NSW award credits a brilliant career


The Joan Lacey Award recognises the outstanding contribution made by a physiotherapist to the paediatric and neonatal physiotherapy profession in New South Wales. The New South Wales chapter of the Paediatric group was honoured to present the 2018 Joan Lacey Award to APA member Ann Lancaster.

Ann completed her training in physiotherapy in 1973 and has worked in the field of paediatric physiotherapy for 45 years. Ann’s career started at the Royal Newcastle Hospital where she worked for a few years before moving to Cerebral Palsy Alliance. From the early stages of Ann’s career she had an interest in education, and in 1978 she completed a postgraduate diploma in education at the University of New England. Ann spent the next three years in the role of student clinical educator at the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children at Camperdown.

Following this role, Ann went back into the community setting and worked again at Cerebral Palsy Alliance before moving to Vision Australia. Ann worked here for nine years and during this time she was instrumental in developing the physiotherapy service and increasing the number of funded physiotherapy hours.

Ann’s next position was at the SpineCare Foundation, where she was once again instrumental in setting up the physiotherapy service provided to children with spinal cord injuries.

As Ann’s interests moved into the area of research she was appointed as a research physiotherapist at Sydney Children’s Hospital to manage the NSW arm of a multi-centre, national study investigating hip dysplasia in children with cerebral palsy. This research highlighted the importance of hip surveillance, which facilitated the formation of a national group of health professionals interested in this topic. This group was responsible for writing the official Australian Hip Surveillance Guidelines for Children with Cerebral Palsy. These guidelines have significantly improved the quality of life of children with cerebral palsy and reduced morbidity. Following on from Ann’s involvement in this national network of health professionals working with cerebral palsy at a tertiary level, she joined the board of the Australasian Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine.

In the early 2000s Ann worked at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead in both research and clinical roles. In 2004 Ann returned to Sydney Children’s Hospital in the inaugural position of coordinator and physiotherapist of the newly-established cerebral palsy service. Ann had spent many years advocating for the funding and establishment of this service and remained working there for the last 15 years of her career before retiring in 2018.

Ann also has a long history of involvement with the APA and has been a member since 1973. Ann was part of the original group of paediatric physiotherapists who established the New South Wales chapter of the APA paediatric special interest group in the late ‘70s. Ann served on the committee for several years, and in the late ‘90s Ann joined the national paediatric committee and served as the group’s secretary for three years.

Anne has made a special contribution to the area of children with cerebral palsy and there are many families who will forever be grateful for the work that Ann has done and the impact it has had on their quality of life. Thank you Ann from the committee, paediatric special interest group, colleagues and all the families and children whose lives have been improved by your work and we wish you well in your retirement.


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