2010 Fellow Profiles

2010 Fellow Profiles


Tahra al-Sadig Al-Mahdi

I am a Sudanese woman, married for 15 years, and I have two kids: a daughter (Salaam) and a son (Yahia).

I joined Ahfad University for Women (AUW) School of Medicine (SOM) as a student in 1990 in the first batch of this newly established school. I earned my M.B.B.S. in Medicine & Surgery in July 1996 and joined the teaching staff in January 1997.

I was enrolled in the National Housemanship Program for two years (1997-1999). The program involved working as a House Officer rotating in the different medical specialties at various university hospitals in Khartoum, Sudan. In SOM, I worked as a Teaching Assistant until 2002. During this period, my responsibilities were assisting in Human physiology teaching and tutoring in problem based learning (PBL) & the Skills Lab.

After obtaining my master’s degree in human physiology in 2002 from Khartoum University, Faculty of Medicine, I became a Lecturer – according to AUW regulations for staff promotion. From 2002 to 2006, I worked in the following posts: physiology course teacher, PBL Committee Member, Class Coordinator, Skills Lab Deputy Director, Assistant Dean for Administrative Affairs, Exam Committee Member and Curriculum Committee Member & Reporter. I finished my master’s degree in health professions education through a distance learning program at Maastricht University, The Netherlands, in 2006.

From 2006 to date, I have been working as: physiology course teacher, Ahfad Family Health Center Director, Ahfad Educational Development Center Deputy Director, and PBL Coordinator & Curriculum Committee Member. I was promoted to Assistant Professor in 2008. I work as a member of the following national bodies: the Sudanese Association for Physiologists, the Sudanese Association for Medical Education and the Accreditation Committee (part of the Sudanese Medical Council).

As part of my job, I carry out mini studies to assist me in decision making and so on, yet my formal research experience is very limited. I completed only two research projects during my master’s degree program; the topics were in the areas of heat acclimatization and community based education. I am very interested in all aspects of medical education, especially in the area of student learning and how to improve it within our local circumstances e.g. limited resources and disempowered students. I am similarly interested in the area of curriculum design and how to graduate doctors who would respond effectively to our community needs.


Melanie Alperstein

I started my professional career uncertain of whether I wanted to be in the health or social sciences field and completed a B. Soc. Science (Nursing) degree at the former University of Natal, Durban. My professional career has followed an eclectic path since then, incorporating health and social sciences and leading into education and training in both fields. After graduation, my desire to travel and see the rest of the world took me to London, UK. The easiest work to get, (technically illegally) through agency work, was in intensive care unit (ICU) nursing. For the next five years, I worked in various ICUs in London and completed postgraduate courses in general, cardiac, and neonatal ICU. I traveled in between.

On return to South Africa, I worked for another two years in ICU at Grootte Schuur Hospital in Cape Town. I then joined the non governmental Ooganization movement in South Africa and, for the next 13 years, I worked on community health projects in the Western Cape and the former Transkei. My first job was working in disadvantaged communities in the Western Cape, using health issues as a community organising tool to fight for their rights. I then worked on the Village Health Worker Project in the Xalanga District of the former Transkei for the next eight years, where I developed skills in gardening, fencing, and spring protection. For a period of two years I was deported and banned from the Transkei. During that time I was involved in coordinating first aid training and setting up emergency first aid services in townships in Cape Town. The goal was to help those affected by the violence perpetrated by the state security forces.

On return to Cape Town, I worked for Cape Mental Health Society for three years, establishing a community-based rehabilitation project for disabled people. I then worked for another three years for the newly established Trauma Centre for Victims of Violence and Torture and was mainly responsible for training community members and various professionals in trauma debriefing and secondary trauma debriefing. I organised health and psychological screenings for returning MK soldiers who were applying to join the newly formed South African National Defense Force (SANDF). Lastly I ran a small primary care clinic, together with a network of volunteer general practitioners, for refugees who were now flooding into South Africa (mainly from Ruwanda and Burundi), returned exiles, and released political prisoners. The state health system was at the time an unsafe and hostile service especially for the aforementioned groups.

During this time I was integrally involved in the development of the National Progressive Primary Health Care Network, nationally and in the Western and Eastern Cape Provinces. I completed a Diploma in Primary Health Care Education through the University of the Witwatersrand. In 1996 I started working in tertiary education when appointed to convene the new 4th year medical students Primary Health Care Block in the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town (UCT). Five years later I joined the Education Development Unit as a Curriculum Developer and have worked in the unit ever since, focusing on curriculum transformation, including the introduction of new educational methodologies. Much of my work has focused on facilitating curriculum and course design and staff professional development. I completed an M.Phil. in Adult Education at UCT. I have the most wonderful adult son who keeps me up to date with the new world. I enjoy walking, swimming, movies, and reading.


