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2023: Semester 1


13th June
Dr Ayeshar Qureshi 'Strengths-based resilience intervention for informal carers of stroke survivors'

11 July
Dr Hui Xiao 'Intersectional perspective on factors influencing healthy ageing amongst older New Zealand men: An exploratory mixed-methods study'

Past seminars 2022

24th May
Dr Ally Calder 'Men and Stroke'

29th May
Associate Professor Gisela Sole 'Co-designed website for people with shoulder pain and physiotherapists: the Otago Shoulder Health project (OtShoH)'

1st March
Professor Lynley Anderson 'Unacceptable Behaviour'

1st February
Amanda Still (PhD Candidate) Physical activity, sleep, and fatigue in Parkinson's disease.

22nd March
Prof Leigh Hale and Chris Higgs 'DCEP: it's all about relationships'

26th April
Dr Carrie Falling 'Big data and COVID and colorectal surgery, oh my! Tales from the yellow brick road'

10th May
Dr Miranda Buhler 'Health delivery'

Past seminars: 2021

For more information:


12th October
Dr Martin Chadwick, Chief Allied Health Professions Officer, Office of the Chief Clinical Officers

7th September
Tim (Sizhong) Wang (PhD candidate): Exploring the role of manual therapy dosage for managing shoulder pain

The application of effective manual therapy for managing subacromial shoulder pain is ambiguous due to the variety of manual therapy techniques, manual therapy dosages, and rationales for their usage.
In his Ph.D. project, Tim will explore the role of manual therapy dosage for managing shoulder pain. In the first study, he will conduct a scoping review to map and summarize the type and dosage of joint mobilizations reported in previous studies to manage patients with subacromial shoulder pain. In the second study, he will explore the efficacy of mobilization with movement (MWM) in patients with subacromial shoulder pain and explore whether a high volume MWM leads to better outcomes compared to low volume MWM. The third study will conduct a pilot trial for comparing the efficacy of MWM with wait-and-see in patients with subacromial shoulder pain after 3 months. Lastly, he will test the reliability and validity of movement-evoked pain assessment in patients with subacromial shoulder pain.

31st August
Professor Peter Crampton “Health system reforms: a time of change and opportunity.”

Peter will reflect on the rationale and implications of the current health system reforms. This talk will contribute to thinking about what a future-focused physiotherapy profession might look like in the NZ healthcare system and thus what we should be thinking about in preparing our UG physio students for future practice in Aotearoa NZ.

10th August
Dr Ally Calder: “The road is long with many a winding turn.” Participatory research reflections.

3rd August:
Anupa Pathak (PhD candidate): Improving acceptability of outcome measures in a low-resource, low-literacy setting: an example of Nepal

Anupa will provide a brief overview of her PhD projects in Nepal. Implementation of patient-reported outcome measures is a significant challenge in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), such as Nepal. In her PhD, Anupa aimed to understand how we can improve the use and acceptability of PROMs in Nepal. For this, she conducted two mixed-methods studies and one systematic review. The first study explored barriers and facilitators to outcome measure use among physiotherapists in Nepal. The second study investigated whether creating alternative verbal response options for the patient-specific functional scale (PSFS) will help improve understanding of the scale in those with low literacy. Lastly, she evaluated the measurement properties of the PSFS in stroke, spinal cord injury and COPD.

13th July
Gerard Farrell (PhD candidate) “Manual Therapy treatment directed at the cervical spine in individuals with post-concussion syndrome”

Semester one

2nd March
Lara Vlietstra 'Screening and treating pre-sarcopenia in middle-aged adults'.

About Lara: After successfully graduating as a physiotherapist in 2014 in the Netherlands, and finishing two master's degrees, Lara decided to stay in academia and pursue a PhD. Lara did her PhD with the Department of Medicine and School of Physiotherapy at the University of Otago and has currently submitted her PhD thesis for examination.

Despite the presence of pre-sarcopenia (stage of sarcopenia in which muscle mass deteriorates, but muscle strength is still intact) in middle-aged adults, previous research has focussed on older individuals. A better understanding of early markers of sarcopenia, age-appropriate screening models, and exercise focused prevention-based interventions, will assist to counteract the surging prevalence of sarcopenia in the ageing population.

9th March
Gary Witte and Jo Farron Diaz 'Ethics for research: update on process'

23rd March
'Celebrating our Summer Student research 2020/2021'

30th March
Miranda Buhler “My thumb is the captain of the ship”: The impact of thumb carpometacarpal osteoarthritis and the effectiveness of splinting

Miranda has been a part-time PhD Candidate since September 2015, based at the Centre for Health, Activity and Rehabilitation Research in the School of Physiotherapy and co-supervised by Dunedin School of Medicine. She also works 0.5FTE as a Hand Therapist and Physiotherapist at Dunedin Hospital. Miranda's research and clinical work focusses on clinical effectiveness of interventions and quality of health service delivery for hand and upper limb conditions. Her PhD thesis, submitted in November 2020, is currently under examination.

