Prof. Frank Plani

MD, FCS (SA), FRACS, Sub-speciality Trauma Surgery

Frank Plani is the Head of the Trauma Directorate of the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital and the Co-Chair of the Academic Division of Trauma Surgery at the University of the Witwatersrand.

He was born in Trieste, Italy, in 1954, where he obtained his medical degree from the University of Trieste in 1980. He then worked in Zimbabwe on an Italian cooperation program until 1984, and then he moved to Johannesburg, South Africa to train in General Surgery. He obtained his fellowship in 1992. After working briefly at the Helen Joseph Hospital as a general surgeon, he was employed at the Trauma Unit of the Johannesburg Hospital from 1993 to 2006 as a Senior Specialist as well as a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Surgery of the University of the Witwatersrand.

He joined the South African Reserve Police Service in 1996, becoming the Head of the Medical Unit at the Johannesburg Police Emergency Services with the rank of Superintendent, until the end of 2006, when he moved to Australia. He was the Chair of Trauma Surgery at the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre, Royal Darwin Hospital, Northern Territory, Australia, and Professor at Flinders University Northern Territory Clinical School from 2007 to the middle of 2009, when he returned to South Africa to be Principal Specialist and Deputy Head of the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital Trauma Directorate and a Senior Lecturer in the University of the Witwatersrand.

In 2013 he was promoted to Adjunct Professor. He is in charge of disaster management of the Division of Surgery. He has worked as a mission surgeon for the International Committee of the Red Cross in North West Pakistan.

Prof. Michael Pepper

MBChB (Cape Town), PhD (Geneva), MD (Geneva), Privat Docent (Geneva)

Michael Pepper is Director of the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Medicine, and a professor in the Department of Immunology in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Pretoria. He is also professeur associé in the Department of Genetic Medicine and Development in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Geneva, Switzerland.

Michael was born in Bloemfontein in South Africa and attended Pretoria Boy’s High School. He obtained his MBChB in 1982 from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Cape Town, and moved to Geneva in 1986, where he obtained his PhD in 1990 and MD in 1992. In 1997 he obtained his Habilitation and had the title Privat Docent conferred on him. He returned to South Africa in July 2004.

Michael has worked extensively in the field of clinically-oriented (translational) molecular cell biology and has made seminal contributions to understanding the mechanisms of angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis. His current scientific interests are in the fields of cell-based therapy (including stem cells) and the human genome, and he directs the projects of several post-graduate (BSc (Hons), MSc and PhD) and post-doctoral students at the Universities of Pretoria and Geneva.

Michael is co-responsible, together with Prof. Michele Ramsay, for co-ordinating the Southern African Human Genome Programme which was launched in January 2011. He has also been responsible for co-ordinating the revision of Chapter 8 of the National Health Act and the regulations thereto since mid-2009. Michael has developed a 5-day continuing education course in bioentrepreneurship which is presented in four provinces in South Africa and is now in its 7th year. He was until recently a member of the National Advisory Committee on Innovation (Project leader: “Bioeconomy Policies and Strategies”) which advises the Minister of Science and Technology and was also Chairperson of the National Biotech Advisory Committee.

Michael has more than 200 medical and scientific publications with and H-Index of 65 (Web of Science; Scopus). He frequently interacts with the media and writes for the lay press on scientific and medical matters. He has received a number of awards for his research. Michael has been extensively involved in teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and has lectured extensively on the international circuit. He is frequently solicited as a peer reviewer, and is currently on the editorial boards of Lymphatic Research and Biology, Current Angiogenesis, The Journal of Medical Law and Ethics and Applied and Translational Genomics. Until recently he was on the editorial boards of Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis & Vascular Biology, The Angiogenesis Journal, and Current Cardiology Reviews.

Michael is a member of the South African Medical Association, the South African Medico-Legal Society, the Human Genome Organization, the Southern African Society of Human Genetics, the South African Genetics Society, the World Marrow Donor Association and the South African Stem Cell Transplantation Society. He was on the European Vascular Biology Association EXCOM from 1993-2004.

