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Wits Faculty of Health Sciences Biennial Research Day Returns!


The 2022 Faculty of Health Sciences Research Day was held on the 15th of September 2022. This event is positioned bienially as the premier event to showcase the current Wits Faculty of Health Sciences’ staff and student research portfolio.

This year’s Research Day was the first-time going hybrid with both in-person and remote attendees. All attendees utilized the Whova mobile and desktop platform to engage live streamed content, network and view exhibitors, sponsors, and the postgraduate expo in conjunction to all in-person activities. The theme for this year was “Research. For Good” in reflection of Wits’ current stance and its 100th celebration.

The day saw nearly 1000 attendees, with around 700 in-person, and 300 joining remotely in the research festivities, and much-missed conference chaos after two years of virtual hiatus. A mass of exhibitors and sponsors put up stands at the Health Sciences Campus and showcased their latest technology, tools, and media to an excited and highly vibrant audience throughout the day.

A total of 187 staff and student presentations were included in the programme with 90 oral presentations and 97 poster presentations spread out across five thematic tracks. The day began at the Public Health Auditorium with a welcome and opening address from the chairperson, Dr Joshua Davimes, followed by the Dean, Professor Shabir Madhi’s address on current affairs in the Faculty.

The 5th Phillip V Tobias plenary lecture was delivered by Prof Mary Lou Galantino from Stockton University on academic-community research during unpredictable times. The talk was fascinating and well received and set the tone for the day.

Five parallel breakaway oral sessions took place at the Health Sciences Building with a variety of student and staff orals in all sorts of health sciences disciplines. The day then transformed into 3 parallel round table discussions with topics including Vaccines for Africa (Chaired by SAMRC president Professor Glenda Gray); Trials, tribulations, and contradictions of academia (Chaired by Professor Benita Olivier); and Mental health beyond the pandemic (Chaired by Dr Sandra Fernandes).

These riveting round table sessions then lead to the remainder of the day which included two more parallel breakaway oral sessions, a buzzing and packed poster session, as well as a luncheon with extensive networking.

The 2022 Research Day then concluded with the prizegiving ceremony in which Aspen Group Senior Executive Dr Stavros Nicolaou gave a short and poignant address on keeping South African health scientists in South Africa. Awards were then presented to the best staff and student oral presentations across the five themes and the research was celebrated over dinner and cocktails before closing.

See you all for the next Research Day in 2024!