Our people

 

P4PA is run by physiotherapists and researchers from across Australia who are passionate about physical activity.

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Dr Christina Ekegren

Co-convenor

Christina is co-convenor and founder of P4PA. She is a Senior Research Fellow at the Rehabilitation, Ageing and Independent Living (RAIL) Research Centre and the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at Monash University. Christina has a clinical background in physiotherapy and has worked in teaching and research at universities in Australia, the UK and Canada. Her research focuses on the outcomes of traumatic injury, and in particular on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and the risk of developing chronic disease following injury. Christina is a Pilates instructor and dancer, and loves getting out on her bike.

Dr Breanne Kunstler

Dr Breanne Kunstler

Co-convenor

Brea is an early career Research Fellow at BehaviourWorks Australia, Monash University. Before commencing her research career, Brea was working as a physiotherapist in a busy metropolitan hospital. She continues to see patients as a domiciliary physiotherapist.

Brea recently completed her PhD in physical activity promotion by physiotherapists (Federation University Australia). Brea’s research focus is on preventing chronic disease through promoting healthy behaviours, specifically physical activity. 

When she's not at work, you can find Brea training for various physical challenges and posting on Twitter (@Physios4PA). She has run six marathons and has ridden her bike from Melbourne to Sydney to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis research.

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Dr Amy Dennett

Founding member

Amy is a physiotherapist at Eastern Health and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. She recently submitted her PhD on the role of oncology rehabilitation for improving physical activity levels of people with cancer. Her research focus is on improving outcomes and access to rehabilitation for cancer survivors. Amy is a keen netballer, holds a black belt in karate and enjoys snowboarding in the winter and swimming in the summer!

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Dr Genevieve Dwyer

Founding member

Gen is as senior lecturer in the Physiotherapy Program at Western Sydney University and casual academic at the University of Newcastle. She also works as a part-time paediatric clinician in private practice and public health, working with children with disability. Gen’s research interests are related to her passion to promote health and well-being for all children, especially those with disability, through engagement with physical activity. She is a ‘hydrophile’ and whenever possible Gen heads to the water – be it a hydrotherapy pool or beautiful beaches and lakes! If it can be combined with travel – even better!!

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Associate Professor Coralie English

Founding member

Coralie is Associate Professor, Physiotherapy and Deputy Director of the Priority Research Centre for Stroke and Brain Injury, University of Newcastle. She holds a National Heart Foundation Future Leaders Fellowship and leads a group of researchers at the Hunter Medical Research Institute who are committed to discovering and implementing evidence to reduce the impact of stroke through physical activity and addressing sedentary behaviour. Their work spans experimental models, clinical trials and implementation research. Coralie enjoys early morning runs, family bike rides and stand-up paddle boarding.

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Ms Natalie Fini

Founding member

Nat is an APA Neurological Physiotherapist with more than 15 years of experience in neurological rehabilitation. She is a Physiotherapy Lecturer at the University of Melbourne and a PhD candidate at La Trobe University investigating Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Risk in People following Stroke. Nat is Chairperson of the National Neurology Group of the Australian Physiotherapy Association, a Future Leader in the NHMRC CRE for Stroke Rehabilitation and Brain Recovery and is P4PA's Neurology lead. Nat has a passion for ballet having danced for 15 years as a child and recently re-commencing. She also enjoys recreational running and getting active with her young children.

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Assistant Professor Nicole Freene

Founding member

Nicole is a Clinical Assistant Professor in Physiotherapy at the University of Canberra. She has been practising as a physiotherapist for more than 20 years, working in hospital settings and primary health care, and was awarded her PhD in 2014. Nicole has a strong interest in the primary and secondary prevention of chronic disease, spending most of her career working in cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation. Her current research focuses on increasing physical activity levels and decreasing sedentary behaviour in adults, both in healthy and cardiac populations, and physical activity promotion by health professionals. Nicole loves to play netball, walks regularly and tries to run (badly!).

