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Faculty of Health


Stories in 2013

Health E-News from the Dean


Student Led Physiotherapy (SLP)Clinics, 23 Dec 2013

The SLP clinic has been involved in a number of extra curricula activities throughout 2013. These have included:
• Shanghai University visits: Between the 12th and 13th of August 2013 16 students from the University of Shanghai visited the University of Canberra on a learning trip. In groups of eight these students were able to tour the facilities of the SLP clinic and be introduced to many of the treatment modalities used by students. After each session there was much discussion about the role of physiotherapy and the differences in culture and learning approach between Australia and China. This was an extremely positive experience for both UC and Shanghai University students.
• Simulated learning project with Griffith University: As part of a study driven by Dr Neil Tuttle of Griffith University, the students on clinical Block 9 participated in a simulated clinical learning project. This involved online case based scenarios with actors representing clients with various presentations and an offsite clinical educator acting as the ‘hands’ or facilitator for the session. While this exposed the students to another direction for clinical education, the simulated experiences appears better suited to remote and regional areas of placements where patient exposure is minimal.
• Hawaiian Shirt Fundraiser: On the last day of placement the students collectively planned a Hawaiian shirt day to raise money for the Eden Monaro Cancer Support group. Collectively $67.90 was donated to the cause…and everyone in the clinic had a fun time while raising awareness of the cause with a colourful shirt in the clinic.

New Funding Opportunities for Clinical Education

1 May 2012

This week we received the very welcome news that our collaborative HHF4 bid (Health and Hospitals Funding Round 4) had been successful.

The collaboration is led by Southern General Practice Network (soon to be the South-East Medicare Local), in partnership with ANU and the University of Canberra. It provides infrastructure (largely physical but some relating to e-health functionality) funding for clinical consulting rooms, group rooms, student-led clinics and simulated learning environments, in places which are in close proximity to local hospitals. The sites are in Bega, Moruya and Cooma and include accommodation for students (and on occasion staff) who are working in the region. The synergies among clinical service delivery, clinical training and research are a key.

The Federal Minister for Health and Ageing Tanya Plibersek announced the $31 million to fund new health facilities in personal media stops at Moruya, Bega and Cooma on Tuesday. These facilities (as they are purchased and built) will provide a valuable base for the high quality clinical training we are doing in the region, as many of our regional sites are not well equipped with teaching and training rooms, or low cost accommodation.

Nursing and Midwifery

9 December 2013

Congratulations to Meg Bransgrove, a second-year Nursing student, who was recently selected as one of only five people nationwide for the Australian College of Nursing’s “Emerging Nurse Leader Program”.  Meg will start her final year of her Bachelor of Nursing with a four week international placement in Thailand.  This will be the first time international placements have been undertaken.

22 July 2013

Federal MP, Dr Andrew Leigh, launched the ICTN Simulated Learning program recently in Nursing & Midwifery (click here for more details).

Assistant Prof.Jamie Ranse was interviewed for the careers section of 'Nursing Careers Allied Health'. The article outlines some of Jamie’s research pertaining to disaster nursing in Australia and the need for all nurses to have some awareness of their potential roles in a disaster. Read the article here

Jamie has also been invited as an expert on the World Health Organisations Virtual International Advisory Group on Mass Gatherings. This group provides expert health advice to the WHO regarding major planned and spontaneous events internationally. Some of Jamie's work regarding mass gatherings can be found here.

Dr. Eileen Petrie, Dr. Gylo Hercelinskyj, Mrs.Dale Lilley and Mrs. Cathy Spencer represented Nursing and Midwifery at the Australian College of Nursing Health (ACN) Expo in Sydney. Nursing’s PG courses were a particular focus and included a YouTube clip of Prof. Mary Cruickshank discussing the benefits of Post Graduate study at UC. Watch the clip here

17 June 2013 

Dr Laurie Grealish and Prof. Mary Cruickshank recently travelled to Thailand to teach students in the Faculty of Public Health at Naresuan University, Phitsanoluk, Northern Thailand. The student cohort, enrolled in the Master of Health Services Management, consisted of 12 doctors and 8 dentists and the focus of the teaching was on leadership development for primary health care managers and practitioners. They also met with the University President and the Dean and Associate Deans from the Faculty of Nursing concerning a potential student exchange program and will be visiting UC in June to have further discussions and to meet with the Vice Chancellor and the Thai Ambassador.

Assistant Prof. Jamie Ranse is going to Naresuan University in June at the invitation of Prof. Phudit, Dean of the Faculty of Public Health, to lecture on Disaster Nursing and to have further discussions regarding collaborative research. Prof. Phudit and colleagues visited the University of Canberra last October where they met with the Vice Chancellor, the Thai Ambassador, and the Nursing & Midwifery Disciplines.


