. Our PHN covers an area of 130,000 square kilometres which is about the size of England!

I am motivated by the opportunity to work with like-minded passionate practitioners on the IFSHT executive committee to improve hand therapy practice in our communities around the world, and look forward to supporting practitioners in less advantaged parts of the world learn the joy and rewards that come with working with hands.

Elizabeth Ward

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