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Information for masters’ and PhD students

The Master's programme is an option for students who wish to pursue study at a higher academic level. Students completing the MHealSci (Rehabilitation) degree will not only demonstrate evidence of their ability to complete high-level academic study, but also possession of research skills to an internationally recognised standard.

The main objective of doing a research project at Master's level is to demonstrate that you can tackle research in an appropriate way, collect and manage data, interpret your findings and carry out constructive criticism. It is not a requirement that the results should necessarily represent a substantial contribution to knowledge in the field.

PhD in Rehabilitation Studies information

Current masters’ and PhD students

Currently completing master’s with the RTRU:

Liane De Klerk (2021 ongoing). MHealSc by thesis. Psychosocial factors influencing Police Officers’ Return to Work Outcomes: A Phenomenological Study. Supervisors: Rob Griffiths and Fi Graham.

Jane Edith Hamer (2020 ongoing). MHealSc by thesis. What are caregivers experiences of implementing sleep positioning systems for children with complex physical neurodisability? Supervisors: Fi Graham and Anna Ranta.

Cheree Taylor (2020 ongoing). MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by thesis. To research Pacific Island parents’ experiences of skin to skin contact with their preterm infant while on New Zealand based neonatal units. Supervisors: Fi Graham and Dawn Elder.

Currently completing a PhD with the RTRU:

Catherine Vingerhoets (2020 ongoing) PhD. The Integration of Patient Values in Evidence-Based Practice by Interprofessional Teams in Stroke Rehabilitation. Jean Hay-Smith and Fi Graham.

Carla Strubbia (2019 ongoing) PhD. Testing and exploring the application of technologies in clinical practice. William Levack and Rebecca Grainger.

Kadri Englas (2018 to ongoing) PhD. Rehabilitation for traumatic brain injury (TBI): an overview of systematic reviews. William Levack and Jean Hay-Smith.

Melinda Lee E Silva (2017 ongoing) PhD. The effectiveness of 24 hour postural management supported by eHealth in improving /maintaining ROM, reducing pain, and supporting achievement of child and caregiver goals for children aged 5 - 12, GMFC III – IV. Fi Graham, William Levack and Jean Hay-Smith.

Completed masters’ projects

Year conferred: 2021

Anna Hobman (2019-2021). MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by thesis. Patient perspectives on the causes and prevention of rehospitalisation for exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: A qualitative study. Supervisors: William Levack and Bernadette Jones. Awarded with credit.

Year conferred: 2020

Suzanne Kaye Charles (2018-2020). MHealSc by dissertation. What it is to participate in physical activity with depressed mood after concussion: An Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis. Supervisors: Fi Graham and Debbie Snell. Awarded with distinction.

Kristen Lynda Clarke (2018-2020). MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by dissertation. Concussion education for parents of high school sports players: A feasibility study. Supervisors: Jean Hay-Smith and William Levack. Awarded with distinction.

Kimberley Elizabeth Watkins (2018-2020). MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by thesis. What does upscaling evidence-based rehabilitation mean globally? A qualitative description of international variation in stroke rehabilitation. Supervisors: William Levack and Jean Hay-Smith. Awarded with Credit.

Heidi Hendrika Verhagen (2017-2020). MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by thesis. Effects of a novel massage treatment for chronic low back pain. Supervisor: Will Taylor. Awarded with Credit.

Year conferred: 2018

Heather Griffin (2017 to 2018). MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by project. A systematic literature review on the attributes of, and processes, that enable 'good' teamwork in the provision of multidisciplinary adult chronic pain services. Supervisor: Jean Hay-Smith.

Amber Salanoa (2014 to 2018). MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by thesis. What factors influence whether older community-dwelling people, living alone, report a fall? Supervisors: Jean Hay-Smith, Mark Weatherall.

Henry Fane de Salis (2015 to 2018). MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by thesis. Factors affecting successful participation in the workplace by adults with dyslexia: an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Supervisors: William Levack,

Sarah Lillas (2015 to 2018). MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by thesis. Reducing the Impact of Traumatic Brain Injury Related Fatigue on Paid Employment: A client perspective. Supervisors: Jean Hay-Smith, William Levack.

Amanda Robyn Porter (2014-2018). Master of Health Sciences endorsed in Rehabilitation by research project. The social participation experiences of service/assistance dog owners with physical/cognitive impairment, Otago. Supervisor: Will Taylor. Awarded with credit.