17 June 2013 

Following on from a successful visit to Tonga in March to discuss the development of Nursing courses and student and staff exchanges, Emily Molan and Prof. Mary Cruickshank were recently invited to the Tongan Embassy for discussions with Princess Angelika Tuku’aho’, the Ambassador for Tonga. The Nursing Discipline is currently in negotiations with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, the Tupou Tertiary Institute (TTI) and the Director of the Public Hospital in Tonga as they are keen to establish a partnership with the University of Canberra.  The proposed partnership will include 1) offering a 1+2 Bachelor of Nursing model, 2) short courses across several health specialties offered in the intensive and online modes, and 3) off-shore/online postgraduate Nursing courses. A second visit to Tonga is planned for July where a team of UC nurse academics and specialised clinicians from the ACT Health Directorate will deliver an intensive short course in acute care that spans critical care, intensive care and emergency nursing.


Nutrition and Dietetics

17 June 2013

Nutrition and Dietetics was strongly represented at the recent Dieticians Association of Australia conference.  Assistant Prof. Rachel Bacon was one of 6 invited plenary speakers.  Her topic, ‘Clinical Education – from beds to buses’, highlighted our innovative fieldwork practices within the Faculty.

Nutrition & Dietetics staff presented 6 of the 71 oral presentations at the conference (Tanya Lawlis, Cathy Knight-Agarwal, Gabrielle O’Kane, Jane Kellett, Lauren Williams and Master of Nutrition and Dietetics student Scott Fischer). Jane also had a research on malnutrition attracted attention in radio, television, and print media. This story appeared in the Canberra Times.  Tanya’s work on allergy policies in schools has also been in demand with the media.                            


17 June 2013

Assistant Prof. Gabrielle O’Kane organised a visit from Dr Jennifer Wilkins recently as part of the UC Distinguished Visitor Program. Highlights of her visit are:

UC High School Kaleen ‘Super Garden’ workshop
This activity related to the possible development of a ‘Super Garden’ at UC High School Kaleen that would enable nutrition and food sustainability topics to be embedded across the whole school curriculum. It aimed to consider ways in which students from different faculties across UC could become involved in research topics related to food security, food sustainability and other related topics that could involve Design and Education students. Dr Wilkins’ expertise in ‘farm to school’ projects helped the group to consider current assets at the school, what activities would come out of the Super Garden and who needs to be involved. There were over 30 attendees from a range of organisations, such as Canberra Organic Growers’ Society, ACT Health, National Heart Foundation, ACT primary schools and high schools as well as UC academics and the UC Sustainability officer, Beth Mitchell. It was also attended by Shane Rattenbury, ACT MLA. A follow-up meeting with members of a core steering committee is planned for 6th June 2013 with plans to develop governance procedures and short term activities for developing the Super Garden. 

Localising the food system for sustainability
There was a public lecture held on Thursday 30th May at the Ann Harding Centre for 80 guests (photo above centre). This was supported by the Murray Darling Basin (MDB) futures project, CeRAPH and the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA). There was interest from a range of disciplines across the university and professionals from government and non-government organisations. 

3 May 2013

Nutrition and Dietetics students recently volunteered at the Special Olympics Centenary Games held at the Australian Institute of Sport from 5-7 April. This was a huge event that involved 300 competitors. The students assisted with delivering lunch to the athletes, as well as assisting the Special Olympics Australia dietitian in taking anthropometric measurements from each athlete and providing some basic nutrition education. This was an excellent experience for the students, and their help was much appreciated by Special Olympics Australia (we had some very nice emails). Thank you to Kristy Parsons for her generosity in undertaking the co-ordination work; it was much appreciated by the Special Olympics team.

Occupational Therapy

15 March 2013

Josie Reeves, a second year OT student has been published in the Journal of Occupational Science.  This was from an assignment last semester.  The top three essays were submitted; one student has signed a copyright form and the other submission is still under review.  Congratulations to Josie and her fellow students.

18 February 2013

Congratulations to three students in the Masters of Occupational Therapy program who have received awards for their entries in the ACT Government's Life's Reflections competition. The Prize and Awards Ceremony, held at the Canberra Museum and Gallery on 18 February, was opened by Minister for Ageing, Shane Rattenbury MLA. Associate Professor Alison Wicks also received an award, for Outstanding Contribution. In her unit Occupational Therapy for Older Adults, students completed an assessment task which involved submitting some photographs to the Life's Reflections competition. A total of 42 photographs from UC students will now be displayed in the Glass Floor Exhibition space at the Canberra Centre from 24 February to 3 March.  Sarah Reid and Melanie Waite received commendations in the age friendly city category and Jung Chung won third prize in the open category.