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Dr Leanne Hassett

Founding member

Leanne is a Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy and Senior Research Fellow at The University of Sydney and has a conjoint position in SWSLHD. Her research aims to reduce the global epidemic of physical inactivity, focusing on people with disabilities from neurological conditions. Her research addresses this problem through evaluating innovative delivery of healthcare, evaluating new technologies and exercise interventions, and identifying, promoting and evaluating appropriate opportunities for physical activity including disability sports. Leanne enjoys running, particularly with her kids, and walking her dog.

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Associate Professor Carol Maher

Founding member

Carol is an Associate Research Professor in the Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity (ARENA) at the University of South Australia. Her research focuses on how children's and adults' daily activity patterns (e.g. physical activity, sleep and sedentary behaviours) impact their health. In particular, her work explores how technologies such as wearables, online social networking, mobile phone apps, gamification and notifications can support people make better lifestyle choices, in a fun engaging way. Carol is currently a NHMRC Career Development Fellow (2017-2020) and leads two NHMRC funded projects. She has 140 publications, and is a Section Editor for BMC Public Health.

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Professor Steve McPhail

Founding member

Steve is one of the P4PA founders. He is a Principal Research Fellow, NHMRC CD Fellow (Clinical Research), and Professor of Health Service Research at the Queensland University of Technology and Metro South Health (Queensland). He has a special interest in improving the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of health services for vulnerable people, including older adults, children and people with complex health concerns. This includes investigating clinical care models that promote physical activity as an important health behaviour that yields many benefits. Steve enjoys being active at the beach, jogging in his neighbourhood, and pulling on his boots for the occasional social football game.

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Professor Nora Shields

Founding member

Nora is Professor of Physiotherapy at La Trobe University. Her research aims to improve the health and well-being of people with disability by increasing their participation in exercise and physical activity. She established the innovative, evidence-based FitSkills program in Melbourne in 2014 that facilitates young people with disability to exercise with a student mentor at their local gym.

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Professor Cathie Sherrington

Founding member

Cathie is a Professorial Research Fellow and National Health and Medical Research Council Senior Research Fellowship holder at The Institute for Musculoskeletal Health, School of Public Health, University of Sydney where she leads the Physical Activity, Ageing and Disability Research Stream. Her research focuses on the design and evaluation of falls prevention and exercise interventions for older people and those with disabilities. Cathie has a background as a physiotherapist in aged care and rehabilitation settings and is on of the developed of PEDro the Physiotherapy Evidence Database. She is also President of the ANZ Fall Prevention Society and Secretary of the NSW Cerebral Palsy Sport and Recreation Association. Cathie is a keen recreational runner, belonging to a training group with members from age 8 to 68.

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Professor Nick Taylor

Founding member

Nick is Professor of Allied Health, a joint position between La Trobe University and Eastern Health. He leads the Allied Health Clinical Research Office at Eastern Health. His research focuses on improving rehabilitation outcomes both in the way services are delivered and in investigating interventions that increase physical activity. Nick walks regularly and occasionally swims laps (slowly) at the local pool.

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Ms Kerry West

Founding member

Kerry is an experienced paediatric physiotherapist with many year’s experience working clinically with children with physical disabilities.  She is currently the Head of the Physiotherapy Department at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and undertaking a PhD with the Institute for Musculoskeletal Health, School of Public Health, University of Sydney.  Kerry’s particular interest is in increasing participation in physical activity of children with physical disabilities and other chronic health conditions.  Her PhD is focusing on increasing participation in sport as a means of increasing  physical activity in children with physical disabilities.

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Associate Professor Gavin Williams

Founding member

Gavin is Associate Professor of Physiotherapy Rehabilitation, a joint position appointed between Epworth Healthcare and The University of Melbourne. In this role, Gavin works clinically in the neurological rehabilitation unit at 0.5EFT and in a research role at 0.5EFT. His research interests include traumatic brain injury and adult neurological rehabilitation, high-level mobility, outcome measures and interventions for mobility. Despite the ageing process, Gavin continues to attempt an early morning run. 