Alan Barnard

I am the husband of Penny, and father of teenagers Laura and Charlotte. We live in Cape Town and will do so for at least the next seven years, unless there are very unexpected happenings. We are active members of Christ Church Kenilworth, a charismatic evangelical Anglican Church. I enjoy books, art, and music, and sing in a choir sometimes. Home life with gardening, cooking, and other gentle home pursuits take up the small amount of time that clinical and academic life permit. A little exercise is important to me, too, like walking the dogs or road running at times.

I practice as a family physician in Diep River, Cape Town, and have done so for twenty years or so. I am one of two partners in the practice, and we have two part-time assistants. We are a busy practice and see the full range of family medicine, from paediatrics to geriatrics, medicine and surgery and have a very loyal and supportive patient base. My palliative care training and interest has permitted the development of a special interest in pain management.

I have a part-time appointment in the School of Public Health and Family Medicine at the University of Cape Town where I teach palliative medicine at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. This is a particularly rewarding aspect of my work.

I have been involved in research in palliative medicine over the past seven years. My particular research interests are the involvement of family doctors in palliative care, the growth and development of palliative care practice at primary care level, and palliative care education. I am interested in the development and demonstration of critical thinking skills in undergraduate medical students, the teaching of emotional care, and the evaluation of medical education programmes. I wish to develop this aspect of my working life, from the actual undertaking of research projects to the writing up and publication of the results.

I am a member of an International Primary Palliative Care Research Group, which meets annually at family medicine or palliative care conferences. I have presented papers and workshops at these meetings as well as at other academic and professional development meetings.

The balance between clinical and academic work is very important to me, and is the best way to develop professionally that I have discovered. It facilitates critical thinking in my own practice, which is vital for the clinical challenges that every doctor faces. The university environment is encouraging and collegial, which is also an important reason to continue, and to develop and sharpen my own academic focus.


Hoffie Conradie

I was born and bred in Stellenbosch (Western Cape, South Africa), and I’m the 7th child (my twin brother is the 6th child!). Although I was earmarked to follow in my minister father’s footsteps, I decided to do medicine instead at Stellenbosch University (SU). I qualified in 1973 (M.B.Ch.B.). I spent the next two years at Tygerberg Teaching Hospital and obtained my Diploma in Child Health (College of Medicine, SA) in1976. I then left for the rural Eastern Cape, where I started off in a mission hospital. I spent the next 15 years in various district hospitals in the Eastern Cape pursuing my passion in establishing primary health care services based on family medicine principles in rural areas.

In 1985 I obtained a master’s degree in Family Medicine from MEDUNSA. In 1990 I took a break and left South Africa to spend two years in a remote (and very cold) Canadian village as a general practitioner. On returning to South Africa in 1992, I pursued my dream of being a family doctor in a small rural town and worked as a private general practitioner, first in the Western Cape at Bonnievale and then in the Eastern Cape (at Sterkstroom and then at Dordrecht). In these towns I was often the only doctor and did both private and state health work in the hospitals and clinics. During this time I maintained my academic interest in family medicine as a part-time Senior Lecturer first at MEDUNSA and then at Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha, in the postgraduate family medicine program of these universities.

In 2003 I joined the Stellenbosch Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) Department of Family Medicine and Primary Care and Worcester Hospital as Head of Family Medicine. As of December 2008, I am also the Academic Director of the Ukwanda Centre for Rural Health of the FHS at SU. Worcester hospital is a regional specialist hospital and referral hospital for the Cape Winelands and Overberg districts, with seven district hospitals. My family medicine academic duties include teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate family medicine students. As Academic Coordinator of the Worcester Region Family Medicine Training Complex, I supervise 15 postgraduate family medicine students in the complex. Once a week, I do outreach to the district hospitals in the complex. I am responsible for a two-week rural rotation of undergraduate family medicine students at SU who are in their 4-5th year at district hospitals .At Worcester we have final year medical students do a five-week rotation in Family Medicine.

