Inaugural director to drive key UNDA rehab research

12 Mar 2009

By The Record

Director of Notre Dame’s new Institute for Health and Rehabilitation Research to unite various fields of study in one area.             


Associate Professor Beth Hands


Vice Chancellor Professor Celia Hammond has announced the appointment of Associate Professor Beth Hands as the Director of the University of Notre Dame Australia’s Institute for Health and Rehabilitation Research.
Associate Professor Hands is currently an Associate Dean in the School of Health Sciences.  She was the Project Director for the WA Child and Adolescent Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey 2003 in partnership with the Premier’s Physical Activity Taskforce and is currently the Chief Investigator of several significant research projects.
Her research interests focus on physical activity, fitness and motor development in typically developing young children and those with disabilities.
Professor Hammond said the Institute will unite various elements of study.
“The Institute will bring together staff from medicine, health sciences, the professions of nursing, physiotherapy and some of the disciplines within the Arts and Social and Behavioural Sciences, particularly counselling,” Professor Hammond said. 
“Whilst physically located in the School of Health Sciences on the University’s Fremantle Campus, its sphere of activity is university-wide.” Associate Professor Hands explained that the Institute’s purpose is to promote learning, scholarship, research and professional development in health and rehabilitation by drawing together scholars with different but complementary professional and disciplinary backgrounds.
“Our key objectives are to foster interdisciplinary and interprofessional scholarship, research and learning experiences in health and rehabilitation,” Associate Professor Hand said in a statement. 
“It is our intention to undertake scholarship and research which will enhance the learning opportunities for students enrolled in health related disciplines at the university. 
“My role as Director initially will be to develop a strategic plan which will particularise and prioritise the goals of the Institute and identify how they will be met.”
The projects that will initially be associated with the Institute will be chosen from those that concentrate on the areas of:
• Healthy Children and Youth – relating to physical activity and fitness and to the prevention of chronic health disorders such as obesity and diabetes and exercise rehabilitation in neuro-developmental disorders and neurotrauma and evaluating preventive health strategies.
• Healthy Ageing – relating to falls and injury prevention, skeletal health, obesity and diabetes prevention and their control through exercise interventions; social isolation, mental disorders (depression and anxiety) and spiritual health in palliative care.
• Rehabilitation Studies – using the University’s investment in rehabilitation science for the community’s benefit across the areas of primary and preventive health care, medical and surgical management, and the sciences and application of rehabilitation management, aimed at improving long-term health.
• Indigenous Health – partnerships with Aboriginal communities in health evaluation research such as long-term physical, social and mental health disorders and the impact of sport and recreation as health interventions. 
Research in the Kimberley will be delivered in partnership with the Nulungu Centre for Indigenous Studies at the Broome Campus.