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Rachelle Martin thumbnailDip Phys(Otago), MHSc(Otago), PhD(Otago)

Tel +64 21 223 3362

Rachelle works as a Lecturer with the Rehabilitation Teaching and Research Unit (RTRU) in the Department of Medicine at the University of Otago, Wellington.

Rachelle is a physiotherapist who has completed her Master of Health Science (endorsed in rehabilitation) in 2014, and her PhD in 2018. Both of these programmes of study were undertaken at the RTRU. She has worked clinically in the area of acquired brain injury in acute and community rehabilitation settings. Alongside her role at the RTRU, Rachelle also works as Research and Knowledge Translation Lead at the Burwood Academy Trust, based in Christchurch.

Rachelle aims to develop equitable health-optimising policies and programmes, enabling people who experience disability to live well across their lifespan. Her research is conducted in a way that supports the development of empowering mana-enhancing health services - acknowledging and building on people's capabilities and strengths.

Rachelle optimises research real-world impact by ensuring that new evidence and knowledge is directly translated into improved ways of working – often within the process of research itself. She is committed to participatory methods that listen to and enhance the voices of disabled people, ensuring their perspectives influence health-related policy, programme and service delivery decisions, and works in partnership with Māori researchers to ensure kaupapa Māori responsiveness.

Rachelle often use realist review, research or evaluation methods to unpack the 'black box' of complex health programmes by developing a theoretically based understanding of 'what works for who, in which contexts, to what extent, and how?' As such, her research supports a nuanced understanding of how people are able to (or not) respond to intervention resources and/or programme mechanisms, and how different contexts (i.e. personal, environmental and societal) may impact on equitable health outcomes.


Dunn, J. A., Martin, R. A., Hackney, J. J., Nunnerley, J. L., Snell, D. L., Bourke, J. A., … Derrett, S. (2023). Developing a conceptual framework for early intervention vocational rehabilitation for people following spinal cord injury. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 33, 179-188. doi: 10.1007/s10926-022-10060-9

Dunn, J. A., Hackney, J. J., Martin, R. A., Tietjens, D., Young, T., Bourke, J. A., Snell, D. L., Nunnerley, J. L., … Derrett, S. (2021). Development of a programme theory for early intervention vocational rehabilitation: A realist literature review. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 31, 730-743. doi: 10.1007/s10926-021-10000-z

Martin, R. A., Graham, F. P., Levack, W. M. M., Taylor, W. J., & Surgenor, L. J. (2020). Exploring how therapeutic horse riding improves health outcomes using a realist framework. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 83(2), 129-139. doi: 10.1177/0308022619865496

Snell, D. L., Martin, R., Surgenor, L. J., Siegert, R. J., Hay-Smith, E. J. C., Melzer, T. R., Anderson, T. J., & Hooper, G. J. (2020). Wrestling with uncertainty after mild traumatic brain injury: A mixed methods study. Disability & Rehabilitation, 42(14), 1942-1953. doi: 10.1080/09638288.2018.1542461

Martin, R. A., Dickie, B., Skinner, H., Hurring, S., Marshall, R., & Hanger, H. C. (2020). Implementing a 'Safe Recovery' fall prevention program: Refining intervention theory using realist methods. Australasian Journal on Ageing, 39, e259-e270. doi: 10.1111/ajag.12795

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