Miranda's PhD research aimed to 1) explore the impact of thumb carpometacarpal (CMC) osteoarthritis (OA) from the perspective of people living with the condition, and 2) investigate the effectiveness of splinting interventions for this population. This presentation will outline the methods used (pragmatic qualitative study, systematic review, and feasibility study for future randomised controlled trial), study findings, key challenges, and Miranda's experience of the PhD journey.

13th April
Dr Paulo Henrique Silva Pelicioni 'Investigating balance disorders and fall risk in people with Parkinson's disease'

Paulo is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow who undertakes interdisciplinary research at the intersection of physiotherapy, medical science, and public health, with a focus on ageing and neurological disorders.

This presentation argues about how risk of falling in Parkinson's disease is multifactorial and influenced by clinical features, physiological impairments, medication intake and changes in cortical activity levels.

27th April
Dr Cathy Chapple STarT Back – will it work in NZ?

Dr Cathy Chapple conducts research into the management of musculoskeletal problems including osteoarthritis and low back pain. She has extensive clinical experience in both the UK and NZ and is therefore well-placed to investigate translation of STarT Back from one health system to the other. She is working with a multi-disciplinary research team, with clinical representatives from physiotherapy, general practice, and osteopathy.

Acute low back pain (LBP) is very common, and many people get better after a few weeks with no intervention. However, some patients develop persistent symptoms and disability, and this relates to presence of psychosocial risk factors. The STarT Back tool was developed in the UK and uses a simple 9-item questionnaire to detect psychosocial factors and stratify patients into groups with different risk of developing persistent LBP. Care is then matched to these risk groups. However, it is unknown whether STarT Back is a feasible or acceptable approach in NZ. Our study has engaged with stakeholders at an early stage of the research to explore their perceptions about use of STarT Back in NZ. It is funded by an HRC activation grant.

4th May
Alicia Emerson (PhD Candidate): The experience of chronic musculoskeletal pain in vulnerable populations: Understanding patients' and providers' perspectives regarding the influence of sociocultural/political and historical factors that contribute to marginalization of care

Alicia J. Emerson, PT, DPT, MS, OCS, FAAOMPT, is an Assistant Professor at High Point University. She is the Director of Clinical Practice, which includes directing High Point University's Pro Bono Physical Therapy Clinic.

Chronic musculoskeletal pain is a complex experience. Patients at risk for vulnerability often experience marginalization in healthcare, particularly during the clinical visit. Appreciating the broader system factors that may contribute to discordant conversations can increase educators' /clinicians' awareness, foster overcoming personal biases, and help to better understand patients' expectations. Additionally, educators'/clinicians can acknowledge sociocultural/political factors that may adversely influence outcomes and strive to minimize iatrogenic contributions to medicalized poverty and/or marginalization.

25th May
AP Gisela Sole 'Things will 'go wrong' in research…: reflections on the use of a knee sleeve for ACL reconstruction study.

Gisela Sole is an Associate Professor at the School of Physiotherapy, teaching Musculoskeletal and Sports Physiotherapy on under- and post-graduate programmes. Her research includes how ACL ruptures influence movement patterns, physical and functional performance.

In this presentation she will share the results of a laboratory-based commercially funded research project with people with ACL ruptures. The study determined the immediate and 6-week effects of wearing a knee sleeve on person-reported outcomes, function and movement patterns in persons who had undergone an ACL reconstruction. She will also share experiences of challenges faced during the course of the trial (low recruitment rate, equipment failure, besides COVID19, etc), focussing on the importance of continued problem solving and perseverance to completion.

1st June
Sarah Walker (PhD candidate) Supporting Allied Health Professionals in Rural Areas

Abstract: Sarah's PhD aims to explore the roles of allied health professionals working in rural New Zealand. This will be done through a qualitative strand looking at the experiences of rural allied health professionals, the challenges they face and the attributes and skills needed to reach the full potential of their roles, and a quantitative strand characterising the clinical scope of practice of rural physiotherapists in comparison to their urban counterparts. This presentation will introduce Sarah as a rurally based researcher, outline the methods, and indicate preliminary findings from the qualitative strand.
Bio: Sarah began her PhD with the School of Physiotherapy in February 2020, based at the Section of Rural Health in Dunstan Hospital, Clyde. She is co-supervised by the Department of General Practice and Rural Health, and also works 0.3FTE as a Physiotherapist and Clinical Lead for Central Otago Health Services. Sarah's research focuses on rural healthcare and the rural allied health workforce. Sarah is due to finish her PhD in May 2023

29th June
Dora Gosselin (PhD candidate): Unpredictability and Participation: What do we know and what do we need to know?

Children with cerebral palsy have decreased movement system integrity which may result in difficulty responding to unpredictable circumstances. Our work confirms that children who are typically developing respond to unpredictability by altering gait biomechanics suggesting that further investigation into the impact of unpredictability, in healthy children and those with neuromotor impairment, is warranted. While the relationship between unpredictability and mobility-based participation is not yet established, this work provides a methodology to investigate the relationship in children with cerebral palsy. Additionally, our work aimed to identify the characteristics of the clinical gait assessment tools available for children with cerebral palsy and how they are used by researchers and clinicians.

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