I am an experienced researcher and transdisciplinary team leader and also am well published. At present I am the director of a research unit named AUTHeR (the Africa Unit for Transdisciplinary Health Research). I am a strong research leader, leading 5 different disciplines by names Nursing, Psychology, Social Work, Consumer Sciences and Occupational Health. This task needs a holistic and special insight into all aspects of health research and development and requires a systems approach for problem solving. I am uniquely qualified for this position as I am a formally trained (M Soc Sc in Nursing, MSc Diploma in Diabetes education) and registered nurse (General nursing, Midwifery, Psychiatry and Diabetes educator). I held a PhD in Nutrition, a University certificate in Project management and two certificates in Epidemiology (WHO IARC and The Graduate School of VLAG, Wageningen University), and I have extensive experience in implementing and evaluating Public Health Intervention Programmes.
Over the past few years my focus on research has moved from mono-disciplinary to transdisciplinary work. From 1999-2003 My focus was mainly on nutrition and non-communicable diseases of lifestyle; 2004-2007 my focus moved more towards nutrition transition; 2008-2009 another dimension was added by investigating other factors in relation with nutrition that effects health such as HIV/AIDS; bone health, and biodiversity studies. 2010-present my research focus grows towards a transdisciplinary approach to promote health in communities..
I see myself as a nutrition and health epidemiologist aiming my research towards health promotion. I work mainly in disadvantaged communities and my research is within large projects/programmes..
The following activities, positions held, appointments and prizes received illustrate my commitment and innovative thinking towards Community/public health Research.
Research activities within my University
I was the study leader for 6 Masters and promoter for 2 PhD graduated students. I am the main leader for another 1 masters and promoter for 1 PhD student still in process. I was co-leader for 6 masters and co-promotor for 5 PhD graduated students. I am still co-leader for another 1 Masters and 3 PhD students. I acted as mentor for 6 master students (Germany and The Netherlands) while doing their practical internships in my projects. I guided 4 post-doc fellows from different disciplines but their work aimed towards community health/nutrition.
I serve on research related committees: The executive management committee, research, and commercialisation committees, the ethics committee, and member of the Faculty Board, chair person of the community engagement committee of the Faculty of Health Sciences, I am a member of Institutional Committee for research and Innovation of the NWU.
International research activities
I was invited and appointed as member of the scientific committee of the Belgium NGO, Nutrition Third World (NTW) since 2007. My mandate was renewed 2010-2014.
I am the invited and appointed SA principal investigator in the
Prospective Urban rural Epidemiology (PURE) study (coordinated from the Population Health Research Institute, Ontario, Canada),
The EU 7th framework funded Sustainable nutrition research for Africa in the years to come (SUNRAY) study (coordinated from the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp)
Biodiversity for better health study (Coordinated by Bioversity International, Kenya).
“Nutrition and physical (in)activity as determinants of cancer risk in Africa: data for formulating new research strategies and targeted regional prevention guidelines”, hosted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC, WHO).
National research activities
I was a founding member of the SA Higher Education Community Engagement Forum (SAHESEF) in 2009. Since then I am the leader of the working group on research and community engagement, tasked to develop national guidelines to integrate research in community engagement.
I review grants for the SA Medical Research Council, National Research Foundation, and Dept of Health. I review publications for the Journal of Food Science and Nutrition, Health SA Gesondheid, and Public Health Nutrition.
I was appointed member of the team reviewing the Medical Research Council HEALTH PROMOTION RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT UNIT (Cape Town, Sept 2011).
I represent my University on the Provincial Dept of Health’s Research Committee and played a major role in research capacity building between the members of the Provincial Department of Health’s research committee. I organised and co-lecturing a series of 3 workshops on research methodology, and research grant reviewing (2003).
I serve as external examiner for postgraduate students from other SA Universities (WITS, Limpopo, Free State, Pretoria). I also serve as moderator for the Chronic Disease Epidemiology masters course at WITS since 2009
I was part of the team receiving the Nestlé Nutrition Institute Africa Award for Continued and Sustained Contribution to Nutrition in 2005.
I lead the team who was awarded by SANTAM for the best community development project for income generation for women in tertiary institutions (2005, 2006).
Me and my team received an award of special acknowledgement from my University (NWU in 2010 + 2013) for excellent and sustainable community engagement.
I received the award for distinguished women researcher of the year for the development of rural women from the Ministry of Science and Technology of the RSA in 2012.
I received the STALS award from the SA Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns for my contribution towards multi- and interdisciplinary team work in 2012.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT EXPERIENCE
1. 1996-2001: In Private Sector:
1.1 Initiation and start-up of the Potchefstroom Centre for Diabetes. Still the owner thereof.
1.2 Initiation of management for Dumbe Grain Pty (ltd), Paulpietersburg, KwaZulu Natal, 1997 - 1998. (
Project value: R9 milj).
1.3 Project management for Rehab Agricultural Engineer Consultants.
1.4 Hydrological and Impact Study for Umgala West Open Cast Mine, 1998. (Project value: R180 000).
1.5 Heuningvlei Water Reticulation System, 1999. (Project value: R750 000).
1.6 Site co-ordinator and researcher for PAL Nursing Care - A research site for a flu vaccine project for babies: Quintiles (Wyeth-Lederly), 2000 and 2001 (Project value: R1 milj).
Project co-ordinator for a Water Research Commission Project for Rehab Agricultural Engineer Consultants (Project value: R150 000).
WRC reports volumes 1- 4, 290/98 (Surface Irrigation Design), 1997-1998.
WRC report K8/817 (A Technology Transfer Project: development of study material and organization of 7 surface irrigation courses in the RSA), 1998-1999.
2. 2001-Current: Coordinator of and researcher in running trans- and multidisciplinary research projects:
Health Management Research Programme for SASOL Sinfuels
Indigenous Knowledge Programme
Evaluation of Nutrition Programmes for the DOH, National and Provincial.
For the Health Systems Trust and Leeds University (UK): Understanding the impact of decentralization on reproductive health services in Africa.
For Innovation networks: Rapid assessment at primary health care/clinic level to manage and prevent malnutrition.
NURSING EXPERIENCE (other than indicated in employment record)
My partner (Dr. C.P. Kahl) and I started our own Private Nursing Practice in town (PAL-nursing care) in 1992. A broad range of services are rendered: wound care, home care, short courses in home care specifically aimed at the elderly and the HIV/AIDS patients.
I started my own Centre for Diabetes and Endocrinology (CDE-Potchefstroom) in 1996. I consult after hours if necessary.