Sandra Pretorius (South Africa)

Since on the program, Sandra has completed her PhD. She is currently co-ordinating financial aspects of the Wits NCD Leadership program and jointly received Seed funding award with SOCRU members on, a collaborative project.

I have completed my undergraduate studies, B-Dietetics, at the University of Pretoria in 1992 with a postgraduate diploma in hospital dietetics (UP) in 1995 and have completed a masters degree in rehabilitation, MPhil Rehab, at the University of Stellenbosch in 2010, with the title,  ‘Food choices and macro- and micronutrient intake of Sowetans with heart failure’. 

I started working as a dietician at the Soweto Cardiovascular Research Unit and the ‘Heart of Soweto Study’ (HOS) in 2006.  In 2007, I did a pilot study as part of the HOS study, investigating the food choices of 50 consecutive patients presenting with heart failure, at the heart failure clinic, at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. Data from this study was presented at ‘SA Heart Congress (2007)’, an abstract was published in the ‘SAMJ (2007) and the results of this study has since been written up and published in the Cardiovascular Journal of Africa (CVJA), 2011.  My masters research thesis evolved from this, to describe the food choices and macro- and micronutrient intake of 100 randomised Sowetans with heart failure who visited the cardiology clinic at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.  In 2009 initiated a ‘Heart Failure Management Program’ as part of the HOS.  The aim of this program is to develop a specific, culturally appropriate and affordable management program for people living with heart failure in Soweto.

I was coordinator for the University of the Witwatersrand Research Thrusts (Diseases of Lifestyle & Molecular Biosciences) from August 2009 until July 2011, and am currently enrolled for a full-time PhD at the University of the Witwatersrand, Faculty of Health Sciences, starting 2011 and the recipient of a NIH (USA) Millennium Leadership Training Programme on Non-communicable Diseases scholarship from the University of the Witwatersrand.  The title of my research proposal is, ‘Community-based intervention programmes for the prevention of chronic non- communicable diseases in Soweto’.