Meeting community demand for allied health degree programs in Brisbane has been the impetus behind the opening of a new facility at Griffith University’s Nathan campus.

The Nathan campus School of Allied Health Sciences, which houses the new Allied Health Programs, will be officially opened this Thursday 16 August.

The refurbished building boasts two state-of-the-art research laboratories, dedicated specialist teaching laboratories, simulated learning areas and a vibrant multidisciplinary breakout area, which will be used to deliver three new programs which were previously only offered at the university’s Gold Coast campus — the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy, Bachelor of Physiotherapyand Master of Speech Pathology.

Exceptional student demand

“Student demand for these programs at our Nathan campus has been exceptional, and has capitalised on Griffith University’s excellent reputation of delivering high quality allied health programs at the Gold Coast,” says Professor Andrea Bialocerkowski, Head of School of Allied Health Sciences.

“So far we have 93 enrolled students in physiotherapy, with 59 in occupational therapy and 18 in speech pathology.

“Already we have some great research partnerships in place with the local community. Theseincludevolleyballers from theQueensland Academy of Sport (QAS), BrisbaneAFL,rugby league andschool-levelrugby unionteams.”

“Our research involves investigating and preventing sports injuries,” says Professor Julie Hides, Deputy Head, Nathan, School of Allied Health Sciences.

“The new facility is a fabulous learning and teaching space to not only showcase the new facilities and complement our existing facilities at our Gold Coast campus, but also to house these health programs together which creates a great opportunity for multi-disciplinary learning,” says Pro Vice Chancellor (Health), Professor Sheena Reilly.

“The expansion of allied health programs to Griffith’s Nathan campus is also a great reflection of the strong partnerships we have in place with our local health services and other healthcare providers.

MHIQ to carry on building partnerships

“Our plan will be for our research organisation Menzies Health Institute Queensland, to carry on building allied health research partnerships with the community, to grow and develop our existing strong presence.”

A spokesperson from the QAS said the organisation is keen to support research projects that are identified by its supported sporting organisations, as an area of priority.

“This current project betweenVolleyball Queensland, Griffith University and QAS aims to reduce the injury risk of our elite athletes and by doing so, improve athlete availability for training and competition, leading to better sports performance outcomes,” she said.

Thursday’s launch event will also include a presentation titled Gene-brain behaviour relationships — relevance to the allied health professions, with Professor Angela Morgan, lead of the Neuroscience of Speech Group at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. Angela is a speech pathologist and NHMRC Practitioner Fellow.

Now that we are in the era of genomic medicine, Professor Morgan will say that we are well placed to explain some of the genetic contributions to the disorders we study and treat, including speech, movement or nutritional disorders, and that the allied health professions are currently very well placed for attracting research funding.