Congress awards for USC stu­dents

Sunshine Coast Daily - - YOUR WEEKEND -

TWO Oc­cu­pa­tional Ther­apy stu­dents from the Uni­ver­sity of the Sun­shine Coast have won awards at the 2018 Sin­ga­poreIn­ter­na­tional Phys­io­ther­apy Congress for their re­search into boost­ing health and as­sist­ing re­cov­ery from in­jury.

Clau­dia Cut­ler, 21, of Moun­tain Creek won the Best Over­all Poster award, while Cheyenne Baines, 21, of Sippy Downs gained the prize for Best Pre­sen­ta­tion: Mus­cu­loskele­tal Phys­io­ther­apy.

Clau­dia’s poster was a snap­shot of re­search con­ducted as part of her hon­ours de­gree and fea­tured in­no­va­tive items such as a QR code that pro­vides in­for­ma­tion on how to build a per­sonal force sen­sor that can test var­i­ous phys­i­cal func­tions.

“It was a good way of show­ing clin­i­cians the great things we’re do­ing at USC, par­tic­u­larly re­gard­ing hand strength as­sess­ments for peo­ple who have ex­pe­ri­enced hand in­juries,” Clau­dia said.

Cheyenne’s pre­sen­ta­tion de­tailed re­search on gait speed (one of the best in­di­ca­tors of over­all health sta­tus) and the devel­op­ment of a de­vice that dra­mat­i­cally re­duces test­ing time and pro­vides a more ac­cu­rate score than a tra­di­tional stop­watch.

“The judges were very im­pressed with our re­search into a low-cost de­vice that’s able to mea­sure walk­ing speed and that can be used any­where, not just in a clin­i­cal set­ting,” Cheyenne said.

“I was up against phys­io­ther­a­pists from all over the world, so to win the award was a bit of a ‘pinch me’ mo­ment.”

The stu­dents’ re­search su­per­vi­sor, USC Se­nior Re­search Fel­low Dr Ross Clark, said it was rare for stu­dents to be in­vited to present at con­fer­ences like this, let alone win awards.

“It’s par­tic­u­larly in­ter­est­ing given they are OT stu­dents at a physio congress, but those two in­dus­tries re­ally do work handin-hand,” said Dr Clark, who is also a Na­tional Health and Med­i­cal Re­search Coun­cil RD Wright Biomed­i­cal Fel­low.

Dur­ing their trip, the USC stu­dents also vis­ited the Sin­ga­pore Gen­eral Hospi­tal – a fa­cil­ity about four times the size of the Sun­shine Coast Uni­ver­sity Hospi­tal.

Clau­dia, who ex­pects to have a re­search pa­per pub­lished in the Aus­tralian Oc­cu­pa­tional Ther­apy Jour­nal soon, said she was ex­cited about her fu­ture as an oc­cu­pa­tional ther­a­pist.

“I’m just so grate­ful for this op­por­tu­nity and be­ing able to work with USC aca­demics, like Dr Anita Hamil­ton, who has years of clin­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence,” she said. “That has helped me so much.”

Photo: Contributed

EF­FORTS PRAISED: USC Oc­cu­pa­tional Ther­apy stu­dents Cheyenne Baines and Clau­dia Cut­ler at the 2018 Sin­ga­pore-In­ter­na­tional Phys­io­ther­apy Congress with their re­search su­per­vi­sor Dr Ross Clark.

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