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Associate Professor Maureen Ashe

Physiotherapist and Physical Activity Champion

Maureen's research contributions concentrate on chronic disease prevention and management in older adults, with a specific focus on maximizing community mobility to promote active aging. She investigates the impact of middle aged and older adults' physical activity and sedentary behavior, and uses objective measures (accelerometry) to quantify mobility. To date, her work has increased awareness of the low rates of physical activity in community-dwelling older adults, creating the potential for the spiral of mobility-disability. In addition, she has also developed and tested innovative solutions to increase physical activity and reduce sitting time in middle-aged and older populations. The role of the built and social environment is an important theme within her program of research.

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Dr Claire Baldwin

Physiotherapist and Physical Activity Champion

Claire helps the most at-risk patients in hospital get moving, through a program of clinical research. Issues of inactivity and sedentary behaviour usually exist pre-hospitalisation, are exacerbated in hospital, and continue after an acute illness. While Claire's research currently focuses on survivors of a critical illness and older (frail) medical patients, there is sadly a commonality of inactivity across patient groups. Claire loves working with multi-disciplinary teams to tackle this big issue and looks forward to helping a range of acutely hospitalised patient groups.

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Ms Shae Martello

Physiotherapist and Physical Activity Champion

Shae has an interest in researching how nutrition affects recovery in adjunct to physical activity, and also safe resistance training for adolescents to improve performance.

Shae promotes physical activity to her clients by brainstorming how it can fit into their daily routine and helping them explore other options if they do not have an interest in conventional activities.

Shae's personal favourite form of physical activity is resistance training and she attempts to educate all clients on the benefits, especially adolescents.

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Dr Marie-Louise Bird

Physiotherapist and Physical Activity Champion

Marie works in implementation research, improving opportunities for people to participate in relevant (i.e., meets their goals and is evidence based) exercise. To do this, Marie engages with a range of stakeholders to determine how to improve the quality of participation within communities.

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Dr Lucy Lewis

Physiotherapist and Physical Activity Champion

Lucy's research interest is identifying ways to increase physical activity and decrease sitting time in older adults with and without chronic conditions.

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Dr Marina Pinheiro

Physiotherapist and Physical Activity Champion

Marina's aim is to promote physical activity for healthy ageing by leading high-quality research to generate evidence on: the most cost-effective approach to increase population physical activity levels and incorporation of promotion of physical activity into daily practice of healthcare professionals working with older people and those living with mobility impairments.  

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Associate Professor Zoe McKeough

Physiotherapist and Physical Activity Champion

Zoe conducts research on physical activity and sedentary behaviour in people with chronic lung diseases including the examination of interventions such as exercise training and behavioural strategies to improve activity behaviours.

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Dr Christian Barton

Physiotherapist and Physical Activity Champion

Christian as a senior Post-Doctoral Researcher and curren MRFF TRIP Fellow at La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre. He has a Masters in Communications, and is the Deputy Social Media Editor for the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Clinically, he consults to people with persistent musculoskeletal pain at Complete Sports Care in Melbourne, and has strong focus on building peoples self efficacy to live a more active lifestyle. 

 

Christian's research focuses on non-surgical management, including exercise and behaviour change, in people with persistent knee pain and osteoarthritis. With a strong focus on knowledge translation implementation, key projects include co-leading GLA:D Australia (education and exercise program for osteoarthritis), and TREK (online platform providing health information for health professionals and consumers). 

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Dr Joanne Kemp

Physiotherapist and Physical Activity Champion

Dr Joanne Kemp is a Senior Research Fellow at the Latrobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre, Latrobe University, Australia. She is also a titled APA Sport & Exercise Physiotherapist of 25+ years’ experience. Her research and clinical practice work is focussed on hip pain and early onset osteoarthritis (OA) in young and middle-aged adults, and the consequence of injury on joint health. She is also co-project lead for GLA:D Australia, and implementation program for hip and knee OA. She has a particular interest in non-surgical, exercise-based interventions that can slow the progression and reduce the symptoms associated with hip pain and OA.

