Stephan Milosavljevic, BAppSc, PGDip (Manips), MMPhty, PhD

Stephan Milosavljevic completed his Physiotherapy degree at Curtin University (Western Australia) in 1975. In 2004 following 30 years of clinical practice in primarily rural settings he completed his PhD in Occupational Biomechanics at the University of Otago. His research has predominantly been in a rural and occupational health setting exploring the influence of biomechanical loading on prevalence of low back pain in the rural work force. Over the years he has also noted the capacity of many in rural communities to be resilient to adversity and able to cope with economic and societal change. He has undertaken research into the coping strategies of farmers in Southern New Zealand and how they deal with physical adversity such as recovery from injury and dealing with chronic and long term nature of low back pain. He is a strong supporter of the psychological construct of positive psychology – that is we can likely learn much from those who cope with adversity. Perhaps the resilience of rural people offers pathways to recovery, rehabilitation or the creation of coping mechanisms for those who are struggling to cope and needing care. Many of his participants have strong roots in their Maori upbringing and participating in a workforce strongly represented by Maori. Through his rural links and research experience he became aware of the increasing acknowledgement and recognition by Maori to do more for the health of their people and their culture. He collaborated with others in this research team to help develop this research direction and foster the collaboration with Maori in Southland. He particularly wishes to acknowledge the collaborative effort of all team members in this project and their willingness to participate. Without the willingness of this community to become the essential focus of this research, this project would never have come to fruition.