Year conferred: 2017

Rachel Bladon (2014 to 2017). MHealSc (Rehabilitation). Exploring the work experiences of people with multiple sclerosis. Supervisors: William Levack, Hilda Mulligan.

Sandra Bourke (2016 to 2017). MMedSc. Patient experience of different imaging modalities for arthritis evaluation. Supervisors: William Taylor, Nicola Dalbeth.

Mark Adams (2015 to 2017). MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by thesis. A cohort study of psychological factors in relationship to pain in patients with spinal cord injury and stroke in New Zealand. Supervisor: Mark Weatherall

Paul Hurst (2013 to 2017). MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by project. Clinicians' experiences and perceptions of using training in motivational interviewing for use in community rehabilitation with older adults: a qualitative study. Supervisor: William Levack

Paula Stephenson (2015 to 2017). MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by project. Nurses with disabilities' descriptions of inclusion in the nursing workforce: a systematic review. Supervisor: Fi Graham.

Year conferred: 2016

Sally Heppenstall (2013 to 2016) MHealSc by thesis. Validation of the InterRai RUGS-III in three New Zealand District Health Boards. Supervisors: Will Taylor, Sally Keeling. Awarded with distinction.

Vicki Devery (2012 to 2016). MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by project. Obstacles and facilitators to behaviour change for adopting safe manual handling practices. Supervisor: William Levack.

Kerry Thornton (2013 to 2016). MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by project. Experiences of institutional living of for working age adults with acquired neurological disability: a qualitative metasynthesis. Supervisor: William Levack.

Rebecca Washbourn (2013 to 2016) MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by thesis. Deepening understandings of rehabilitation in the Cook Islands: An action research study with Te Vaerua Rehabilitation Service. Supervisors: Fiona Graham, William Levack. Awarded with credit.

Sarkaw Mohammad (2014 to 2016). MHealSc(Rehabilitation). Exploring paramedics’ thoughts on, and expectations from, manipulative therapy for chronic low back pain. Supervisors: Jean-Hay Smith, Rebecca Grainger. Awarded with credit.

Year conferred: 2015

Theresa Dyer (2010 to 2015). MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by research project. Antibiotic resistant infection: who tells the patient? Supervisor: William Taylor

Emily Timothy (nee Redhead) (2013 to 2015). MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by thesis. Some(body) else: Transitions in embodiment after stroke. Supervisors: Fiona Graham, William Levack. Awarded with distinction.

Cherie le Lievre (2013 to 2015) MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by thesis. Is the Participation and Environment Measure for Children and Youth (PEM-CY) valid in a general New Zealand population? Supervisors: Fiona Graham, William Taylor. Awarded with Distinction.

Year conferred: 2014

Rachelle Martin (2012 to 2014). MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by thesis. The experience of life goal planning in the rehabilitation of people with acquired neurological disability: an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Supervisors: William Levack, Anne Sinnott. Awarded with distinction.

Billie Searing (2012 to 2014). MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by thesis. Supervisors: Fiona Graham, Rebecca Grainger. Awarded with credit.

Tara Martin (2012 to 2014) MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by thesis. Can a rhythmical auditory cueing exercise programme reduce fall rate in persons with Parkinson's disease (PD) and freezing of gait? A feasibility study. Supervisors: Mark Weatherall, Michael MacAskill, Tim Anderson.

Lauren Lopez (née Mulrooney) (2011 to 2014) MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by thesis. Adjustment in the context of using a wheelchair after lower limb amputation. Supervisors: Fiona Graham, Jean Hay-Smith. Awarded with credit.

Year conferred: 2013

Craig Hughes (2010 to 2013). MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by research project. Rob Griffiths, Rebecca Grainger. Assessing simulated emergency egress capability from an underground coal-mine in a clinical assessment: a feasibility study. Awarded with credit.

Stephanie Thompson (2011 to 2013). MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by thesis. Effect of the rehabilitation setting on motivation post stroke. Supervisors: William Taylor, Mark Weatherall. Awarded with distinction.

Tracey Daysh-Andrew (2011 to 2013). MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by research project. Evaluation of the Offender Reintegration Process for Work and Income clients being released from Manawatu Prison Health Unit into Primary Care Services. Supervisor: William Taylor.

Year conferred: 2012

Jane Large (2006 to 2012). MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by research project. Assessment processes and integrated care for older people: a case study in the intersection of policy and practice. Sally Keeling.