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Dr Jason Wallis

Physiotherapist and Physical Activity Champion

Jason is a research fellow at the Monash Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Cabrini Health, and Grade 4 musculoskeletal physiotherapist at Cabrini. His research and clinical practice is focused on improving health outcomes (especially physical activity) for people with musculoskeletal conditions. Jason’s PhD (awarded 2018) investigated the role of physical activity for people with hip and knee osteoarthritis. Jason loves running 5km parkruns anywhere in the world!!

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Ms Milly Bell

Physiotherapist and Physical Activity Champion

Milly is a PhD student studying at La Trobe University. Her focus is based around increasing physical activity for people with knee osteoarthritis to improve not only the knee but overall health. Milly has worked with multi-morbidity patients and is passionate about looking at health holistically. When Milly is not at her desk you are likely to see her walking her Seeing Eye Dogs in training, playing hockey, cycling or on a day hike. Milly believes in parking further away to increase incidental exercise.

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Associate Professor Cathy Said

Physiotherapist and Physical Activity Champion

Cathy is a physiotherapist researcher. She has an interest in physical activity while in hospital, in older people and in people with stroke.

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Miss Georgina Clutterbuck

Physiotherapist and Physical Activity Champion

Georgina is a lecturer at Charles Sturt University in Port Macquarie. She is passionate about sports participation for children with disabilities. Her current research focusses on developing, implementing and researching practitioner-led sports groups that bridge the gap between receiving individual physiotherapy and participating in community sports.

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Professor Leon Straker

Physical Activity Champion

Leon is currently involved with epidemiological, intervention and qualitative studies examining physical activity and sedentary behaviour of children and adults, especially related to the impact of technology.

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Dr Yvonne Learmonth

Physiotherapist and Physical Activity Champion

Yvonne's research agenda has examined efficacy-based interventions for enhancing adherence to exercise programs in Multiple Sclerosis (MS); influences of exercise on symptom management; outcome measurement in MS, and clinical exercise promotion in MS. Yvonne's research vision focuses on community physical activity programmes for people with long term conditions, particularly MS.

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Professor Antonio Cuesta-Vargas

Physiotherapist and Physical Activity Champion

Antonio is a Chair in Physiotherapy at the University of Málaga and Principal Research of the Group “Clinimetric” at IBIMA, Spain. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Health at the Queensland University of Technology, Australia. From 2014 he has been an Editor of BMC Sport Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation. Areas of particular interest are clinical physiology and biomechanics with a clinimetric approach and public health and chronic disorders. Antonio enjoys being active at the beach with surfing, sailing and swimming open water or running/walking during tutorials with doctoral students.

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Dr Casey Peiris

Physiotherapist and Physical Activity Champion

Dr Casey Peiris is a lecturer and clinical coordinator at La Trobe University. Her research focuses on physical activity and chronic disease in at risk populations. She has investigate physical activity levels in rehabilitation, people with disability, older adults and people with metabolic syndrome. Casey’s favourite form of physical activity is brisk walking where she can clear her head and simply enjoy her surroundings.

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A/Prof Michele Callisaya

Physiotherapist and Physical Activity Champion

Michele is a practicing physiotherapist and NHMRC Boosting Dementia Leadership fellowship holder at Peninsula Health and Monash University. She also holds a senior position at the University of Tasmania. Her research focuses on ways of improving the physical and cognitive health of older Australians, including specific populations such as stroke and dementia. She is an executive member of the Stroke Society of Australasia, the ANZ Falls Prevention Society and sits on the Australian Physiotherapy Research Foundation Grants committee. To maintain her balance, she runs trails and cross-country skis.

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Jodie Dakic

Physiotherapist and Physical Activity Champion

Jodie is a physiotherapist and a lecturer at Monash University. Her research focuses on the impact of women's health issues such as incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, on exercise participation. She is passionate about enabling people to remain physically active across their lifespan. Areas of special interest include investigating the unique barriers that women face to exercise at different life stages and how health professionals can be involved in screening and managing women's health conditions to allow ongoing physical activity participation. 

