Allied Health and Nursing Alliance (AHNA)

At the 2014 ANN Annual Scientific Meeting in Melbourne, 26 clinicians and researchers including Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Nurses, Genetic Counselors, Dietitians and Podiatrists discussed future directions within the ANN. The Allied Health and Nursing Alliance (AHNA) was established to develop a strong, unified vision:

“To provide one Australasian voice for Allied Health and Nursing care for patients with neuromuscular disorders and promote excellence through collaboration and research.”

The following aims and objectives are a focus of AHNA:

1. Developing Allied Health and Nursing Best Practice Guidelines for Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Drs Zoe Davidson and Paula Bray are leading a team of allied health and nursing experts from Australia and New Zealand to develop a clinical practice guideline for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). The proposed guideline will provide evidence-based guidance specific to allied health and nursing practice for the assessment and management of those with DMD.

The key principal of care for people with DMD is preventative management, much of which is delivered by allied health professionals and nurses. The guideline will provide evidence based recommendations and expert advice on assessment and management of physical, cognitive and psychosocial well-being.

The methodology for the guideline development is being conducted in accordance with the “Procedures and requirements for meeting the 2011 National Health and Medical Research Council’s standard for clinical practice guidelines”. This process is being overseen by an advisory group of neuromuscular practitioners, guideline methods experts, those with DMD and their family members.

Stay tuned for …further updates and opportunities to contribute as the guideline is developed. A public consultation period on the guidelines will open in 2016.

More information? Please contact zoe.davidson@mcri.edu.au or paula.bray@health.nsw.gov.au

2. Training and Education

AHNA is in the process of developing a strong base of clinical and research training in neuromuscular disorders. An emphasis on training Allied Health and Nursing professionals will be included in the program of the MDA NZ – ANN Conference, to be held in Auckland on the 16-18th April 2015. For details regarding the conference, please follow the link: http://www.ann.org.au/news/mdaann-conference-2015/.

3. Mentorship

A mentorship program for Allied Health and Nursing professionals has been established to assist early career researchers with skills including grant writing, research design and publishing. Lead by Professor Joshua Burns, regular contact with our members via meetings, newsletters and email communication will be achieved. Please contact us at info@ann.org.au if you are interested in the mentorship program.

4. Membership

All Allied Health and Nursing professionals are invited to join AHNA and we encourage representatives from a range of expertise across Australia and New Zealand.

Members of AHNA will receive regular e-newsletters and gain access to resources, along with training and education opportunities for clinicians, and emerging and established researchers.

If you are interested in joining AHNA, or would like further information, please contact us via email: info@ann.org.au.