Speech pathology honours’ research project outcomes and oral presentations, and occupational therapy community development projects, honours and poster presentations were among the wide range of student projects showcased at the School of Allied Health student conference on 11 November.
Nicole Cassar, Director of Sustainability at the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, delivered an inspiring keynote address. Ms Cassar’s expertise and experience as an allied health professional was an excellent addition to the conference program as she spoke about her work in building community capacity in culturally safe practices which strengthens inclusion, understanding and health in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Speech pathology students presented case study data based on placement at organisations including St Vincent’s Hospital (NSW), Monash Health, and Hornsby Kurringai Health Service as well as at many and varied early intervention agencies, community health centres, and schools.
Student Mia Simson reflected on the conference saying: “It was fitting and exciting to draw our four years of studies to a close by exhibiting our skills and passions to peers who would soon become our colleagues.”
“Thank you to our wonderful and dedicated teaching staff for their hard work in making the student conference a success,” she said
Occupational therapy poster presentations provided an opportunity for students to showcase their advanced practice projects to their peers, academic staff and to conference guests. Melbourne students Helen Fuller, Andrew Mizzi and Jordan Lebroy presented on Kicking Goals for OT: A Sons of The West (SOTW) Initiative as part of their project with Sons of the West – Western Bulldogs Football Club.
SOTW is an asset based community development program developed for a diverse, vulnerable population of men, with the potential to enhance individual participants and beyond; in the realms of resilience, health literacy, physical activity and chronic disease self-management. David Pickering-Gummer, Community Health and Wellbeing Manager at the Western Bulldogs Football Club said the students have been an amazing contribution to the 2016 program.
“This year we were extremely fortunate to have three passionate Occupational Therapy students look at how OT can play an important role in promoting health and preventing disease and disability within the program. Through activity focused, client-centred strategies, it was shown that OT’s can help unpack the complexities of health, providing a more holistic approach to supporting men to lead healthy lives. The students’ dedication and eye for detail has led to the addition of a number of new therapeutic methods and strategies. I am positive all three students will make fantastic Occupational Therapists, allowing their clients to be the best they can possibility be,” he said.
Oral presentations related to the unit of study Community Based Rehabilitation and Development enabled students to share about their community engagement experiences working with local community organisations. North Sydney Students Alexander Drake, John Chapman and John Warne-Pombart presented on the Strathfield Conversation Club as part of their project with Metro-Assist. The Strathfield Conversation Club is an English Conversation Club run for members of the Strathfield community with the purpose of improving confidence in spoken English and to provide links with employment pathways.
National Head, School of Allied Health, Professor Christine Imms congratulated the students on their endeavours, and their lecturers and supervisors for their support.
“The conference program was rich in diversity – including project reports from both speech pathology and occupational therapy from a range of settings. I am particularly pleased about the development of our School, and we can celebrate the achievements of our students from all four of our disciplines - speech pathology, occupational therapy, social work and public health - who will graduate this year.”
Many staff from the School of Allied Health, Faculty of Health Sciences and other ACU departments participated to support the students and celebrate their achievements.