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The podcast feeding the movement to cure paralysis

Spinal Media (Episode 103)

Guest: Leanne Rees

Our guest today is Leann Rees. Leanne is a physical therapist with a PhD from Melbourne, Australia. She’s been in the business of rehab and reintegration for 30 years, 20 of which were spent in spinal cord injury.  Leanne’s doctoral thesis examined many aspects and consequences of the media portrayal of spinal cord injury and that is what we’re talking today. This is a fascinating discussion about the historical and contemporary portrayals of SCI and how that portrayal influences the SCI Community and general population. We talk about the reporting of:

  • extreme ends of a spectrum of tragedy vs. triumph
  • the characterization or trope of someone living with SCI
  • the difficulty of portraying the inherent nuance of Spinal Cord Injury in the media 
  • how the goals and incentives of journalism don’t necessarily line up with the stories that we want to tell
  • the emerging impact of social media and how it is changing traditional journalism 

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Listen on: Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Soundcloud

Bumper music: Dig a Hole by Freaque

Guest Bio

Leanne Rees, MPH, PhD, has worked as a physiotherapist in spinal cord injury (SCI) rehabilitation for nearly twenty years in Melbourne, Australia. In 2018 she completed a Master of Public Health, and gained interest in social and environmental factors that inform experiences of people with SCI. In 2023 Leanne completed a PhD investigating the representation, creation, and impact of SCI in Australian news media. Today, Leanne holds a post-doctoral fellowship with Novo Nordisk Foundation, Centre for Stem Cell Medicine, reNEW Melbourne, based at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute. Here Leanne is investigating how health care professionals navigate hope offered by unproven therapies in the online age.

Learn more and connect with Dr. Rees here:

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