Professor Liesl Zuhlke
Professor Zühlke, MB CHB DCH FCPaeds Cert Card MPH FACC FESC MSc PHD is a paediatric cardiologist in the Dept. of Paediatric Cardiology at Red Cross Children’s Hospital and directs the Children’s Heart Disease Research Unit focused on family-centred research into Children’s Heart Diseases of relevance in Africa.
Her research projects span congenital and Rheumatic Heart disease, HIV in adolescents, Grown-up Congenital heart disease and cardiac disease in women of childbearing age. NRF-rated and with an H-Index of 40 and over 25 000 citations, she has published 8 book chapters, edited 2 books and published 134 articles, including in Lancet, Circulation, JACC and European Journal of Cardiology. She was the 2018 recipient of the MRC/Dfid African Research Leader Award, a finalist in the 22nd National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)-South32 Awards finalist for the category: TW Kambule-NSTF Award: Researcher and is designated one of the top three international scholars in RHD research. She has been invited faculty at all the premier international cardiology congresses, and has delivered multiple lectures on developing capacity for clinical research in low and middle-income countries, a personal passion. She currently leads the PROTEA study” Partnerships for Congenital Heart Disease in Africa” focusing on describing the epidemiology and genetic origins of Congenital Heart Disease in several countries in Africa, and has raised over 70 Million rands for her research including multiple grants for capacity building of young researchers and clinicians in Africa. Together with Profs Mark Engel, Mpiko Ntsekhe and Ntobeko Ntusi, she forms part of the Bongani Mayosi Research Collaborative, as one of Prof Mayosi’s erstwhile PhD students and mentees.
She has achieved the highest leadership positions within cardiology in South Africa; President of the Paediatric Cardiac Society of South Africa, President of the South African Heart Association and currently chair of both the Paediatric and Rheumatic Heart Disease Taskforces in the Pan-African Society of Cardiology. Internationally she serves as the President of Reach (Rheumatic Heart Disease, Evidence, Advocacy, Communication and Hope), a board member of the World Heart Federation and NCD-A- Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance-, International scientific advisory board of Children's Heart Link and Global ARCH and an executive member of SAVAC (Strep A Vaccine Global Consortium). As the only womxn Full Professor of Paediatric Cardiology in the country, she is an active and vociferous advocate for the advancement and empowerment of womxn in medicine: including being on the Lancet Commission for Womxn in Cardiovascular Disease, invited speaker in several fora and publishing on Womxn in Health/her personal journey as a Parent Researcher and Work-Life flow and serving on the awards and research committees of “Women As One”. Zuhlke was the only African recipient of the European Society of Cardiology grant to attend the “Womxn transforming leadership” workshop in Oxford, 2019 and completed her MSc in Health Economics, Outcomes and Management of Cardiovascular Sciences at the London School of Economics in 2018.
Her greatest joy in life is family: her husband Alexander, a plastic surgeon at Tygerberg Hospital, her children, Gabriel and Eli, and she loves hiking and enjoying nature with them and their Great Dane.
Professor Elelwani Ramugondo
Elelwani Ramugondo is a professor at UCT. She obtained her BSc, MSc and PhD qualifications in occupational therapy at the University of Cape Town (UCT). During her postgraduate studies in 2000, she served as the Chair of the Postgraduate Student Affairs, a university-wide structure.
She worked as a clinician in rural South Africa and in the United States of America during the 1990s. Her practice experience as an occupational therapist has predominantly been in addressing barriers to learning in the education sector. Her passion lies in identifying and helping remove structural problems that inhibit people’s ability to lead meaningful lives and to contribute to society.
Elelwani is previous Head of Occupational Therapy at UCT. She has also served as Vice President of the Occupational Therapy Association of South Africa. She is currently an evaluator of occupational therapy programmes for the Health Professions Council of South Africa.
She has taught and convened courses in the course-work master’s programme in occupational therapy, including teaching qualitative research methods to both occupational therapy, as well as nursing and midwifery students. Recently, she has been the PhD programme convener for occupational therapy.
Over the years Elelwani has served on a number of boards for non-profit organisations, notably the Kidzpositive Family Fund. She currently serves as a director on the board for Philani Training and Development Solutions.
Following the fall of the Cecil John Rhodes Statue at UCT, Elelwani served for a year as Special Advisor on Transformation to the Vice Chancellor. This is also after she had served as the Chair of the Dean’s Transformation Advisory Committee in the Faculty of Health Sciences. In this role, she had initiated dialogue in the faculty around various topics, broadly themed ‘Intersections for Healing Work’.
During 2016 and 2017, Elelwani co-Chaired the Curriculum Change Working Group, tasked with facilitating dialogue on decolonising curricula, and developing a UCT curriculum change framework. She is the current Chair of the Academic Freedom Committee at UCT. She also serves on the UCT Council.
She has published numerous peer‐reviewed research articles and chapters in books, as well as book reviews. Her publications cover a broad range of topics including play research, theorisation in the context of discovery, spirituality in occupational therapy practice, and the political nature of human occupation. She has recently published a co-edited book titled, Concepts in occupational therapy: Understanding Southern perspectives.
Elelwani’s scholarship on intergenerational play led to the conceptualisation of the term, occupational consciousness, informed by liberation philosophy, and coloniality as an aspect of western‐led modernity. This has laid groundwork for several doctoral studies across various disciplines adopting a decolonial approach to scholarship. Elelwani is frequently invited to speak on transformation and decolonising the academy at conferences both nationally, and internationally.
