Late ACU physiotherapy professor remembered with memorial award

Australian Catholic University (ACU) in association with the Low Choy Family have established a memorial award to honour respected Professor of Physiotherapy Nancy Low Choy, who taught and mentored ACU students until her death in April 2022.

The Nancy Low Choy Memorial Award for Excellence in Physiotherapy Honours will offer Bachelor of Physiotherapy Honours students the opportunity to share their research with the physiotherapy community and connect with world leading researchers.

It will be awarded annually, in perpetuity, and comprise a $1,000 prize to assist the recipient to present their results at a suitable conference, a certificate and a medal.

Nancy Low Choy's husband of nearly 50 years, Emeritus Professor Darryl Low Choy, said the award would continue Nancy's work in supporting early research students to promote their research findings and encouraging them to continue their studies into higher degrees.

"She was always concerned for young married physios who were starting a family while at the same time having aspirations to start a post-graduate course because she knew the challenges she herself faced. She always encouraged them to keep going with their studies," he said.

"Nancy was always interested in honours students, and encouraged them to do honours in the hope that would lead to higher education. This was most obvious at ACU, who have a strong honours program.

"I and my daughters believe that Nancy's career was cut short, so the way to keep her legacy alive and to get Nancy's work continued is through establishing awards like these."

Professor Low Choy's legacy in the Australian physiotherapy community spanned 50 years across clinical practice, education and research. She was particularly known for her research in ageing and neurological physiotherapy. Her last university appointment was at ACU Banyo, as Professor of Physiotherapy (Aged Care and Neurological Rehabilitation), a conjoint appointment with The Prince Charles Hospital.

Her career was "cut short" in 2016, when she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer requiring immediate intensive treatment.

Professor Low Choy remained at ACU until her retirement from higher education in 2018, though was subsequently awarded Honorary Professorial positions and continued supervising students "well into her illness".

During her five years with ACU, she supervised 15 Physiotherapy Honours students and several Masters and PhD students. This added to the more than 100 research students she had supervised during her entire 50-year career.

Professor of Physiotherapy and ACU Banyo Interim Campus Dean, Professor Suzanne Kuys, said Professor Low Choy was a highly respected health practitioner and friend of more than 20 years.

"Nancy was one of the most influential and supportive leaders in physiotherapy in Australia, and the fact that many of our staff are her former students is testament to her impact in the profession," Professor Kuys said.

"I was privileged to know and work with Nancy for the past 20 plus years and she was amazing and giving mentor.

"In honour of Nancy's contribution to physiotherapy, ACU is proud to establish the Nancy Low Choy Memorial Award for Excellence in Physiotherapy Honours in support of our honours students.

"The award acknowledges Nancy's commitment to supporting students through Honours and Post Graduate studies, and her belief in the impact that these achievements have on physiotherapists."

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