Dr. Maurice Goodman

Chief Medical Officer at Discovery, MBBCh (Wits), MBA (Wits)

After obtaining his medical degree, Dr Goodman worked for a number of years in emergency medicine and trauma surgery. He participated in the South African rescue missions to Phuket and Haiti.

Having completed his MBA, Dr Goodman headed up the Southern Africa healthcare practice of a leading international consulting organisation before moving into the healthcare funding industry. Dr Goodman joined Discovery Health shortly after its inception and is responsible for the Health Professional portfolio of the organisation.

Dr Goodman is a Trustee of the Discovery Foundation which is investing in excess of R300 million into the training of medical specialists in South Africa in identified areas of need. He is also a Trustee of the Discovery Fund which is dedicated to improving individuals’ quality of life through the provision of primary health care services in indigent communities.

Dr Goodman serves on the Executive Committees of the Wits Business School Association and the Medical Advisors Group of SAMA. He is Vice President of the Convocation Exco of the University of the Witwatersrand and also serves on the Council of the University of Witwatersrand. Dr Goodman is a branch counsellor on the SAMA South Gauteng branch.

Prof. JA Ker

MBChB, MMed, MD (Pret), Pulmonologist

Prof James Ker’s role in training specialists and general practitioners throughout the country over the past 30 years reflects his passion to teach

evidence-based medicine, in both continuing medical education meetings and at the bedside. Prof Ker is currently deputy dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and chairperson of the Cardiology Teaching Block at undergraduate level at the University of Pretoria. He comments, ‘I can do administration, but without teaching, I feel lost’.

His clinical experience is drawn from both private and public specialist practice, including part-time appointments to the mining sector and insurance industry. Recognition of his teaching role is reflected in his contribution as international editor to Davidson’s Principles and Practice of Medicine and numerous publications in the field of pulmonology, cardiology and evidence-based medicine.

Dr. Lance Coetzee

MBChB (Pret), MMed in Urology (Pret), FCS (URO) (SA)

His passion to improve the lives of patients living with urologic cancer especially kidney, prostate, bladder and testicular cancer has underpinned his training and informed his academic research as well, with research articles focusing on topics such as the treatment and management of bladder cancer; the prevention, early detection and treatment of prostate cancer; and urological surgery. These articles have been published in various prestigious nation and international journals.

As one of South Africa’s top urologists, he has also made it his mission to further improve his offering to patients by extending his experience and knowledge beyond the borders of this country. To this end, he spent more than two years as a fellow in uro-oncology at the Duke University Medical Centre in Durham in the United States and obtained a license to practice medicine in North Carolina. He is also registered as a medical practitioner and specialist urologist in the United Kingdom.

When he is not in theatre, Coetzee shares his expertise with a range of medical organisations and bodies. He is the chairperson of the Prostate Cancer Foundation and a member of the SA Medical Association, the SA Urological Society, the Pan-African Urological Surgeons Association, the European Urological Association and a corresponding member of the American Urological Association.

Coetzee has received various awards and prizes for his contribution to the urological field, amongst them, the Danie Joubert Research Award (1997), the Karl Storz Prize for a young urologist who has made a significant contribution to urology in South Africa, the Pretoria Rotary Club’s Hatfield Vocational Award (1998) and an Alumni Award from the University of Pretoria for outstanding achievement in the field of prostate cancer research.

Dr. Sindi van Zyl

BSc (Pret), MBChB (Pret)

Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl studied at the University of Pretoria, first doing a BSc and then medicine. She worked at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital as an intern, and this experience shaped her life profoundly.

Dr Sindi has always had a heart for Primary Health Care and she believes that this is the foundation of a strong health system. Sindi then branched into the field of HIV and has really made her mark there.

Her passion is sharing HIV -related knowledge and also answering questions about HIV. Stigma is still a problem with regards to HIV and Sindi has found a niche answering questions from people via social media. Anonymity is key.

Sindi has been featured in True Love, Fair Lady, Oprah, Destiny and Afropolitan magazines. She is also a regular guest on radio and TV shows. Dr Sindi is the HIV columnist for Bona magazine and

In 2012, she was recognised as one of the Top 200 Young South Africans by the Mail and Guardian.