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Keynote & Plenary Speakers

OSS are proud to bring you the following speakers, please take a minute to familiarise yourself with them prior to the Symposium.

Melanie Tran

Melanie Tran is currently a student at Torrens University Australia, studying Bachelor of Digital Media with a major in Interaction Design. Melanie has a particular interest in UX (User Experience) Design. Melanie brings her skills and expertise as a UX Designer into the disability, health and technology sectors. With over seven years experience working in the disability and technology sectors, Melanie had the opportunity to further develop her skills and knowledge as a UX Designer. Melanie is currently working as a UX Designer at AbilityMade and Hireup. She is also a Board Member at LeepNGO – an organization that focuses on addressing the digital divide in the disability and aged care sectors.

In 2017, Melanie was selected as one of the Laureate Global Fellows – an international fellowship for young social entrepreneurs. Melanie is also the first person in the world with a neuromuscular condition to complete The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award – she is the recipient of the Bronze, Silver and Gold Award. Following from the success of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, Melanie became a public speaker and spoke at many events including TEDxYouth@Sydney.

Assoc. Prof. Lisa Kenyon

Dr. Kenyon is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Dr. Kenyon heads the Grand Valley Power Mobility Project, an inter-professional research and service project that provides power mobility training for infants, toddlers, children and young adults who are not typically considered to be candidates for power mobility use.  Dr. Kenyon presents nationally and internationally on topics related to pediatric physical therapist practice and has published multiple peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters pertaining to power mobility and pediatric topics.  Dr. Kenyon currently serves on the Committee of Content Experts for the Pediatric Specialty Council of the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties.

Professor Hung Nguyen

Professor Hung Nguyen is Pro Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Science, Engineering & Technology at Swinburne University of Technology. Giving people with severe disability greater independence and control has been the central aim of his working life for the past 20 years. Specialising in the field of medical inventions, Hung is responsible for Aviator, the smart thought-controlled wheelchair, which is designed to improve the lives of paraplegics and quadriplegics, especially for those unable to use their hands.

His other inventions include a non-invasive diabetes monitoring system, and a system for monitoring and preventing driver fatigue. Hung was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2002 and was awarded the 2016 Chancellor’s Medal for Exceptional Research at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). He was Assistant Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Innovation) (2014-2017) and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology (2010-2014) at UTS, and was Founder/Executive Director of AIMedics Pty Ltd (2001-2006). He is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers, Australia, the Australian Computer Society and the British Computer Society.

Dr Harry Eeman

Harry was a young medical student when he was struck down by a severe form of Gillian Barre Syndrome whilst backpacking in Europe. He spend the next 2½ years in hospital, 5 months of which were spent on a ventilator, paralysed in what externally presented as a coma-like state except that he could hear those around him. After years of rehabilitation he recommenced his studies and completed medicine as a quadriplegic which required overcoming a number of physical and attitudinal barriers. Eventually he graduated with honours and subsequently completed two postgraduate specialist qualifications. He hopes to be able to inspire people who face similar obstacles in their lives by working as a Rehabilitation Medicine Physician. He also works to empower people suffering from chronic pain and is now the acting Clinical Director of a large chronic pain management unit in a major metropolitan in hospital in Melbourne. All of this he juggles with living independently and trying to be the best father he can be to his two year old son.

Dr James Arkwright

Dr Arkwright has over thirty years’ experience of professional partnerships, both as a consumer of rehabilitation and disability services and as a social practice professional and educator. When he was twenty two years of age, James had a motor bike accident on a farm that resulted in him incurring tetraplegia. With his options seeming limited, he undertook a BA and then a Masters in Counselling. He has worked in the fields of disability services, rehabilitation, counselling and tertiary education. His doctoral thesis was in the area of illness/disability, and he has undertaken subsequent research in organisational change and inclusive education. He currently works at Bethlehem Tertiary Institute (NZ) where he is the Head of School of Social Practice, which includes the social work and counselling programmes. At OSS 2019, he is looking forward to bringing together his thirty plus years’ experience as a wheelchair user with his professional commitment to strength-based and collaborative practices.

Professor John Pollaers OAM

John Pollaers has a proven track record in leading major Australian and international companies including Pacific Brands and Foster’s Group, and in his current roles is working across Government to bring about major reforms to vocational education and training and aged care. This is a realisation of his vision of building a strong future for Australia by creating opportunities for people and businesses to flourish and succeed. He is a passionate advocate for education and training, the care of senior Australians and including more people with disability in work and training. John is Chair of the Australian Industry and Skills Committee, and the Australian Advanced Manufacturing Council.  He is the Chancellor of Swinburne University and is Executive Chairman of Leef Independent Living Solutions, an innovative functional health and assistive technology business with 14 Independent Living Centres nationally.

Twitter: @JohnPollaers@leefadl


Kelly Waugh

Kelly Waugh, PT, MAPT, ATP, is a Senior Research Instructor and the Clinic Coordinator at Assistive Technology Partners, a program in the Department of Bioengineering, University of Colorado Denver, USA. Ms. Waugh has 32 years of clinical experience as a physical therapist and educator, specialising in Wheelchair Seating & Mobility and Nighttime Positioning. Ms. Waugh has served on the ISO Wheelchair Seating Standards Committee for 17 years, with a focus on the development of standardised measures of wheelchair seated posture and seating support parameters.  She is the primary author of A Clinical Application Guide to Standardized Wheelchair Seating Measures of the Body and Seating Support Surfaces. Ms. Waugh received both her B.A. degree in Human Biology and her M.A. degree in Physical Therapy from Stanford University in Stanford, California, USA.

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