Leighton Murray (2010 to 2012). MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by research project. Adherence to land-based exercise in the conservative management of osteoarthritis of the knee joint: an integrative review. Rebecca Grainger.

Maria van den Heuvel (2010 to 2012). MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by thesis. The experiences of managing paid personal care following spinal cord injury. William Levack, Jean Hay-Smith.

Claire Freeman (2009 to 2012). MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by thesis. Provisional title - Experiences of intimacy in the acute spinal cord injury rehabilitation environment. Jean Hay-Smith, Bernadette Cassidy. Supported by the Health Research Council Disability Research Placement Programme. Awarded with distinction.

Sally Powell (2011 to 2012). MHealSc (Nursing Clinical) by dissertation. The demographic profile of patients accessing the Sleep Pathway via the Canterbury District Health Board. Sandra Richardson, Fi Graham.

Year conferred: 2011

Pauline Boland (2009 to 2011) MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by thesis. Provisional title - Resiliency and multiple sclerosis – individuals and carers – a qualitative investigation. Awarded with distinction. William Levack, Sheena Hudson. Supported by the Health Research Council Disability Research Placement Programme.

Trudi Conway (2008 to 2011). MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by thesis. Exploration of the experiences and perceptions of spinal cord injured people who attend outdoor recreation programmes. Awarded with credit. William Levack, Sue Lord.

Sharon Mackie (2009 to 2011). MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by research project. Awarded with credit. Eileen McKinlay.

Jill Nalder (2008 to 2011). MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by thesis. Provisional title - Patients' experiences of a clinical trial physiotherapy programme for chronic hip or knee osteoarthritis. Awarded with distinction. Sarah Dean, Sheena Hudson, William Levack.

Julianne O'Donnell (2010 to 2011). MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by research project. Determination of aerobic fitness in people with long-standing spinal cord injury. William Taylor.

Elaine Tyrrell (2008 to 2011). MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by thesis. Contribution of nursing to rehabilitation of the elderly: perspectives of patients and family. Awarded with distinction. William Levack, Lorraine Ritchie. Supported by the Health Research Council Disability Research Placement Programme.

Christine Wyles (2008 to 2011). MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by thesis. Characteristics of vocally disruptive behaviour in patients with dementia in private hospitals and possible interventions. Awarded with distinction. Mark Weatherall.

Gail Hyland (2009 to submitted 2011). MHealSc by theis. Experiences of pelvic floor muscle exercises for pelvic organ prolapse. Jean Hay-Smith, Gareth Treharne.

Alex Smith (2008 to submitted 2011). MA in Education. What do you do if you don't do stairs? Social marketing campaigns for health promotion and young disabled people in New Zealand. William Levack, Sheena Hudson. Supported by the Health Research Council Disability Research Placement Programme.

Year conferred: 2010

Blair Cross (2008 to 2010). MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by thesis. Exploring beliefs about pain and their relationship with treatment recommendations: A pilot online survey for occupational therapists. Awarded with distinction. Sarah Dean, Jean Hay-Smith.

Sue Doesburg (2008 to 2010). MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by research project. Physiotherapy in Primary Care. Awarded with distinction. William Taylor.

Milensu Shanyinde (2009 to 2010). MSc (Statistics with applications in Medicine) by dissertation, University of Southampton, UK. Characteristics of published Randomized Controlled Trials that researchers chose to describe as 'Pilot' and 'Feasibility' in the title. Ruth Pickering, Mark Weatherall.

Janette Turner (2007 to 2010). MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by thesis. The experiences of the development of depression after first time stroke during hospitalisation taking into account the stressors of environmental change. William Levack, William Taylor.

Year conferred: 2009

Anne Burston (2007 to 2009). MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by thesis. Does time of day affect the outcome of the Dix-Hallpike maneuver, when testing for Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)? Awarded with credit. Mark Weatherall, Stuart Mossman

Bowers, M. (2008 to 2009). MSc (Statistics with applications in Medicine) by dissertation, University of Southampton, UK. A systematic review of open label extension studies. Ruth Pickering, Mark Weatherall.

Karen Michalanney (2008 to 2009). MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by research project. Add title. Awarded with credit. Richard Siegert.

Joanne Nunnerley (2006 to 2009). MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by thesis. The experience of leaving a spinal unit and returning to the wider community. Awarded with distinction. Jean Hay-Smith, Sarah Dean.

