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July 2017

Message from the Dean

School of Physiotherapy staff and PhD candidates at the World Confederation for Physical Therapy global congress in Cape Town, South Africa.

Welcome to the third edition of our School of Physiotherapy alumni newsletter.

Our students have already completed the first semester, marking is completed and our students are currently on break. Second semester starts in mid-July. Our staff are busy working on a review of the curriculum and we plan to roll this out for our Year 2 students at the start of 2018. Our goal with the curriculum review is to further the integration of our physio papers and the focus on patient centred care.

5 staff and 2 PhD candidates headed to the World Confederation for Physical Therapy global conference in Cape Town, South Africa in July. Everyone was actively involved not only in presentations and focus symposiums but also networking sessions.

We have also been successful in achieving Health Research Council project funding for a project entitled 'Community exercise for long-term management of diabetes and multi-morbidity'.

Our Physiotherapy Clinics in Dunedin and Christchurch (Barrington) continue continue to provide quality clinical placements in a variety of areas including musculoskeletal, occupational health, women's health and pain management.

So far a successful and productive year for the School.

Warm wishes,

Leigh Hale, Physiotherapy Dean

Alumni stories

Margaret Borland

Margaret BorlandWhen asked what sort of natural skills those aspiring to a career in physiotherapy might need Margaret Borland (née Pyle) suggests that her youthful ability to perform tumbles and somersaults with ease may well have tipped the tables in her favour.

Margaret Borland (née Pyle) second from left.

Margaret aimed for an Arts degree majoring in French at Otago and a career in journalism, only to be told by an advisor that journalism was 'not a career for girls'.

Read more about Margaret's interesting life and work experiences

Billie McLeod

physio_staff.billie mcleodTremendous advances in available technologies have taken the practice of physiotherapy to an entirely new level in the past few years.

The recent arrival of a new Equitest® machine in the School's Balance Clinic will allow complex individual patient information to be acquired, analysed and interrogated in 'real time'.

Reliable clinical data was somewhat harder to acquire in the 1940's when young Dunedin woman Billie McLeod first spoke with her vocational guidance counselor about career options.

Our full interview with Billie is here

Research stories

Research highlight: Knee osteoarthritis research

OA knee therapy studyCathy Chapple has a long standing interest in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis (OA).

She had many years of experience working as a physiotherapist in the public sector, treating patients with chronic conditions such as OA. This expertise proved useful when she undertook her PhD under the supervision of A/P Haxby Abbott, working on the HRC-funded Management of Osteoarthritis (MOA) clinical trial. Further research work in the same area followed, including the set-up of the physiotherapist-led Joint Clinic at Dunedin Hospital, which aimed to relieve pressure on the orthopaedic clinics and improve patient care. Following this she took up a lectureship at the School.

Cathy's groundbreaking work is detailed here

Graduate research: Carrie Falling


Otago physiotherapy honour's graduate and now postgraduate researcher Carrie Falling hails from Alabama in the United States.

Her earlier academic work in her home country was in the creative sphere, and she holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a Major in Studio Glass.

For a time Carrie practiced as a studio glassblower working alongside internationally renowned glass artists, sculptors, and ceramicists, and also taught at community art centres.

She undertook training as a digestive health specialist and sports massage therapist before going into private practice in Chicago, Illinois where she focused on the treatment of high-performance endurance athletes.

From creative career to leading edge research, Carrie's career advances

More research news and events

  • HRC funding secured for a community exercise programme for diabetes and multimorbidity: Professor Leigh Hale, Dr Ram Mani, Dr Prasath Jayakaran, and Chris Higgs from the School of Physiotherapy have secured $1,181,772 funding for a Community Exercise Programme (CEP), for people living with type II diabetes based on an inter-professional co-ordinated, patient centred, whānau-supported package of care.
  • School of Physiotherapy staff attended the World Confederation for Physical Therapy in Cape Town 2-4 July.
  • CHARR events: We will be hosting a number of events over the coming months that are open to Alumni to attend in person or via Zoom. These include our regular seminar series for semester 2, and our 4th CHARR Research showcase in November. Keep an eye on our research webpage for further details.
  • Research activities from 2016 in detail here

Meet our clinical staff

Stuart Horton

physio_Stuart Horton and spine retouchedProfessional Practice Fellow Stuart Horton is an Otago graduate and has been a practicing physiotherapist for 25 years.

Stuart admits that he knew little about physiotherapy until a family friend working in the field encouraged him to apply to study it. He tells us that he finds the profession hugely rewarding and that his chosen career has opened up multiple avenues for scholarship and research, and for the real world application of those investigations.

Read how Stuart's work effectively combines clinical practice and teaching


Graeme Nuttridge

Graeme was a well-known and well respected musculoskeletal physiotherapist in Christchurch and the principal owner of Physio South along with his wife Marie.

He trained at Otago Polytechnic completing his diploma of physiotherapy in 1980. He then went on to complete his Dip MT from NZMPA in 1984, and his Diploma in McKenzie Diagnosis and Mechanical Therapy in 1992. Graeme completed his Master's degree in 2001 looking at the injury profile in NZ Cricket.

More about Graeme

More news

Our home for 20 years

The School of Physiotherapy Building at 325 Great King StreetThe School of Physiotherapy has just celebrated 20 years in the 'building that looks like a ship's bow'.

The building at 325 Great King Street was purpose built for the School after it had camped in the Hercus building for a few years.

The building, which also houses the Division of Health Sciences Administration on the 4th Floor and part of the ground floor has already undergone a few transformations in its 20 years. The original plan always had a Physiotherapy Clinic including a hydrotherapy pool on the ground floor and there were ideas for a rooftop garden but the budget was cut and so the ground floor area became a car park and archives area.

The archives area has since been taken over by a generator plant, part of the car park by IT and air conditioning plant covers the rooftop, but the rest of the car park is now a thriving Physiotherapy Clinic - minus the hydrotherapy pool.

Keep in touch

As University of Otago School of Physiotherapy alumni – you belong to a rich and diverse world wide community. Stay in touch and continue a rewarding relationship with your University, your fellow Otago alumni and the School.

If you have any suggestions for stories or know inspirational Physio alumni you might like to see us profile, please email: or Freephone 0800 OU PHTY (0800 68 7489) (within New Zealand)

We would love to hear from you.

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