There was a buzz in the air as staff, students and social partners gathered for the third annual Community Engagement Showcasing, Pitching and Excellence Awards on the 14th of December 2022. The awards aim to recognise and award community engagement projects which show a high positive impact on communities whilst aligning to the values, principles, and objectives of the ENVISION2030, initiated by staff and students.

Dr Charmaine Korporaal was awarded the prestigious Staff of the Year Award in the Excellence Category for her various community engagement initiatives at DUT. To qualify for an excellence award, staff, students, and social partners must be nominated by a staff or student at DUT. The nominations are then reviewed by the Review Panel, which comprises members of the Engagement Committee and DUT staff members, where the final winner is then selected.

Dr Korporaal is a Senior Lecturer in the Chiropractic Department. Korporaal’s community engagement work is supported by both staff and students in the department. Expressing the nature of her engagement work, Dr Korporaal highlighted, “We provide chiropractic services to members of a wide variety of communities in many community settings, which include urban (old age homes, retirement villages, wellness days), rural (community clinics) as well as various sporting locales (developmental and elite). We also respond in support of health care personnel. Outside of the delivery of chiropractic services we also provide linkages and support through other NGOs, NPOs, HEIs and others that can provide community support.”           

Speaking on the objectives of her work, Dr Korporaal states that it is ultimately to provide sustainable healthcare for patients and communities through education and practice; and to spread awareness about chiropractic as a profession. She further elaborates on how the project also allows the student volunteers to hone their skills to become robust and competitive graduates, who can run their own practices.

Dr Korporaal was humbled by the award nomination and win – “It was an unexpected, but pleasant surprise. I do however feel that the award is not only mine but also the many students and community support pillars that have enabled the process that allows for mutual benefit for the students, the community, and the DUT. Therefore, this award should go to all of them for allowing me to enable the processes that underpin the community engagement efforts”

The work done by Dr Korporaal and her students is momentous – she highlights how the project has been developed and implemented over the last 20 years. Her hope is for more support for the project internally and externally, so that the reach of their work may expand.

Picture: Dr Korporaal and her students that were assisting athletes with chiropractic services at the end of the 2023 Woodview Marathon

Tracy Khuzwayo

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