Year conferred: 2008

Lyndal Barkle (2006 to 2008). MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by thesis. The effects of hyperbaric exposure on the normal vestibular system. Awarded with credit. Rob Griffiths, Richard Siegert.

Jane Bradshaw (2003 to 2008). MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by thesis. Factors influencing physiotherapists implementation of the NZ Acute Low Back Pain Guide. William Levack, Richard Siegert, Kath Ryan.

Mely Brown (2006 to 2008). MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by thesis. Percpetions of musculoskeletal pain and treatment choice: an exploration of illness percpetions and choices of conventional or complementary therapies. Awarded with distinction. Sarah Dean, William Taylor, Jean-Hay Smith.

Chris Gregg (2006 to 2008). MHealSc by thesis. Diagnosing active spondylolysis. Which variable are associated with the outcome of a bone scan?. Awarded with distinction. Sarah Dean, Tony Schneiders.

Lee-Anne Taylor (2005 to 2008). MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by thesis. Can Clinical Pilates decrease pain and improve function in people complaining of non-specific chronic low back pain? A pilot study. Jean Hay-Smith, Sarah Dean.

Year conferred: 2007

Janet Copeland (2005 to 2007). MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by thesis. Physiotherapy management of low back pain: A survey of the use of outcome measures in New Zealand. Awarded with distinction. William Taylor, Sarah Dean.

Cameron Crawford (2000 to 2007). MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by thesis. Exploring general practitioner (GP) identification and management of pyschosocial 'Yellow Flags' in acute low back pain. Awarded with distinction. Kath Ryan, Ted Shipton, Harry McNaughton.

Gretchen Thomas (2005 to 2007). MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by thesis. Exploring work satisfaction following a return to work programme post back injury. Awarded with credit. Sarah Dean, Anne Sinnott.

Year conferred: 2006

Bridget Dickson (2003 to 2006). MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by dissertation. Experiences of interdisciplinary team members involved in the rehabilitation of somatoform disorder. Awarded with credit. Jean Hay-Smith, Sarah Dean.

Kimberley Donovan (2003 to 2006). MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by thesis. Effect of three environments on gait performance of community ambulant stroke survivors. Awarded with distinction. Sue Lord, Harry McNaughton.

Marshall Hollister-Jones (2002 to 2006). MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by dissertation. General practitioners' identification and management of psychosocial issues following illness or injury. Awarded with distinction. Rob Griffiths, Penny Brander.

Donaleen Shiell (2001 to 2006). MHealSc (Rehabilitation) by dissertation. What is it tat affects a client's adherence to a graduated return to work programme. Awarded with credit. Sarah Dean, Rob Griffiths.

Phillip Silverman (2003 to 2006). MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by dissertation. The degree of accuracy between the abstract and main body of published medical research. Richard Siegert, Rob Siebers.

Nicole Vipond (2001 to 2006). MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by thesis. Randomised controlled trial of splintage versus non-splintage for digital flexor tendon injuries. Awarded with distinction. William Taylor, Mark Rider.

Patricia Warhurst (1999 to 2006). MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by dissertation. What do chronic low back pain clients want from the client provider interaction? Sue Lord.

Year conferred: 2005

Lynley Chirnside (2000 to 2005). MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by thesis. Rural nurses as rehabilitationists. Awarded with credit. Alison Stewart, Anne Sinnott, Kath McPherson.

Year conferred: 2004

Joanne Williams Goertzen (1999 to 2006). MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by thesis. Physical work performance evaluation and work status. Rob Griffiths, Sue Lord.

Karen Porter (2001 to 2004). MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by thesis. An investigation into the use of constraint-induced movement therapy for chronic stroke patients in a physiotherapy outpatient setting. Awarded with distinction. Sue Lord, Richard Siegert.

Year conferred: 2003

Robin Maxwell (2001 to 2003). MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by thesis. Passive standing equipment: the extent, frequency and duration of, and factors associated with, its ongoing use in the first ten years after complete spinal cord injury. Harry McNaughton, Anne Sinnott.

Year conferred: 2002

William Levack (2000 to 2002). MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by thesis. Being there: the experience of attempting to return to work following traumatic brain injury. Awarded with distinction. Kath McPherson.

Garth Munro (1999 to 2002). MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by thesis. The attitudes and experiences of physiotherapists in the NZ private practitioners accreditation scheme: a qualitative study. Awarded with credit. Kath Ryan, Kath McPherson.

