Keynote speakers

  • Mary O'Keeffe
    Mary O'Keeffe Institute for Musculoskeletal Health, University of Sydney, Australia
    Mary O'Keeffe

    1st strand keynote: Innovative models of care in musculoskeletal and manual physical therapy


    Curriculum Vitae

    Mary O'Keeffe, PhD
    Institute for Musculoskeletal Health, University of Sydney, Australia

    Dr Mary O’Keeffe is a physiotherapist, journalist, Research Fellow at the Institute for Musculoskeletal Health, University of Sydney, Australia and Research Projects Officer at the European Pain Federation (EFIC), Brussels, Belgium. She received her PhD in 2017 from the University of Limerick, Ireland. This examined the multidimensional nature of chronic low back pain and the effectiveness of Cognitive Functional Therapy compared to group exercise and education. In 2018 she received a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship from the European Commission to conduct research at the University of Sydney, Australia. She is an invited member of the Presidential Task Force for Early Career Researchers at the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP), and Chair of Research Communication for IASP’s Musculoskeletal Pain Special Interest Group. She has >100 peer-reviewed publications (>3,000 citations). Her research on back pain and communication has been published in leading medical (The Lancet, JAMA Internal Medicine, British Medical Journal) and specialist (British Journal of Sports Medicine, PAIN, European Journal of Pain) journals, and has received numerous awards. She is very passionate about research in the media and contributed to news articles(x63), radio(x15), podcasts(x5) generated international attention reaching >10 million people (Isentia/Meltwater) including New Scientist, New York Times and The Guardian. She is currently leading the development of a guideline for the better reporting of health and medical press releases (Press-Release Reporting Exemplar).

  • Dave Nicholls
    Dave Nicholls School of Clinical Sciences AUT University in Auckland, New Zealand
    Dave Nicholls

    2nd strand keynote: The post-professional future for the physical therapies: A radically new image for our practice

    Physiotherapy always seems to be in crisis. If it’s not the crisis of funding or the threat from competition, it’s the loss of professional identity or the lack of high quality clinical evidence. And yet, in recent years a number of physiotherapists have read these threats as an opportunity to radically rethink our practice. These people offer some radical and exciting ways to think about the physical therapies and the theories that underpin them. In this talk I want to give a brief guided tour of these new emerging fields and lay a breadcrumb trail for you to follow. Starting by acknowledging some of the many problems being faced by the profession, I show why the four main ways the profession is responding are understandable but inadequate (including our spurious current claim to be biopsychosocial). I then talk about some of the new emerging ideas in physiotherapy that are now pushing the boundaries of our practice. Many of these are radical and challenging, but they all derive from people within the profession looking for exciting ways to think about future physiotherapy. As Deleuze said, “There is no need to fear or hope, but only to look for new weapons”.

    Curriculum Vitae

    Prof. Dave Nicholls PhD, MA, GradDip, MPNZ, SFHEA
    School of Clinical Sciences AUT University in Auckland, New Zealand

    For the strand “Physiotherapy futures – emerging areas”, we were able to win Prof Dave Nicholls, a physiotherapist who has been working on different areas of physiotherapy with a critical perspective for many years.
    As a founder of "Critical Physiotherapy Network" (CPN) Dave provided a space with a large international network for critical, informed thinking to challenge contemporary theory and practice.
    In his book entitled "The End of Physiotherapy", Dave demonstrated why it is necessary to critically engage in discussions about the past, present and future of the profession. In his subsequent book, "Physiotherapy Otherwise", he takes readers even further and deeper with sociological insights that point to the future for our profession and its practices. With his new project ParaDoxa, Dave looks to challenge, deconstruct and disrupt orthodox health care.This certainly makes Dave the person who will ask knowledgeable and theoretically sound questions and raise challenging thoughts in his keynote.We look forward to hearing how Dave will build bridges between his longstanding and profound reflections on physiotherapy and the current context of the IFOMPT community, leading us to several new and important questions for the future.

  • Annina Schmid
    Annina Schmid Oxford University, UK
    Annina Schmid

    3rd strand keynote: Entrapment neuropathies and neuropathic pain: crossing bridges between pain neurosciences and clinical practice


    Curriculum Vitae

    Prof. Annina Schmid
    Oxford University, UK

    Prof Annina Schmid is a specialist musculoskeletal physiotherapist and a neuroscientist affiliated with the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences at Oxford University in the UK. She leads the Neuromusculoskeletal Health and Science Lab which uses a translational and interdisciplinary approach to study the pathophysiology of neuromusculoskeletal conditions with the ultimate goal to improve management for patients. Annina has a particular interest in entrapment neuropathies and neuropathic pain and the development of precision therapy for these patients. She has trained over 25 scientists and clinicians in her lab and maintains a strong international collaborative network.

    Annina has published her work in leading clinical and basic science journals and regularly presents her work at international meetings. Her research contributions have been recognised by the award of several prizes (most recently the Emerging Leaders Prize in Pain Research, Medical Research Foundation) and competitive fellowships. She was the first allied health professional to win a prestigious Clinical Research Career Development Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust.

    In addition to her research activities, Dr Schmid teaches postgraduate courses related to pain and neuroscience internationally. She also maintains a weekly caseload as a specialist musculoskeletal Physiotherapist both privately and in the NHS. Further information can be found at

Thursday, 4th July 2024

Room San Francisco
09:45 to 10:30

Supported by

Friday, 5th July 2024

Room San Francisco
08:30 to 09:15

Supported by

Saturday, 6th July 2024

Room San Francisco
09:15 to 10:00

Supported by