Mary-ann Liethof_260x300Mary-ann Liethof worked as the Coordinator of Polio Network Victoria from mid 2004 to December 2009. During that time, Mary-ann was one of the Victorian representatives on the Management Committee of Polio Australia.

Following a small philanthropic donation and a private donation, Mary-ann was officially appointed as Polio Australia’s National Program Manager in early January 2010 on a part time basis, which increased to full time in January 2011 thanks to a 3 year donation from The Balnaves Foundation. This funding has now concluded, however Mary-ann’s contract has twice been renewed for a further 3 years through concerted fundraising efforts.

Mary-ann’s qualifications include a Diploma in Community Development as well as a Graduate Diploma in Education (Careers). In April/May 2008, Mary-ann visited 10 post-polio related services across North America on a Churchill Fellowship Study Tour grant, the purpose of which was “To identify techniques to better manage the late effects of polio”. Read about Mary-ann’s Churchill Fellowship Study Tour here: Churchill Study Tour.

In April 2009, Mary-ann travelled to Roosevelt Warm Springs in Georgia, USA for Post-Polio Health International’s 10th International Conference: Living with Polio in the 21st Century and Wellness Retreat to learn the benefits of the holistic chronic condition self-management model. She was able to draw on this experience to conceptualize and coordinate Polio Australia’s first Late Effects of Polio Self Management Residential Program (also known as a Polio Health and Wellness Retreat) in April 2010.

Polio Australia regularly participates in, and presents at, post-polio conferences in Europe and the USA and Mary-ann is always the standard bearer at these conferences. She reports extensively on them in her daily blog posts, in Polio Oz News, and by giving talks at State Network Seminars and other events. Mary-ann is often joined at the conferences by other Australians who are also keen to learn what’s new and bring back information to share with their peers in State Networks and regional Support Groups.

You can access the growing series of Mary-ann’s daily blog posts from the conferences she has attended here. (Before Mary-ann joined Polio Australia she attended the PHI Retreat and Conference in Warm Springs in 2009 – read her Warm Springs 2009 Retreat and Conference blog.)