Who We Are
Raj Singhal – Rehabilitation Consultant, Clinical Director, Burwood Spinal Unit, Christchurch, New Zealand
Dr Raj Singhal is the clinical director of the Burwood Spinal Unit, Christchurch, New Zealand. He works in the field of Spinal injuries and specialises in acute management of Spinal cord injuries as well as the rehabilitation phase of these individuals. He worked in United Kingdom before coming to New Zealand. He trained at the world renowned National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in U.K. He holds PCT patent for a traction reduction device to reduce neck fracture dislocations in a timely manner. The device is currently being used in Christchurch Public Hospital and Waikato District General Hospital. The device facilitates the reduction of the neck dislocations within the 4 hour window which leads to improved outcome and gives a chance of neurological recovery. He is also involved in various other multi-centre trials focussing on improved outcomes for this group of individuals.
He also is involved in setting up charitable community based spinal clinic and workshop in Samoa. He is a special ambassador for the Western Pacific Region; World Health Organisation representing ISCoS (International Spinal Cord Society).He is also the vice-president of ANZSCoS (Australia New Zealand Spinal Cord Society).
Brent Thomas – Commercial Director, House of Travel Holdings, Auckland, New Zealand
Brent’s chartered accounting career started as an auditor for a firm that through various name changes and amalgamations became Ernst Young before heading off on his O.E. in 1987. He then spent 6 months in London before the warmer climates of the Cayman Islands called. 2 years with Price Waterhouse followed by 7 years with Bank of America on the island were interspersed with water skiing, diving and generally enjoying all that an idyllic Caribbean lifestyle has to offer.
In 1996 home called and since 1998 Brent has been with House of Travel Holdings Limited in a variety of senior positions. Firstly as Chief Financial Officer, then Retail Director and more recently Commercial Director. Brent is now a displaced Cantabrian living in Auckland who holds a directorship with House of Travel Partnership Services Limited as well as being a trustee of the Black Friday Trust, the Ben Lei’a Trust and the Pacific Disability Support Trust.
Andrew Hall – National Programme Manager, NZ Spinal Trust
Andrew sustained a spinal cord injury in 1983 as a 19-year-old, then after completing an agricultural economics degree at Lincoln University, Andrew undertook computer programming work in New Zealand and Australia as well as farming for 7 years in Central Otago.
Andrew manages the Vocational Rehabilitation and Peer Support programmes for the New Zealand Spinal Trust. Previously he was a senior business analyst and technical team lead for the Canterbury District Health Board and prior to that he worked as the software manager for Dynamic Controls, the world’s largest supplier of wheelchair and scooter control systems. Before that, he was chief executive of the New Zealand Spinal Trust, a consumer support and service-providing organisation.
He was on the Minister of Health’s National Ethics Advisory Committee for 7 years and prior to returning to work for the NZ Spinal Trust he was the chairman of the Trust (www.nzspinaltrust.org.nz). He is currently on the boards of the New Zealand Rugby Foundation (www.rugbyfoundation.com), the Christchurch Early Intervention Trust (The Champion Centre: www.championcentre.org.nz) and the Burwood Academy of Independent Living (www.burwood.org.nz), as well as being a founding trustee of both the Ben Lei’a Trust and the Pacific Disability Support Trust.