My special clinical interests are in community interaction and home-based care, HIV/AIDS, and palliative care. I am involved in a health service and student learning centre in Avian Park, an underserviced area in Worcester, as well as in the Boland Hospice. This gives me the opportunity to do home visits with students, a unique and valuable learning experience. My research interests are in medical education. Presently I am involved in the development of an e-learning project for the medical students on the rural platform. I am passionate about motivating and training students to work in rural health services. The FHS of SU is in the process of developing a Rural Clinical School (RCS) in Worcester. Beginning in 2011, undergraduate medical and Allied Health Sciences students will spend 6-12 months of their training at Worcester and the surrounding district hospitals. My SAFRI project involves the development of a curriculum for medical students at the RCS.

I have five adult children, four boys and one girl. Two are doctors, one is in information technology, one is a biokeneticist, and the last one just started his career in human resources. I am in a long-term relationship with Eve Mendel, a primary care doctor working for the Cape Metro at Houtbay Clinic, mainly in TB and HIV/AIDS. I am a keen mountain biker, and enjoy hiking and bird watching.


Catherine Mwesigwa Lutalo

Professional background: Holds a bachelor’s degree in dental surgery. Registered with Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council and member of Uganda Dental Association.

Current position: Teaching Assistant, Department of Dentistry, Makerere University, College of Health Sciences, School of Health Sciences from 2007 to date. Currently coordinating oral medicine and pathology course for undergraduates. Involved in teaching oral medicine and pathology, tutoring different courses, and supervising clinical work of undergraduate students. A team member of the Education Coordination Office in the College of Health Sciences, Makerere University, which coordinates courses in the college.

Part-time general dentist, practicing private clinical work at Jubilee Dental, Kampala.

Personal information: Married to Cyprian Lutalo. Loves travelling, reading, music, movies, and meeting new people.


Clemence Marimo

I am the fifth of eight children born to a rural couple of western Zimbabwe. I qualified as a dental surgeon in 1991 in Greece and worked in both public and private institutions in Zimbabwe. I served as the Chief Oral Health Officer in the army, and I was involved in planning the health coverage for my country’s UN peacekeeping missions to Somalia, Rwanda, and Angola. I eventually became Deputy Director and, shortly thereafter, Director of Oral Health Services in the Ministry of Health & Child Welfare.

In 1999, I was enrolled for a master’s degree in Oral Pathology at the University of the Western Cape that included three years in the Department of Anatomical Pathology, University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital. I then joined the University of Zimbabwe, College of Health Sciences in 2003 as a Lecturer, until February 2008 when I joined University of Zambia, School of Medicine.

I’m passionate about research and am confident that with collaborative partners, the next decade will yield results that will impact positively on the teachers of health sciences, their students, and their patients.

I’m married to an editor by profession, and we have been blessed with four daughters. I enjoy spending time with my kids playing games, listening and dancing to music, and, once in a while, I step out for a social treat or a game of darts.


Sindi Mthembu

My name is Sindi Mthembu. I am a nurse by profession. I graduated for a Diploma in General Nursing (Psychiatry, Community, and Midwifery) in 1991. I obtained B. Cur Degree in Nursing from the University of South Africa (UNISA) in 1997. I completed a Master’s Degree (Nurse Education) in 2003 with the then University of Natal. I have also enrolled in a doctoral degree program in nursing education.

I am working at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Nursing, as Lecturer. I teach nurse education for the undergraduate and postgraduate nursing programmes. I am also the school’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) facilitator.

I am married with three children. I like soft music and Afro-jazz. I like reading, although I haven’t had much time to read lately because of my Ph.D.


Ismat Mutwali

I am Ismat M. Mutwali, a Sudanese citizen. I graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at Bucharest (Romania). I joined the Ministry of Health, where I did the housemanship training period, and then I worked as a health inspector at Red Sea Province. In 1992 I did my postgraduate training in General Surgery at Khartoum University. Then I rejoined the Ministry of Health where I worked as a General Surgeon at different hospitals in Sudan.

I started my medical education activities and responsibilities as a part-time clinical tutor at Shandi Faculty of Medicine in 1994. Then I moved around to different universities in Sudan. As a full-time staff members I joined the Faculty of Medicine, Upper Nile University as Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery. Since 2004, I have been in my current position, Associate Professor of Surgery at Alzaeim Alazhari University (Khartoum, Sudan). I practiced surgery for 10 years at National Ribat University Hospital, during which time I taught clinical surgery to the final and semi-final medical students of different colleges and faculties of medicine in Khartoum.

