Dr. Katherine [Kate] Gill is a Registered Occupational Therapist. She has a background in medical, scientific and mental health research, and is involved in a number of consumer-led and co-produced projects. Kate is the chair of, and a founding member of, the Consumer Led Research Network. Kate works in the mental health sector and actively promotes recovery orientated practice and trauma informed care, within a holistic framework. Kate’s interest in FND Hope stems from her own experiences. In 2013 Kate suddenly lost the use of her left side and became unable to walk for a period of time. She was initially misdiagnosed as having had a stroke. Sometime later she was diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder. For a number of years Kate failed to access appropriate care, services and support to assist in her recovery. Through perseverance and research into the condition Kate did recover the ability to walk. Back on her feet she hopes increasing awareness of the illness will prevent other people suffering the way she did.
Bridget works with leading specialists around the world to educate medical professionals and tackle the common misunderstandings, not only about patients with functional disorders, but also about diagnostic error and the coding crisis. She has a diverse and unique approach to this field, which she has gained through advocacy work with patients.
Bridget became interested in functional illness after she experienced a world of medical uncertainty. When her medically unexplained puzzle morphed into a medically explained picture and she finally received proper treatment, Bridget transitioned into the medical world, actively engaging as a patient advocate.
Bridget spends most of her time helping patients and doctors understand Functional Neurological Disorder. She has had the opportunity to attend and give remarks at various FND training seminars including one in Birmingham, England. While in the UK, Bridget met with leading researchers in the FND field from Scotland and England, holding patient support meetings throughout the UK. She has submitted commentary to the pertinent work groups connected with DSM and ICD coding changes, and a response in the British Medical Journal advocating for those with medically unexplained symptoms.
Bridget is a wife and mother of three. She feels passionately about spreading awareness, and bridging the gap between what is known and what is believed about Functional Neurological Disorder.
Vivienne has had a long term interest in medical issues due to having had a variety of her own often rare medical issues that were unheard of in her community at the time they occurred.
With the advent of the internet and online support communities in the late 90s and early 2000s, she has been involved in online support since then.
When she started to have non epileptic seizures in 2006 and after not finding any support in her local community or from her health professionals, she once again turned to the online FND/CD support community for help, and was involved with the very first FND Hope Facebook support group from it’s inception in 2011.
Vivienne has worked in pastoral care, as a remedial and special education teacher, and later as a problem solver, trainer, telephone support person and computer programmer for almost 30 years in the computer industry so she has a long history of helping and teaching others.
Vivienne is excited to be taking on the position of Secretary of FND Hope Australia. She is passionate about encouraging new research to be undertaken, and to spreading the word about some amazing and exciting new advances that are emerging as a result of recent advances in the FND Medical Community.