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2023 World Abilitysport Conference Keynote Speakers

Dr Mike Peters PLY

Dr Mike Peters PLY is the CEO of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). Formerly, a Football 7-a-side player who captained USA at the Atlanta 1996 and Athens 2004 Paralympic Games, Peters joined the IPC in March 2015 as Chief of Staff and Acting Director of the Membership Engagement Department. In July 2018 he was appointed Chief Operating Officer and since October 2019 has been in the role of Chief Executive Officer.

From 2001-2006, Mike served as a full-time faculty member at the University of Washington, where he taught a range of courses that included Interpersonal Communication and Quantitative Research Methodology. With a desire to more directly be involved in advocacy, Peters entered the University of Washington School of Law in the fall of 2006.  One of five inaugural members of the William H. Gates Public Service Law Program, he earned his J.D. in 2009 and became a member of the Washington State Bar. Upon graduation, Mike was awarded an Equal Justice Works Fellowship (funded by Microsoft Corporation), serving as an immigration attorney for juveniles with the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project in Seattle from 2009-2011. From 2012-2015, Mike worked for the City of Seattle as the International Programs Director in the Office of Intergovernmental Relations.

Prof Brett Smith

Professor Brett Smith is the Director of Research in the Department of Sport and Exercise Science at Durham University. He held a Chair first at Loughborough University and then at the University of Birmingham before joining Durham in 2019. Brett’s extensively funded research focuses on disability, physical activity, sport, and health. It combines knowledge from different disciplines, including psychology, sociology, public health, and critical disability studies. Brett is an author of the UK Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines and leads this work on disability. He also advises the UK Government Office for Health Involvement and Disparities as well as major organisations, like Disability Rights UK, Sport for Confidence, and Durham County Council, on disability, physical activity, and co-production.

Dr Sarah Reedman

Dr Sarah Reedman is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Queensland Cerebral Palsy and Rehabilitation Research Centre group within the UQ Child Health Research Centre. Sarah is passionate about enabling participation of young people with disabilities in sports and active recreation. She is interested demonstrating how paediatric physiotherapists, occupational therapists and exercise physiologists are well-placed to deliver effective physical activity promotion interventions in young people with disabilities. Sarah is also involved in the conduct of a large, multi-site randomized controlled trial of an intensive functional goal-directed motor training intervention in children with bilateral cerebral palsy (Hand Arm Bimanual Intensive Training Including Lower Extremity [HABIT-ILE]).

Dr Phoebe Runciman

Dr Phoebe Runciman is a Lecturer and Research Co-ordinator at the Institute of Sport and Exercise Medicine, Department of Exercise, Sport and Lifestyle Medicine at Stellenbosch University. She specialises in Para sport, injury and illness epidemiology and biomechanics in athletes and individuals with disability, mostly in individuals with cerebral palsy and amputations. She is also invested in advancing Para sport in developing country settings. She has multiple international collaborators, works with the International Paralympic Committee and Commonwealth Games GAPS Africa program and is a member of the international Concussion in Para Sport Group

Associate Prof Leanne Hassett

A/Prof Hassett is a physiotherapist and mid-career academic at the University of Sydney, working in an academic role in the Sydney School of Health Sciences and a research-intensive academic role in the Institute for Musculoskeletal Health, leading the research theme of physical activity for people with physical disabilities. A/Prof Hassett is currently seconded from her academic role to the leadership team of the Implementation Science Program within Sydney Health Partners, an NHMRC-accredited Advanced Health Research and Translation Centre. A/Prof Hassett also holds an Honorary Senior Research Fellowship position in South Western Sydney Local Health District, where A/Prof Hassett worked clinically for 15 years in brain injury rehabilitation. In 2020 A/Prof Hassett received the Vice Chancellor’s award for excellence in research and teaching.


Prof Cathie Sherrington

Professor Cathie Sherrington is Professor at Sydney School of Public Health, The University of Sydney. Prof Sherrington leads the 28-person Physical Activity, Ageing and Disability Research Stream within the Institute for Musculoskeletal Health is Deputy Director of the Institute. Prof Sherrington’s research focuses on the promotion of physical activity and the prevention of falls in older people and people with chronic disabling conditions. Prof Sherrington has authored 280+ refereed journal articles including reports of 47 clinical trials and 26 systematic reviews. The impact of these publications is indicated by publication citation rates (32,700+ citations), use in at least 127 guidelines from 26 countries (e.g. NICE, WHO) and use by Health Departments. Prof Sherrington is ranked # 3 researcher in the world by Scopus (‘independent living/falls’) and Expertscape (‘accidental falls’) and is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and Australian College of Physiotherapists.