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September / Hepetema  2020

Message from the Dean

physio_thumbnail. Leigh Hale  2017

Welcome to our September-October 2020 newsletter.

Since the return to our building in June we have been focused on returning to the “new normal” of teaching and clinical practice under COVID restrictions.  It has been great to have the students return to campus in July and be able to offer them a hands-on teaching experience.

Our staff and students have enjoyed being back and appreciating how much we all enjoy our clinical education and “hands-on” roles.

With the return to L2 and 3 restrictions in August we adjusted to new guidelines for social distancing, use of masks, and a return to making sure we can deliver our classes on line and in person. Likewise, we readjusted our research activities to ensure we met regulations but kept our research progressing. A big thank you to all our staff, students, and colleagues who support our students (under-graduate, post-graduate and graduate research students)  for making this transition as easy as possible.

Research staff have also been incredibly busy (and successful) writing grants applications and publications. We recently acquired two HRC activations grants and three University of Otago Research grants. And we've still managed some celebration! Dr Carrie Falling graduated from her PhD in August. However, the ceremony she was due to graduate in was cancelled due to the new restrictions. With the use of our lab allowing social distancing we were able to celebrate Carrie's 'graduation' with a small mock ceremony.

We have our fingers crossed for the graduation ceremony to run in December for our graduating 4th years, but if not, we'll be sure to find a way to celebrate and mark this important occasion for the students and the profession.

All the best, and especially for our alumni in Auckland, take care of yourself.

Leigh Hale, Dean of School

News from the School

Keeping an eye on vulnerable Kiwis under virus restrictions

Meredith Perry imageDr Meredith Perry from the School of Physiotherapy in Wellington New Zealand is engaged with the well-being of our disabled living under active COVID19 alert conditions.

She tells us about her work within the Ministry of Health's national pandemic response team...

Meet the staff

ICU physiotherapist Sarah Rhodes

The arrival of COVID19 has propelled cardio-respiratory physiotherapists, particularly those working in intensive care, into the spotlight on the global stage.

physio_sarah rhodes respiratory covid  2020 cropped 650

The School of Physiotherapy's Sarah Rhodes and her skilled cardio-respiratory team geared up rapidly for acute care work and to up-skill members of ICU teams.

Here Sarah describes some highs (and some hurdles) of COVID19 related ICU work in her own words ...

Student stories

physio_daniel tan with sunglasses on skifield 2020 thumbnailBright vistas for Daniel Tan

Third-year student at the School of Physiotherapy Daniel Tan has adapted well to shifting circumstances with some help from friends, nature, and whānau.

Find out about his approach to the realities of study under lock-down conditions

New study sheds light on sports concussion

Ongoing disruptions have done little to hamper working physios studying at Otago by distance. Postgraduate sports physiotherapy student Rebecca Blyth is developing tactics which might better help manage concussion.

Why do female football players suffer higher rates of concussions than males?

Research highlights

Research and knowledge transfer are key to activities at the School of Physiotherapy.

Research leadership

Researchers at the School reflect the international texture of the profession.

Research is applied to living well: Meet Professor Leigh Hale

More research news

CHARR researchers are awarded HRC activation grants to support health delivery research

CHARR research week Save the Date: Week beginning December 7, 2020.  Further details will soon be posted at Physio News and on our Twitter feed @otagoCHARR

History notes

Graduates from the School often lead intrepid lives and contribute much to the growth of physiotherapy in New Zealand and internationally.

Physiotherapist Janice Masur was born in Eritrea and raised in Uganda, graduated from the School in 1965 and later forged her physiotherapy career in Vancouver, Canada.

Janice grapples with various wavelengths here...


Susie Simcock, June Gardiner and Pam Bell were well respected New Zealand physiotherapists all educated in Dunedin.

Find tributes to our colleagues

Keep in touch

As University of Otago and School of Physiotherapy alumni – you are part of a rich and diverse worldwide community.

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

Planning an event or organising a class reunion? We can offer help, and encouragement with logistics and planning.

If you would like to receive regular news from Otago alumni, make sure your contact details are up to date by contacting the alumni office at this address

You can follow the School of Physiotherapy on Twitter here: @physiOtago

Follow research activity at the School on Twitter here: @OtagoCHARR

Please do keep in touch.


Lawrence, R. (2005). Branding terroir in the ′New World′: Modes of representation in the wine industry. In P. Sorrell, C. Ozcan, E. Kocabiyik & Z. T. Ultav (Eds.), Proceedings of the IST Product and Service Design Symposium and Exhibition on Agricultural Industries. Izmir, Turkey: Izmir University of Economics. [Full Paper]

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