Dr. Kerrin Begg
Dr Kerrin Begg attained her MBChB at the University of Cape Town in 1994, a Diploma in Child Health in 1996 and a Diploma in Obstetrics in 1997. She then completed her medical specialisation, obtaining a Fellowship in Public Health Medicine (CMSA) in 2002. Kerrin is a trained Depth Facilitator, an accredited Thomas PPA practitioner, as well as certified in The Leadership Circle Profile™ and Barrett Values Culture Transformation Tools.
After a brief stint in clinical practice, Kerrin moved into the field of management, gaining wide-ranging experience in hospital and health services management. In the public sector, she managed an 80-bed district hospital, improving efficiencies and performance whilst commissioning revenue generation projects and implementing the first district roll-out of Prevention-of-Mother-to-Child-Transmission of HIV programme, as well as collaborating in the Initiative for Sub-District Support (ISDS). In the private sector, Kerrin was General Manager of a 103-bed tertiary care hospital in the JSE-listed Netcare Group. Having first improved service levels at this troubled hospital, she developed and executed the strategy to relocate and amalgamate its clinical services to a JV Private Academic Hospital. Subsequently, Kerrin was interim Manager and Director of the JV. Kerrin then managed a 247 licensed-bed tertiary care hospital enabling a phenomenal 17,5% growth in activity over a 12-month period.
For over 10 years, Kerrin consulted in the fields of strategy, health policy, leadership, mentorship and coaching, performance processes, organisational design and organisational culture. Her clients have spanned the health care sector (in the public, private, parastatal and non-governmental sectors), construction, agriculture and entrepreneurial ventures. Kerrin spent 2-and-a-half years with the National Health Laboratory Service as Interim Executive Manager: Academic Relations, Research and QA, as well as assisting the organisation in the development of its 5-year strategy and strategically aligned Balanced Scorecards, as well as National Laboratory Policy amongst others. Kerrin project managed a CDC-funded systems analysis of the Clinic-Laboratory Interface in the public sector for SEAD consulting over an 18-month period. Kerrin spent 2-and-a-half years with PathCare as interim Chief Operations Officer, as well as driving Strategy, Health Policy and Leadership Development. Kerrin developed and implemented a successful Mentorship Pilot Programme for senior and middle managers for PathCare. Kerrin acted as Technical Advisor to SEAD Consulting as well as the Foundation for Professional Development (FPD) in developing assessment tools, training programmes and materials for public sector primary health care clinics in the field of diagnostics and laboratory medicine. Kerrin worked as part of a consortium over a 12-month period driving the Delegations of Authority process for Central Hospitals in the turnaround strategy commissioned by Treasury for Gauteng Department of Health. Kerrin facilitated a Prosthetics and Orthotics Policy and Practice conference for SADC Region. Kerrin was a team member and facilitator for PAHLM (Partnership for Health Leadership and Management), a partnership with the Western Cape Department of Health (WC DOH) and three Higher Education Institutions (HEI), to develop management and leadership competencies for public sector health managers in the Western Cape, and co-developed the Leadership Development Strategy. Kerrin co-reviewed the operational funding for Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital in the context of the National Tertiary Services Plan for NDOH and National Treasury. Read more
Dr. Tracey Naledi
Dr Tracey Naledi is a medical doctor and a Public Health Physician who trained at UCT for both her undergraduate and postgraduate education. She has over the last two decades held technical & management positions in the Government and NGO sectors in South Africa and Botswana. She was most recently the Chief Director: Health Programmes in the Western Cape Department of Health. Her work has focussed on policy development, health system strengthening, addressing health inequity and strengthening systems for health.
Some of her career highlights include being part of the team that started the first PMTCT programme in the public sector in South Africa and providing compelling evidence of the feasibility of delivering this programme on the Primary Health Care platform in the public sector; being part of the African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnerships (ACHAP) - a collaboration between the Government of Botswana, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and The Merck Company Foundation/Merck & Co., Inc., which supported the government of Botswana to develop a comprehensive approach for HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support including delivering the first ARV programme in Africa. Dr Naledi co-chaired the first Burden of Disease Reduction Project in the Western Cape, a project on social determinants that became seminal to the development of an intersectoral agenda for the WCDOH and the WC Government. She established the first Health Impact Assessment Directorate in the Western Cape Department of Health where she also developed a structured program for Public Health Registrars. She also set up the first Provincial Health Research Committee with representation from all academic and research institutions in the province. She led the establishment of intersectoral wellness programmes in the province which includes the Western Cape on Wellness (WoW) and the First Thousand Days programmes. She was the Chief of Party for a large USAID funded primary health care project supporting five provinces in South Africa.
She is a past Board Member of Child Safe and the Public Health Association of South Africa (PHASA); current advisory Board Member of Perinatal Mental Health Project; founding Chairperson of Tekano, Atlantic Fellows for Health Equity in South Africa and a member of the Council for Public Health Medicine of the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa. She is an honorary senior lecturer in the School of Public Health at the University of Cape Town. Dr Naledi is currently undertaking her PhD in Medicine focusing on Adolescent Health and HIV at the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation at UCT. She is a Discovery Foundation Fellow and the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation Fellow.