Lifesaving South Africa: Launch of Scientific Advisory Committee

Lifesaving South Africa has recently incorporated a research arm under the Drowning Prevention Portfolio. The Scientific Advisory Commiittee is a sub-committee convened by Dr. Colleen Saunders under the directorship of Dhaya Sewduth, the LSA Director for Drowning Prevention. The research activities of this committee are guided by the needs of the Lifesaving SA community and aim to provide an evidence base to help inform Lifesaving SA activites and policy. The committee currently consists of four members:

The convenor Dr. Colleen J. Saunders is a DST/NRF innovation postdoctoral research fellow at the South African National Bioinformatics Institute, University of the Western Cape, and a lecturer at Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s Department of Emergency Medical Sciences. Her main research focus is the investigation of genetic risk factors in musculoskeletal injuries. She received her PhD from the Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine at UCT, and has previously investigated the incidence and severity of injuries in rugby union, as well as genetic contributors to injury and performance in triathlon. Colleen has been an active lifeguard since 1997 and is a member of the Big Bay Surf Lifesaving Club in Blouberg, Cape Town.

Dr Jay Matthew is a consultant in emergency medicine at the Stanger Hospital Emergency Department and a Honorary Lecturer/Clinical Associate of the Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. His special interest is austere environments emergency medicine, especially wilderness emergency medicine. He is currently completing a Masters in Medical Science through the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal and his research is focused on levels of skills, training and knowledge among wilderness emergency responders. He is also a candidate fellow in the Fellowship of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine. He holds post-graduate qualifications in emergency medicine, as well as multiple certifications in advanced life support and emergency medicine. He is also an ATLS and AHCP instructor.

Professor Ashley van Niekerk’s research portfolio is embedded in critical socio-psychological and public health understandings of the multi-layered nature of injury, its causation, and prevention, with a longstanding focus on child safety. He has been involved in the development of national evidence-based injury and violence prevention policy in South Africa, and provincial policy for the prevention of fires and burns. Ashley is appointed to the National Health Research Committee for 2013-2017, is the Editor-in-Chief of African Safety Promotion: A Journal of Injury and Violence Prevention, and was on the Burns and Scalds WHO Expert Group for the World Report on Child and Adolescent Injury Prevention in 2007-2009. He is Programme Manager at the SAMRC-UNISA VIPRU and a Professor Extraordinarius at the UNISA Institute for Social and Health Sciences.
Lifesaving South Africa’s photo.

Dr. Olive Kobusingye is an Accident & Emergency surgeon and injury epidemiologist in Uganda. She is a Senior Research Fellow at both Makerere University School of Public Health and the Institute for Social and Health Sciences of the University of South Africa. She heads the Trauma, Injury, & Disability (TRIAD) Project at Makerere University School of Public Health, where she coordinates the TRIAD graduate courses. Before joining Makerere University School of Public Health Olive worked as Regional Advisor on Violence, Injuries, and Disabilities at the World Health Organization’s regional office for Africa (AFRO). Previous appointments and experience include: lecturer, Department of Surgery, Makerere University, Accident & Emergency Surgeon, Mulago Hospital (the largest referral hospital in Uganda), founding Executive Director of the Injury Control Center–Uganda, and founding Secretary General of the Injury Prevention Initiative for Africa. Olive’s research interests include injury surveillance, emergency trauma care systems, injury severity measurement, road safety, and drowning. She is the Chair Elect of the Road Traffic Injuries Research Network (RTIRN) and has served on the Core Advisory Group of the World Bank’s Global Road Safety Facility. Olive is a mother of two girls. When not doing injury related work, she spends her time planting trees.