 14 February 2013

We received excellent informal feedback on the Master of Occupational Therapy accreditation visit. We already hold provisional accreditation, but this next stage of accreditation was required for our first graduates  (completing in Sem 1 2013) to be registered as occupational therapists. The formal letter is ‘in the mail’ and we expect some conditions as is normal for a new program.  The Accreditation team were very positive about quality of the teaching team, our sessional staff, the support from the Faculty, the resources and infrastructure available (including the Teaching and Learning Centre).


15th February 2013

Head of Discipline Professor Greg Kyle recently has three additional stories appearing in the Canberra Times:

1st February 2013

Earlier this month, Prof Gabrielle Cooper, Dr Greg Kyle and Sheryn Ringland hosted 32 Year 12 students as part of the National Youth Science Forum. The students learnt about pharmacy practice at UC and made creams in the pharmacy practice labs. Many were keen to keep UC in mind for their future university. And while on th topic, we have now 26 acceptances for the new B Pharm; a good outcome given the very late accreditation approval we received in December 2012.


9 November 2012

Record snow season for SouthCare helicopter team For those that missed Gordon Waddington on the big screen, ABC TV aired a research story on snow injuries during the Australian snow season.


22 July 2013

Students in the Masters in Clinical Psychology program have conducted another successful program of Goodbye Bully, a program developed by Dr Pam Connor and students in the clinical program to develop resiliency in young persons who have been the recipients of bullying. 

17 June 2013

Psychology research work led by Dr Stuart Cathcart into the way we feel pain has attracted the interest of the Canberra Times. For more information about the project and/or to register your interest  click here.

Dr Vikki Knott recently presented as part of an Advanced Seminar series at the School of Psychology at the Southern Cross University. Her seminar was entitled, Reducing disparities in cancer outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders via novel methods for communicating cancer concepts and processes. Vikki also discussed the University of Canberra’s involvement in the NHMRC Centre for Excellence, known as, Discovering Indigenous Strategies to Improve Cancer Control Outcomes via Translation and Training (DISCOVER-TT). 

A live video recording from the Coffs Harbour campus enabled students from other campuses,located in Lismore and on the Gold Coast,to watch and participate in a discussion.  Further details, including access to the video recording, are available here.

Vikki has also secured a consultancy (value $13,500) for the preparation of a manuscript involving qualitative research on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tobacco control.  

Public Health

9 December 2013

University of Washington Fulbright Scholar, Professor Andrew Dannenberg, visited the University in late November. Hosted by Faculty of Health – Public Health, Professor Dannenberg led an intensive week-long short course on Healthy and Sustainable Places at the University of Canberra. Thank you to Joan Corbett and all those who helped organise Andy’s two week visit.

Professor Dannenberg is well known for his leadership in collaborative effort to address the health challenges of urban environments. In the USA he now works with the School of Public Health at University of Washington, Seattle, a recognised centre of excellence in the field of healthy sustainable places. Previously he has worked as a consultant and as Team Leader of the Healthy Community Design Initiative in the National Centre for Environmental Health at the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.

An essential focus in the well-received short course was Indigenous perspectives on sustainability. It considered relationships between places (housing, workplaces, schools, healthcare facilities, neighbourhoods, cities, natural ecosystems) and population health.


National Institute for Sports Studies (NISS), 23 Dec 2013

NISS will operate as a University of Canberra Research Centre (UCRC) for three years, affiliated with the Faculty of Health starting Jan 2014 and Prof Kevin Thompson will be the Director for that period. This is a strategic decision by the University to raise sport and exercise related research and innovation to a higher level of visibility within and external to the university given the developments of the Sporting Commons and relationship with Brumbies and other sporting organisations on campus.

Sport and Exercise Science

18 May 2013

Kate Pumpa and Disa Smee (Sports Studies) and Liz Turner (Faculty of Health Clinic) were invited speakers at the Dragons Abreast Conference held in Canberra on Saturday 18th May. Kate presented her research into the efficacy of resistance training in women with breast cancer related lymphoedema; Disa on enhancing cognitive function and maintaining bone density through exercise; and Liz on physiotherapy interventions for women with lymphoedema.

15 March 2013

Sport Studies Head of Discipline Associate Professor Allan Edwards is participating in the National Touch Football Titles in Coffs Harbour this week. Allan is a member of the ACT Men’s Masters team and is an example of lifelong sport participation. He is a former representative Rugby player and has a Gold Medal in Touch competition from the World Masters Games as well as National Titles.