Anne-Lise Christensen, M.A. (Psychology), Adjunct Professor Emerita and former director of the Center for Brain Injury Rehabilitation at the University of Copenhagen, is dead.
Anne-Lise was a central figure within Danish neuropsychology and had, both domestically and internationally, critical significance for the development of holistic rehabilitation of persons with an acquired brain injury.
Anne-Lise began her clinical work in hospital departments in Copenhagen and as a chief psychologist in Århus. She was a pioneer in the work of describing neuropsychological symptoms in people with brain injury in practice. Her meetings with the Soviet neuropsychologist A.R. Luria’s work became decisive for her. Luria’s theory formed the starting point for the qualitative and theory-based study of people with brain injury that Anne-Lise introduced into Denmark and other Nordic countries. In Luria’s work, she found at the same time a theoretical framework for how effective retraining could be understood as resulting from the reorganization of functional systems. This was a model for understanding, which did not lie far from our current understanding of network-based reorganization and compensatory activation.
Through her work, Anne-Lise built up a large international professional network, both in the USA, Europe and Russia. In the USA, she established contact with numerous leading rehabilitation psychologists, among others, Yehuda Ben Yishay at New York University. With considerable inspiration from the USA she established, together with the Danish neuropsychologist Eva Mugge Pinner, the Center for Brain Injury Rehabilitation at Copenhagen University in 1985. The center attained critical significance for brain-injured patients and became, at the same time and not least through Anne-Lise’s extensive professional network, an important center for education and inspiration for neuropsychologists and other professional groups. The holistic approach also required multi-professional collaboration. Anne-Lise established early both clinical and research co-operation with, among others, speech pathologists, medical doctors, special educators and physiotherapists. It is difficult to grasp completely today, but the Center’s work and Anne-Lise’s insistence that people with a brain injury could attain better functioning via rehabilitation, was then in the 1980’s considered controversial. The holistic and multi-professional rehabilitation model has since shown its considerable strength and the basic ideas that Anne-List helped to introduce has had extensive significance for the development of rehabilitation in Denmark.
Anne-Lise has taught national and internationally, published a long string of articles and books, received national and international prizes, and received honorary doctorates from the University at the University of Lund in Sweden and the University of Århus in Denmark. After retiring, she continued to be active as a teacher and supervisor and she maintained for several years a collaboration with the SARAH network of rehabilitation hospitals in Brazil.
Those of us who knew Anne-Lise will remember her as a professionally inspiring and colourful person, but also as a person who encountered a deal of opposition in her life, and, despite many honours, often experienced having to struggle for recognition.
Birgitte Hysse Forchhammer
Cand. Psych., Ph.d., Head of Neuropsychology, Rigshospitalet, Denmark
The WFNR welcomed a new Honorary Member during WCNR2014 in Istanbul – Klaus von Wild, Professor of Neurosurgery at Wilhelm University in Münster, Germany. Professor von Wild is the former Treasurer of WFNR.
“Klaus has been an advocate for neurorehabilitation for over 20 years. He has worked tirelessly to engage and foster networks around the world” said Stephanie Clarke, WFNR President - General Asssembly, WCNR2014.