Fund supports state-based research


MJ ROSEN FUND Grant applications are open to new and recent Western Australian graduate members.

Since 2001, the Marcus J Rosen Fund has been helping selected state-based physiotherapy graduates attend a relevant conference to present research findings from their honours or thesis projects.

Marcus, who qualified as a physiotherapist in 1931 and practised in Perth, was a foundation member of the APA Western Australian Branch and Western Australian Physiotherapist Registration Board. The Board and his family provide financial assistance to the fund to support research in the state.

Three recent grant recipients, from Curtin University, share how the fund has helped them.

Rachel Hair, APAM

A successful application enabled Rachel Hair to outline results from her honours research in a poster presentation to international peers in Bangkok.

Two years on from the experience, Rachel describes attending the 2017 World Confederation for Physical Therapy–Asia Western Pacific Region and the Physical Therapy Association of Thailand Congress as an ‘amazing opportunity’ to connect with physiotherapists. ‘There were opportunities to learn not only the latest evidence-based clinical research, but discuss the differences and similarities in our profession across different cultures and countries,’ she says. ‘It was a fantastic conference with a focus on moving towards health, longevity and sustainability in both the education of future physiotherapists and in the continual development of those already in clinical practice.’

Rachel’s work, ‘The relationships between gestational age, activity and motor development in preschool children’, gained strong interest from attendees, with each peer discussion giving the 2016 graduate exposure to global thinkers.

‘The APA is doing a world-class job of supporting its members, and the experience provided encouragement to strengthen international collaboration for advocating the physiotherapy profession in a world of increasing choice and competition.’

She continues her interest in motor development with disability organisation Ability Centre. ‘I have the amazing opportunity to work across the lifespan with customers who have a range of abilities, supporting them as they reach their functional goals and engage in local communities. I am thankful my honours supervisors and school staff encouraged me to apply for the MJ Rosen Fund, and I would encourage others to do the same.’

Phoebe Simpson, APAM

Keen to understand factors that would influence her young son’s movement, Phoebe opted to investigate physical activity and sprinting in children for her honours project.

On successfully applying to the fund, the 2016 graduate presented ‘How does sprint performance, enjoyment and perceived competence influence physical activity in children?’ at the Sports Medicine Australia Conference in Melbourne that same year.

‘Presenting my research was incredibly exciting, but also daunting. My supervisor, Leo Ng, was supportive and attended the session, which was a nice finale to being an undergraduate. I had also been nominated for a new researcher award, so I met with new PhD and honours students. They were really interested in research, which sparked my interest to do my PhD,’ she says.

‘… and the MJ Rosen Fund has me in achieving my goals in providing an evidence-based management approach to treatment.’


Presenting to other health professionals, and ‘watching others from all around the world working’, gave Phoebe a deeper understanding about physical activity.

‘I had a couple of tough questions—one really struck fear in me for my experience at that time—but it showed me the rigour at which research is kept to account. Overall, the experience stood me up quite well to enter clinical work, because I felt ahead of the game in knowing what was coming out at that moment’s time.’

As she completes her PhD full-time, investigating chronic lower back pain, Phoebe works part-time as a sessional academic tutor and at the musculoskeletal private practice Life Ready Physio Bayswater.

‘The whole experience of doing physiotherapy and being involved in the research side has opened up my mind … and the MJ Rosen Fund has helped support me in achieving my goals in providing an evidence-based management approach to treatment.’

Rebekha Duncan, APAM

Sidelined from professional dance through injury, Rebekha opted to study physiotherapy to maintain a link to the performing arts.

After graduating in 2017, Rebekha presented her biomechanical study, ‘Dancers’ joint strategies for achieving turnout in low and high friction conditions: implications for dance injury and training’, at the 28th International Association for Dance Medicine and Science conference in Helsinki, Finland.

‘We analysed external rotation joint angles of the lower limb during three turnout positions,’ she says. ‘Overall, we found that dancers needed to improve their hip external rotation strength to promote a greater external rotation range within all positions.

‘The fund enabled me to present the research at an international dance conference, which gave me exposure to a global audience as attendees included sports physicians, medical practitioners, as well as physiotherapists, with lots of evidence-based workshops to manage dance injuries and performance enhancements.’

Rebekha still teaches dance with a focus on ‘honing and harnessing’ her clinical skills at APS Physio, a clinic that offers dance-related physiotherapy. Physiotherapy, she says, is an ideal career for people passionate about health and movement.

‘It’s really invaluable to have that experience in a particular sport or area of movement. And to have funding to help you share the findings of your research interests with others is encouraging and equally invaluable.’

MJ Rosen Fund grant applications for WA graduate members close on 4 October. Email for details on how to apply.


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