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April 2018

Message from the Dean

Kia ora

Welcome to our first issue for 2018.

physio_thumbnail. Leigh Hale  2017We are already well into the academic year, welcoming our new cohort of Year 2 students and implementing the refresh of our 2nd year Physiotherapy papers.

Welcome back also to our 3rd and 4th years, and to our new Postgraduates.

Our highlight of the year so far has been the visit to Ōtākou Marae with the 2nd year class. This visit marked the start of their Hauora Māori curriculum. Covering this curriculum on the marae, alongside the beautiful scenery and excellent weather, added depth and understanding. Our thanks to the Ōtākou marae and the whānua who assisted Katrina Bryant (Kaiārahi Māori) and gifted us their taonga, time and knowledge.

Our research year has had a busy start with the roll out of a number of new research projects, including our Health Research Council (HRC) Diabetes Community Exercise Programme trial. Our staff continue to publish to a high standard; with 2017 our highest number of publications in high quality journals to date. We've also had a large number of PhD candidates submit over the last few months – a commendable effort and best of luck for the examination process.

Our School of Physiotherapy Clinics continue to provide a quality clinical experience to our students and the public. In orientation week in Dunedin our “pop up” clinics across campus proved to be both novel and successful. Of note is that our clinic in Christchurch is now called “The School of Physiotherapy Clinics - Christchurch”.

We're looking forward to the PNZ conference, being held in Dunedin on the 14 -16 September this year, and hope to see many of you there.

If the start of the year is any indicator, we have a busy year ahead of us.

Leigh Hale, Physiotherapy Dean

Alumni stories

Sara Drum

physio_world physio day with sara drum in iraq 2017Like many young Otago graduates, physiotherapist Sara Drum left her home country in 1998 and set out for the brighter lights of London.

She had no way of knowing the kind of challenges and rewards her career in physiotherapy would offer.

Sara (second from left) joins colleagues in Mosul, Iraq on World Physiotherapy Day 2018

Sara spoke with us recently about her work with the International Committee for the Red Cross.

physio_mathew amultai and chris higgs 418. 2017Mathew Amituanai

The usual career trajectory for a new graduate from the School of Physiotherapy starts with a year or two in a busy hospital setting.

Physiotherapist Mathew Amunatai (left) and Clinical Education Programme Lead Chris Higgs

Mathew tells us that chance played a part in his early career.

Research news

Research highlight:

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) research

physio_ACL gisela mandeep thumbnailDr Gisela Sole has developed an impressive body of research work in the area of ACL research.

We spoke with her recently about her interests in the area and the work of her students.

Dr Gisela Sole (right) and postgraduate student Mandeep Kaur

Read the complete interview here

More CHARR research news and events

Research highlights 2017: check out some highlights from our past year, including: funding awards, publications, graduate students success, and event attended. Research highlights from 2017

Upcoming events: ACL symposium, CHARR seminar series, CARE givers and support workers symposium 'Save the date' 7 June 2018

Grant success: Congratulations to Lizhou Liu on the award of a New Zealand–China Non Communicable Diseases Research Collaboration Centre (NCD CRCC) travel award, and to PhD candidates Donald Manlapaz and Kesava Sampath on the award of Maurice and Phyllis Paykel Trust Travel Scholarships.

If you would like to learn more about any of our research please contact:

Meet our staff

Introducing Gail Hyland

physio_Hyland Gail 2018 418Dunedin physiotherapist Gail Hyland is a skilful problem solver in the field of Women's Health.

Gail graduated in 1981, and before joining the School spent some years working in musculoskeletal physiotherapy in both public and private sectors.

She tells us about her work in Women's Health and her postgraduate studies in physiotherapy

Student stories

physio_relay for life 2018 dylan boothOn the 17th March 2018 over 40 Physiotherapy students took part in the annual Relay for Life at the Caledonian Grounds in Dunedin.

A weary but undaunted Dylan Booth was one of them ...

Read about the Relay of Life and our student's experience this time around

History notes

As we approach commemorations of 150 years at the University of Otago we salute all past, present and future students and staff at the School of Physiotherapy at Otago.


A group of physiotherapy students (and one crocodile) at the Physiotherapy Ball in Dunedin in 1960

If you are planning an event or organising a class reunion, do get in touch with us. We can offer help, and encouragement with logistics and planning.

Visit the dedicated University of Otago 150th commemorations site.

Keep in touch

As University of Otago and School of Physiotherapy alumni – you belong to a rich and diverse world wide community.

Stay connected and continue a rewarding relationship with your University, your fellow Otago alumni and the School.

If you are planning an event or organising a class reunion, do contact us. We can offer help, and encouragement with logistics and planning.

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

You can now follow the School of Physiotherapy on Twitter. Our Twitter handle is: @physiOtago

Please do keep in touch.

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