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Otago honours physiotherapy leader

The Clocktowers clock

Wednesday 16 August 2017 11:53am

Stanley Paris
Dr Stanley Paris

Internationally renowned physiotherapist Dr Stanley Paris will receive an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from the University of Otago this weekend.

Dr Paris, who graduated from the New Zealand School of Physiotherapy in 1957, is a pioneer in the manual and manipulative physiotherapy, an endurance athlete and a noted philanthropist.

University Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne says Dr Paris epitomises the Otago way as demonstrated by his devotion to advancing his profession, his appetite for adventure and his generosity of spirit.

“Stanley Paris has truly made his mark on his profession, and one that is overwhelmingly positive. He has been a tireless advocate of physical therapy as something that can transform the quality of people’s lives. He is devoted to ensuring that patients can regain as much function as they can, rather than focusing solely on relieving the pain they feel,” Professor Hayne says.

Dr Paris attended Otago Boys’ High School and then completed studies at the School of Physiotherapy. After this, he gained a scholarship in 1963 to investigate the treatment of backache in Europe and North America. He then returned to Dunedin and instructed at the School and entered private practice with his father.

He began teaching courses in the area to colleagues in New Zealand in 1964 as well as writing his first book The Spinal Lesion. Dr Paris has since published more than 40 articles in physical therapy, medical, and osteopathic journals.

In 1975, Dr Paris became founding president of the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in Florida, which now has campuses in California, Florida and Texas.

He is the past Founding President of the Orthopaedic Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. He is a leader in the field of manipulation and manual therapy and was the founding chairman and later President of the International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Physical Therapists (IFOMPT).

In 2011, the World Confederation for Physical Therapy recognised Dr Paris through its Mildred Elson Award “for outstanding leadership contributing significantly to the development of physical therapy internationally”.

Alongside his professional interests, he is an athlete and adventurer. Dr Paris has the ambition to become fastest (and oldest) person to do a solo circumnavigation of the globe by a cruising yacht, in further support of the Foundation for Physical Therapy in the US, to which he and his wife Catherine Patla gave a $3 million gift earlier this year.

His many sporting pursuits include twice swimming the English Channel and completing the World Championship Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii - all in his later years. Last year he motorcycled 9,000km from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to Key West Florida in under seven days and bicycled coast to coast across the United States in 30 days, and at the age of 79.

Dr Paris will be conferred with his honorary doctorate at the graduation ceremony at 3pm on Saturday 19 August. He will also deliver the ceremony’s graduation address.

For more information, please contact:

Simon Ancell
Senior Research Communications Adviser
Tel: 64 3 479 5016

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