Occupational Therapist recognised for outstanding efforts

Wednesday 27 January 2021

2021 has started with a bang for Mater Occupational Therapist and Mater Research PhD student Aleysha Martin. Her hard work in 2020 has been recognised by being awarded a Betty McGrath Grant, The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Scholarship, with The University of Queensland, and the Health Practitioner Research Scheme 2021 from the Queensland Government.

The Betty McGrath Grant enables practising clinicians or other health professionals to pursue their research activity whilst allowing their departments to continue quality of care to their patients. A joint initiative of Mater Health, Mater Research and Mater Foundation, The Betty McGrath Grant will help Aleysha to improve the quality of patient care for those being treated in the Acute Stroke Unit.

Aleysha’s second success of NHMRC funding is awarded to outstanding efforts of current and newly enrolled students undertaking a Higher Degree by Research (PhD or MPhil). With 219 postgraduate students across Australia applying, and only 64 successful, her achievement was even sweeter.

“Over the past 12 months I have led the research project for the Transdisciplinary Stroke Assessment project. I have led the multidisciplinary team to create a new Transdisciplinary Initial Neurological Screen (TINS) that we will implement and study this year,” Aleysha said.

“This scholarship will allow me to complete my PhD and contribute to building more efficient and sustainable stroke services.”

Aleysha’s Principal Advisor, Professor Liisa Laakso, was excited to share her success. “Aleysha being awarded a prestigious NHMRC PhD scholarship confirms the hard work she has put in to support current and future patients, and the Mater Mission. It’s wonderful to see her being rewarded and celebrated for her valuable input into the research and health service community, and Mater’s community,” said Professor Laakso.

“Her success also reflects the tremendous engagement in, and support to the project by the multidisciplinary team in the Acute Stroke Unit.”

The Health Practitioner Research Scheme is awarded to new researchers whose work improves the value of Health Practitioner services provided to the clients of Queensland Health.

All three successes will allow Aleysha to improve efficiency and quality of allied health assessment at Mater Hospital Brisbane’s Acute Stroke Unit. Aleysha’s work will meet the priority areas of workforce and clinical education and training.

Aleysha’s advice to others looking to start their career in research is to investigate and apply for as many grants as possible and focus your attention on what is the most important aspect in your role.

“The funding will support the work I do for the next three years—it takes the pressure off of applying for more grants and allows me to really focus on what is important, creating better outcomes for my patients.”

Want to read more success stories like Aleysha’s? Please visit Mater Research website and find out more.