Julia Myers (1999 to 2002). MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by thesis. Variation in health related quality of life by people people with a disabling health condition. Awarded with distinction. William Taylor, Kath McPherson.

Russell Simpson (1999 to 2002). MHealSc(Rehabilitation) by thesis. Are quality of life measures senstive to changes in patients with rheumatoid arthritis following hospital treatment? Awarded with distinction. William Taylor, Kath McPherson.

Completed PhDs

Jenny Prentice (2014 to 2019) PhD, part-time. Undertaking motivation in aged care workers. Mark Weatherall, Rebecca Grainger, William Levack.

Rachelle Martin (2013 to 2018) PhD, Evaluation of the effectiveness of Riding for the Disabled. Fiona Graham, William Taylor, William Levack, Lois Surgenor.

Emily Davidson. (2012 to 2017). PhD, Measurement of change in self-identity after traumatic brain injury. William Levack, Will Taylor.

Pauline Boland, (2012 to 2016) PhD, full-time. Prescription and management of assistive technology for people with stroke. William Levack, Fiona Graham.

Elizabeth Mayland (2009 to 2016). PhD, full-time. A conceptual exploration of psychological distress following mild to moderate traumatic upper limb injuries. Gareth Treharne, Jean Hay-Smith. Supported by a University of Otago Postgraduate Award.

Janet Macdonald (2011 to 2015). PhD, full-time. The process and experience of family carers managing nursing procedures at home. William Levack, Sally Keeling. Supported by the Health Research Council, Disability Research Placement Programme.

Anna Ranta (2011 to 2014) PhD, Transient ischaemic attack and stroke electronic decision support to improve stroke care in New Zealand. Susan Dovey, John Campbell, Mark Weatherall.

Lynne Clay (2010 to 2014). PhD, full-time. "There are risks to be taken and some just push it too far": A mixed methods exploration of human risk factors in agricultural quad-bike incidents in New Zealand. A. Stephen Milosavljevic, Jean Hay-Smith, Gareth Treharne. Supported by a University of Otago PhD Scholarship.

Moazzam Zaidi (2008 to 2014). PhD, full-time. Participation in a blood and body fluid exposure programme in a multinational healthcare facility in an emerging country. Rob Griffith, William Levack, Mark Newson-Smith, Peter Larson, and Salem Beshyah.

Ines Becker (2009 to 2013). PhD, full-time. Anatomy of the symphysis pubis joint and symphysis pubis pain in first pregnancy. University of Otago. Mark Stringer, Stephanie Woodley and PhD Committe from the Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology. Jean Hay-Smith (Advisor).

Esther Woodbury (2008 to 2013). PhD, Auto-mobile: The impact of driving on the health and well-being, social participation and economic situation of work-aged people with long term physical disabilities in New Zealand. Sunny Davies, Philippa Howden-Chapman, William Levack.

Ramona Tiatia (2007 to 2013). PhD, Family-centred healing at home: a Samoan epistemology of Samoan families' experiences of home dialysis and home detention in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Philippa Howden-Chapman, Sarah Dean.

Matire Harwood (2001 to 2012). PhD, Understanding and Improving Stroke Recovery for Maori and Their Whanau. William Taylor, Kathryn McPherson, Harry McNaughton, Papaarangi Reid, Bridget Robson.

Jennifer Dunn (2007 to 2011). PhD, Upper limb reconstructive surgery in persons with tetraplegia. University of Otago. Jean Hay-Smith, Sally Keeling, Lisa Whitehead. Supported by the Health Research Council, Disability Research Placement Programme.

Meredith Perry (2007 to 2011). PhD, Activity and change in weekly activity levels over time in people with low back pain. Sarah Dean, David Baxter, Leigh Hale.

Deborah Snell (2006 to 2010). PhD, Neuropsychological remediation following mild traumatic brain injury. University of Otago. Jean Hay-Smith, Lois Surgenor, Richard Siegert. Supported by the University of Otago, Fanny Evans Scholarship.

William Levack (2004 to 2008). PhD, Goal planning in rehabilitation for people with acquired brain injury: a grounded theory investigation. Kath McPherson, Sarah Dean, Richard Siegert.

Sue Lord (2000 to 2006). PhD, The relevance, measurement and attainment of community ambulation after stroke. Kath McPherson, Harry McNaughton, Lynn Rochester.

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