Yvonne Burns Award

APA National Paediatric Group - Yvonne Burns Award

The APA National Paediatric Group Yvonne Burns Award recognises an outstanding contribution made by a physiotherapist to paediatric physiotherapy.


The APA National Paediatric Group Yvonne Burns Award recipient must have current membership with the Australian Physiotherapy Association.

The award recipient needs to have demonstrated the worthiness of their contribution in at least three of the following areas:

  • clinical or practice management
  • academic achievement
  • research and publications
  • teaching and mentoring
  • service to the profession
  • advocacy for children and their families, and/or the profession.

In achieving outstanding contribution to the health and well-being of children and their families, and/or to the profession, the recipient will have displayed:

  • excellence in their standard of clinical practice and/or management, recognised by peers
  • exceptional leadership that has engendered improved health outcomes (directly or indirectly) for children and their families
  • high motivation that has inspired children, families, colleagues and/or students
  • commitment to conveying information to a broader audience (both professional and non-professional) beyond the sphere of their immediate area of work. Evidence of this commitment would include publication of research in peer-reviewed journals, conference presentations, as well as advocacy and /or mentoring endeavours.
  • commitment to development of the paediatric physiotherapy profession, evidenced by involvement in professional and/or advocacy committees, contribution to formal tertiary and/or continuing professional development programs and/or mentoring of peers, trainees.


A nomination form may be obtained by emailing ng@australian.physio.


This award was established in 2001 in recognition of the outstanding contribution that Associate Professor Yvonne Burns had made to the field of paediatric physiotherapy in Australia. As a clinician, teacher, researcher and mentor, Yvonne worked tirelessly with a compelling drive to improve the health and wellbeing of children with disabilities and their families.

As well as excelling in clinical practice, Yvonne had a distinguished academic career teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and as a researcher in the field of motor development of preterm infants. Her research in this area was a seminal work in collaborative Australian physiotherapy research. Yvonne also constantly supported and mentored others to achieve excellence in professional practice whether by clinical or research pursuits both within and outside the tertiary sector.

Yvonne’s mentoring role extended beyond one on one encounters. Her commitment to the profession was also remarkable with fulfilment of leadership roles within the APA and various community organisations. Yvonne’s passionate approach to her work, her humble but enthusiastic personality and career achievements had a major and lasting impact on paediatric physiotherapy practice in Australia and in turn, also led to the betterment of children’s health and wellbeing.

Yvonne's career highlights included:


1958: Diploma in Physiotherapy, University of Melbourne

1983: PhD, University of Queensland

1987: Master of Physiotherapy, University of Queensland

Clinical, Teaching and Research

1958-1963: Clinician in Melbourne, London, Scotland

1964-1977: Physiotherapist in Charge, Cerebral Palsy League of Queensland

1977-2001: Appointment to School of Physiotherapy, University of Queensland

1988-1998: Head of Department of Physiotherapy, University of Queensland

1978-current: Co-Founder of Growth & Development Clinic and Pre Term Infant Research Team, Mater Children’s Hospital, Brisbane

Professional Leadership

1981, 1982 President of Qld Branch of APA

Current Chairmanship of the following committees:

  • APA Physiotherapy Research Foundation Grants Review Committee
  • Dorothy Hopkins Clinical Research Award Committee
  • APA National Paediatric Group Academic and Clinical Standards Committee
  • University of Queensland Physiotherapy Alumni


1993: Honoured Membership of APA

1995: Lawrie O’Brien Award for Research and Clinical Service to Children

1996: Life Membership, Queensland Spastic Welfare League

Board Memberships

Cerebral Palsy League, Queensland

Aged Care, Wesley Uniting Church, Brisbane

Upon Yvonne’s retirement from the School of Physiotherapy at the University of Queensland in 2001, the APA National Paediatric Group established this paediatric physiotherapy award in her honour. The inaugural award was presented to Yvonne at the 2001 APA National Paediatric Conference held in Melbourne.