Keynote Speakers

Professor Ian Couper

Since 2016, Dr Ian Couper is Director of the Ukwanda Centre for Rural Health (CRH) and Professor of Rural Health in the Department of Global Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University (SU). This follows more than thirteen years at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, where he was director of the Wits Centre for Rural Health, and Head: Clinical Unit (Family medicine) in the North West Provincial Department of Health. He served an extended term as academic head of the Wits Department of Family Medicine (2009-2015).

Prior to moving to the North West province, he worked at the remote Manguzi Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal province for 9 years. He was active in the formation of the Rural Doctors Association of Southern Africa (RuDASA) in 1997, and chaired the international Working Party on Rural Practice of the World Organisation of Family Doctors (Wonca) from 2007 to 2013.

Under his leadership, Ukwanda CRH is driving innovation, training, collaborative care and research in rural health, with the mission of “making a difference to rural health care through empowering students, health workers and communities for wellness”.

He is also engaged in teaching and research in the SU Centre for Health Professions Education. He serves as editor of the African section of the international journal Rural and Remote Health and as an associate editor of the journal BMC Medical Education, and was an editor of the international Guidebook on Rural Medical Education, published in 2014.

He was a member of the national task team to develop the clinical associate (ClinA) programme in South Africa (physician assistants), and led the development of ClinA training at Wits. He has been involved in supporting medical education initiatives in a number of African countries, and served as a consultant for Capacity Plus to the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) in Africa, in the field of community-based education, 2012-2015. He was a consultant in the decentralised learning programme of the Stellenbosch University Comprehensive Capacity Enhancement through Engagement with Districts (SUCCEED) project, 2015-2018.

He was a member of the expert panel that produced the WHO Global Policy recommendations “Increasing access to health workers in remote and rural areas through improved retention” in 2010 and of the WHO Core Guidelines Group that developed the 2013 Guidelines on “Transforming and Scaling up Health Professionals’ Education and Training”. He is currently serving a second term as a member of the WHO Guidelines Review Committee (2014-2016, 2017-2019).

He has held visiting appointments at Monash and Flinders Universities in Australia and the University of Washington in the USA.

He is married to Jacqui, an occupational therapist with a special interest in neurodevelopmental therapy and early child development. They have three sons.

Prof Hester Klopper

Prof Hester C. Klopper BA (Cur); M Cur; PhD, MBA, HonsD, FANSA, FAAN, ASSAF) is an international academic leader with global recognition for her work. She is the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Vice-President) for Strategy and Internationalisation at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, and responsible for overall strategy, the institutional research and planning division, Corporate Communication, as well as the international strategy. In addition, she is a Professor in the Department of Global Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Hester is Past President of Sigma (2013-2015) and was the 1st and only person outside of North America elected to the position of President. Hester has been committed to development of researchers and overseen the NRF-Funded PLUME programme from 2013 to 2017 and mentored 24 post-docs. In addition she has supervised close to 80 Master and PhD students to completion; has published 80+ peer-reviewed articles; and is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Africa Nursing Sciences. Global health has become a focus area of her work over the past decade, and through her visionary leadership, the Global Advisory Panel on the future of Nursing and Midwifery (GAPFON) was established (convened by Sigma). As of January 2018 Hester has been appointed as the Chairperson of GAPFON for a four-year period. Most recently, she was also elected on the Board of Directors of the Consortium for Universities in Global Health (CUGH) (2018-2021). Hester is to date the only South African inducted into the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN), is a Fellow of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), and inducted into the International Hall of Fame for Research Excellence (Sigma). In 2016, a Doctor of Nursing (Honoris Causa) from Oxford Brookes University was conferred recognising her contribution to health science education and research globally. In country, she is a Fellow of the Academy of Nursing of South Africa (FANSA), a member of the South African Academy for Science and Art, and member of the Institute of Directors of South Africa (IODSA).