Spinal injuries can have catastrophic and lasting impacts on the lives of those affected, as well as their families. Furthermore, the complex and diverse nature of spinal cord injuries mean that, in the months immediately following injury, it's extremely difficult to provide individual patients with an accurate prognosis - adding anxiety and uncertainty to the stress experienced by patients and their families. 

Join our expert panel as they share their insights on current best practise in spinal care. They will discuss improving prognostic accuracy in spinal cord injury, therapies for enhancing patient outcomes and the importance of early engagement in sport and physical activity to enhance long-term outcomes. 

Our expert panel

Marc RuitenbergAssociate Professor Marc Ruitenberg

Associate Professor Marc Ruitenberg heads the Neurotrauma Research Group at the University of Queensland. His research focuses on the body’s response to traumatic injury, including spinal cord injury, and the role of inflammation in the recovery from this trauma. Associate Professor Ruitenberg recognises the need for collaboration and consumer engagement in spinal cord injury research, and is excited by the opportunity to join the Board of a charity whose vision aligns with his own passions and research interests.

Ellen GillespieMs Ellen Gillespie

Ellen successfully completed her Honours research with the Ruitenberg Lab in 2017, and then returned to the lab in 2018 to begin her PhD. Her work focusses on investigating the mechanism of action of a therapeutic called IVIG (intravenous immunoglobulin), and she is specifically aiming to understand how IVIG works to improve recovery from acute spinal cord injury.

Cliare PanagodaDr Claire Panagoda

Dr Claire Panagoda is a rehabilitation medicine physician who works in the Queensland Spinal Cord Injuries Service (QSCIS), which is based at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane. She provides specialist rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury in Queensland across the life continuum. In her non-clinical role, she is working to improve equity and access to health services for people with spinal cord injury in Queensland. Through her involvement with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), she coordinates assessments for doctors training to become rehabilitation physicians across Australia and New Zealand.

Sean TweedyAssociate Professor Sean Tweedy

Associate Professor Sean Tweedy leads the Para Sport and Adapted Physical Activity Research Group in the School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, University of Queensland. Through his applied research program he aims to generate the knowledge required to empower people with disabilities to pursue self-directed goals through safe, effective engagement in sport and physical activity.

About Health Matters Lecture Series

Launched in 2017, Health Matters is a series of dynamic public lectures featuring renowned researchers and clinicians. Attendees enjoy hearing directly from subject matter experts in an environment that encourages discussion about matters that impact the health of you and your loved ones.

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