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Sarah Grimshaw

Physiotherapist and Physical Activity Champion

Sarah Grimshaw is a physiotherapist with over 15 years experience working in both the acute and community setting. Sarah works as the senior physiotherapist to oncology at the Royal Children’s Hospital and tutors students in the Masters of Physiotherapy degree at La Trobe University. She is currently undertaking her PhD through the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and La Trobe University investigating novel ways to improve activity levels and reduce sedentary behaviours for children with cancer.

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Other members

Physiotherapists and Physical Activity Champions

Neurology members

Professor Sheila Lennon - Flinders University

Ingrid Rosbergen - Queensland Health

Ishanka Weerasekara - University of Newcastle

Sarah Gilmore - St Vincent’s Private, Melbourne

Deborah Douglas - Momentum Sports and Rehabilitation

Elizabeth Ann Lynch - Adelaide University

Genevieve Hendrey - Caulfield Hospital

Associate Professor Jenny McGinley  - University of Melbourne

Professor Julie Bernhardt - Florey Institute

Dr Karen Borschmann - Florey Institute

Kate Phillips - Independent Rehab Services, TAC

Kate Scrivener - Macquarie University

Libby Proud - University of Melbourne

Liz Shannon - Private practice

Michelle McDonnell – University of South Australia

Meg Symington - Austin Health

Paul Gerken - Royal Darwin Hospital

Tamina Levy - FML

Taryn Jones - Macquarie University

Zheng Cao - Hammondcare, Greenwich Hospital, Sydney

Dr Marie-Louise Bird - University of British Columbia, Canada

Associate Professor Sandy (Sandra) Billinger - KU Medical Centre, USA

Ashlee Burns - Klint Intensive Neuro Therapies, Melbourne

Dr Natalie Allen - The University of Sydney

Cardiorespiratory members

Angela Burge - Latrobe University

Professor Anne Holland - Latrobe University

Dr Catherine Granger - University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital

Hayley Rice - Royal Perth Hospital

Jennifer Mackney - University of Newcastle

Katijjahke md Ali - UKM Medical centre, Malaysia

Kylie Hill - Curtin University

Lara Edbrooke - University of Melbourne and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Dr Narelle Cox - Latrobe University

Sally Wootton - NSW Government

Sonia Cheng - University of Sydney

Kuan-Yin Lin - Monash University

Gerontology members

Michele Callisaya - UTAS

Betty Ramsay - University of Sydney

Alexander Alam - University of Sydney

Dr Casey Peiris - Latrobe University

Cath Kirkham - University of Sydney

Lucy Lewis - Flinders University

Taryn Jones - Macquarie University

Dolores Langford - Vancouver Coastal Health, Canada

Kat Habel - Gateway Health, Wangaratta

Paediatric members

Amelia Kan - Scope

Kathryn Clark - Children’s Hospital, Westmead

Kirstin Macdonald - Bond University

Lauren Kable - Department of Education, Queensland

Leanne Johnston - University of Queensland

Lynn Jensen - Curtin University

Nikki Milne - Bond University

Rachel Kennedy - Royal Children’s Hospital, University of Melbourne

Sarah Reedman - University of Queensland

Sjaan Gomersall - University of Queensland

Trish Sim - SBH Queensland

Verity Pacey - Macquarie University

Noula Gibson - Perth Children's Hospital

Other specialty areas

Alison Gibson - Northern Health

Anna Phillips – University of South Australia

Anne Harrison -LaTrobe University, Mercy Health

Antonio Cuesta-Vargas - Adjunct Professor, Queensland University Technology

Benjamin Weeks – Griffith University

Beth McLennan  - John Hunter hospital

Chris Barnett - John Hunter Hospital

Professor David Dunstan - Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute

Dong Wook Kim - University of Sydney

Dulan Kodikara   - Federation University

Associate Professor Helena Frawley - Cabrini Hospital, Monash University

Hyma Kilaparty - Western Sydney

Ishanka Weerasekara - University of Newcastle

Martin Mackey - University of Sydney

Paula Beckenkamp - University of Sydney

Philippa Cotter - Danila Dilba Health Service, Darwin

Venerina Johnson - University of Queensland

Professor Wendy Brown - University of Queensland