I got interested in medical education after attending medical education conferences (3) held in Khartoum, the last one in November 2009. I am engaged in research, granted from the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (2009-2010). The title of the research: “Clinical Skills Education in Sudan – Requirements, Phase I Undergraduate Skills Education, Phase II Postgraduate Skills Education.” I am interested in skills education, especially early skills training, using clinical skills laboratories and simulation centers. In surgery my interest is in abdominal wall surgery (hernia surgery), breast and thyroid surgery. At my current work, I am Coordinator of the Critical Care course for which I, together with other colleagues, set the curriculum, and I have supervised its implementation for the students of the 7th semester during the last 4 years. I also coordinate the basic skills module for the students of semester 4 in my institute.

I am a member of the advisory board (surgical section) of the Federal Ministry of Health (2006-2010), the board that plans, supervises and implements the surgical care policies in Sudan. Members of the committee reform and update the management protocols of surgical emergencies.

I am divorced and have two daughters: Reem is in the Faculty of Architecture, and Isra is studying medicine. I love reading and photography.


Scovia Nalugo

Professional background: I hold an M.Sc. in Population and Reproductive Health, a Post Graduate Diploma in Project Planning and Management and a bachelor’s degree in Nursing. Registered with Uganda Nurses and Midwifery Council and a council member, also a member of Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union.

Current position: Head of Nursing, Makerere University, College of Health Sciences, School of Health Sciences from 2009 to date. Involved in daily management of the department; teach and supervise students in clinical areas and research. A member of the skills training taskforce in the College of Health Sciences, Makerere University. Involved in developing modules for training and also participate in the training. Previously a lecturer in the same department from 2004-2009.

Personal information: Married with two children (Karen and Nathan). I love travelling, swimming, and making new friends.


Carmen Oltmann

I am currently Senior Lecturer and Head of the Pharmacy Administration and Practice (PAP) division and Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy at Rhodes University (since 2008). I have had many opportunities to develop and learn, and find my work challenging, stimulating, and rewarding. My areas of interest include pharmacy education, mentoring, critical realism, social pharmacy, continuing professional development (CPD), and sports. I am currently supervising two Ph.D. students and a master’s student. My colleagues jokingly refer to me as “the faculty’s critical realist.”

In 2004, I ran my 10th Comrades Marathon, and in 2006, I completed the Ironman challenge in Port Elizabeth. Unfortunately I now have osteoarthritis of the left knee, which has forced me to stop running, but I am a sports enthusiast and enjoy watching sports.


Angelika Reinbrech-Schutte

Born and brought up in Pretoria, I was happy to study at the University of Pretoria. I completed my MBChB and MMed (FamMed) here and have been attached intermittently to the University since then. I completed my internship at Kalafong Hospital, Atteridgeville, a training hospital of the institution, and worked there for another 7 odd years. During this time I was involved in training medical students, helping with assessments as well as assisting with presenting Primary Health Care short courses for nurses. Then I worked in private practice for about a year, after which I accepted a lecturing post at MEDUNSA. Here I taught mostly undergraduate students on consultation skills, forensic interviewing and evidence collection (rape and sexual assault) and various other clinical topics and skills.

While having a joint appointment with MEDUNSA, I was employed as a District Family Physician by Gauteng District Health Services. I resigned after the birth of my second child to do part-time private practice work.

Currently I am employed as a senior lecturer by the University of Pretoria, Department of Family Medicine. I started a year and a half ago and since then I have been involved in developing a Longitudinal Clinic Attachment Programme for undergraduate students (LCAS). This is a big challenge, as all year groups have to be placed in clinics for their academic service learning activities. We have been running a mentoring programme for 18 months now and I am involved with training and support of these mentors, who accompany the students in all the clinics.

Personally, I am thirty-something, married and have 2 young children, a boy and a girl. I love my family, my work and living in Pretoria. My favorite holiday is a beach holiday. I like taking walks, riding my mountain bike, spending time with family and friends. Reading and crossword puzzles have to happen after bedtime. I play the piano and I love classical music, especially Mozart. Singing, nowadays with my kids in the car, is one of my favorite activities.


Michael Rowe

Current position: I teach physiotherapy at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in Cape Town, South Africa, where I’ve been for the past three years. I’m interested in how emerging technologies can improve the practice of teaching and learning in undergraduate education, which is what I spend most of my time thinking about.

Professional background: I graduated with a B.Sc. (Physiotherapy) in 2001 and spent five years moving between England and Ireland as a locum physiotherapist. I returned to South Africa in 2007 and worked in private practice for a year before starting to teach at UWC.

Research profile: I completed my M.Sc. (Physiotherapy) in 2008 and am currently working on my Ph.D. You can find out more about my research activities, including publications and conference presentations, at www.mrowe.co.za/blog/phd-research/.

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