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28th Sep


Ankylosing Spondylitis Special Interest Group (ASSIG)

Update – September 28th 2011
Since the formalising of the Ankylosing Spondylitis Special Interest Group (ASSIG) in May 2011 at the Brisbane ARA conference, the group chaired by physiotherapist Margaret Llewington held a first teleconference on the 2nd of August 2011.

Under the direction of research portfolio holder, physiotherapist, Janet Millner, the group has begun planning for a Consensus Statement answering specific questions on exercise and best practice in the management of Ankylosing Spondylitis. Currently a group of 10 physiotherapists are developing a list of clinical questions with the aim of performing a systematic literature search. Currently the Executive and members include all physiotherapists. It is the aim of the group to involve all health professionals who treat and advise patients with AS and associated conditions.

You are invited to join ASSIG. Until our web presence is initiated could you email John Barron, Secretary ASSIG (

A reminder is given about the on line learning initiative for physiotherapists. This two module online course aims to increase practitioner recognition of the signs and symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis. Early referral to a Rheumatologist is then facilitated. The APA (Australia Physiotherapy Association) has endorsed the course and you are encouraged to complete the modules for which continuing education points are accepted by the A.P.A. Of course the on-line e-learning rheumatology course is free to all RHPA members and for anyone involved with patients having inflammatory arthritis the understanding gained from completing this 7 module course is substantial. The very detailed content relates to the immune system in health and disease with particular focus on RA.

The group invites all health professionals to consider joining ASSIG.

Should you have any queries regarding the group’s activities and a wish to become actively involved, please direct queries to Margaret Llewington at and John Barron at

Currently physiotherapist Briony Chasle from Sydney, NSW, is responsible for liaison with those states/territories not represented by members of the working group of ASSIG (ie: Northern Territory, ACT). Her email contact is

Lindsay Dutton and Rachael Butterworth hold the Education Portfolio responsible for the co-ordination of education projects and reports. Kirsty Beinke, physiotherapist, holds the Health Promotion Portfolio, responsible for liaison with patient groups’ individuals and promotion of ASSIG education material. Physiotherapist Jenny O’Reilly holds the Pharmaceutical Company Liaison Portfolio and is responsible for liaison with Pharmaceutical Companies. Errol Linn is responsible for the maintenance of the ASSIG page on the RHPA website and co-ordination of other electronic communications. Tony Morley is Treasurer and John Barron Secretary.

We invite you to join our group reminding you of our aim which is “to promote and support the optimal management of individuals with Ankylosing Spondylitis and associated conditions”.

John Barron
Secretary ASSIG

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