Prof. Alan M. Clarke (1932 – 2007)

The late Prof. Alan Clarke was Professor of Surgery at the University of Otago in Dunedin (1971-1986), then the Dean of the University of Otago Christchurch (1986-1994).

During his tenure as Dean in 1991, he became paraplegic after a fall from his roof. In 1994 he was appointed Clinical Director of the Spinal Unit at Burwood Hospital and in 2000 became Senior Rehabilitation Advisor to the General Manager at Burwood Hospital. He saw clearly the vision that people who sustain injury and disability should be in control of their own rehabilitation, and became very supportive of the Independent Living (IL) paradigm, popularized by Gerben DeJong from USA. Prof. Clarke was involved in the formation of the New Zealand Spinal Trust and its Academic Sub-committee, which later morphed into an independent body, the Burwood Academy of Independent Living (BAIL).

He enjoyed rugby and took a great interest in measures to avoid neck injuries resulting from scrum incidents. He was a qualified pilot and continued to fly after his accident. Above all else he was enthusiastic about the activities that he took part in and achieved much in the various aspects of his career. He was awarded the Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in 1995.

Following his death in 2007, BAIL established and funded an annual Memorial Lecture. His wife Jane and members of the family also attend.

The Alan Clarke Memorial Lecture
The Alan Clarke Memorial Lecture (ACML) recognises the significant contributions that the founder of the Burwood Academy of Independent Living, Prof. Clarke made to medical and rehabilitation science and practice, and in particular, to the institutions of the University of Otago, and the Burwood Academy Trust. To date there have been five ACML’s.

Lecture #5, November 2018

BAIL Deputy Director, Johnny Bourke, presented the fifth ACML at the Asia Oceanian Conference of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine.  Johnny explored the notion that rehabilitation can often reflect unconscious assumptions about disability and function. Increasing our awareness of these assumptions can enable us to use rehabilitation as a site to reinforce, or challenge, societal norms.

Lecture #4, April 2013

The fourth lecture was delivered at the newly re-opened Rolleston Lecture Theatre at the Christchurch School of Medicine on 10th April 2013. Professor Richard Siegert from the School of Public Health and Rehabilitation AUT University gave the keynote address “Rehabilitation: mindful, positive and goal-directed – What would Alan Clarke say?” Following this, Professor Gerben DeJong was invited to provide some reflections of his ten week stay in New Zealand and  Dr Carolyn Beaver about the final stages of bringing to fruition a book of ‘survivor’ stories initiated by Prof. Clarke before his death in 2007.

Lecture #3, October 2010

BAIL’s International Adviser, Professor Gerben DeJong, delivered the 2010 Alan Clarke Memorial Lecture in the Limes Room, Christchurch Town Hall, on Thursday 14 October 2010. Gerben shared some “thought provoking ideas about scientific research methods in the health sciences and rehabilitation and where he thinks we need to go.” This third lecture was in conjunction with the University of Otago Rehabilitation and Disability Research Theme (RDRT).

Lecture #2, November 2008

The second lecture on 27 November, 2008 was delivered by Anaesthetist Dr Robin Youngson. His topic of choice was “Disabled doctoring – how can we rehabilitate the medical profession?” This second ACML was also delivered in conjunction with the ANZCoS Conference being held in Christchurch at the time.

Inaugural Lecture, February 2007

On 23rd of February 2007, BAIL, in conjunction with The Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences convened the inaugural Alan Clarke Memorial Lecture. The lecture was presented by Professor Gerben DeJong, Senior Fellow & Director, Center for Post-acute Studies, National Rehabilitation Hospital, Washington, DC. His topic was “Independent Living Perspectives on Evidence-based Practice and Practice-based Evidence: What Would Alan Clarke Say?”