“My husband and I really love the lifestyle here and there are excellent physiotherapy researchers in Australia,” the new Professor of Physiotherapy at Flinders University says.
“Despite the fact that you’re so far away, the physiotherapy researchers here have a really high international profile.”
Professor Lennon moved to Adelaide earlier this year to head the discipline of physiotherapy at Flinders from the University of Ulster in Belfast, where she had worked as a Reader in Rehabilitation, specialising in neurological rehabilitation, for the past 18 years.
Now based in the Health Sciences building at the Repatriation General Hospital, Professor Lennon is responsible for the new Masters of Physiotherapy, a two-year graduate entry degree which marked its first intake of 20 students in February.
“It’s all very exciting, a new country, new course, new people and learning the Flinders way,” Professor Lennon says.
There are some changes in terminology to master: “You have a penchant for abbreviation which can get confusing, but I’m really enjoying it at Flinders,” she said.
“We have a great team with three senior academics who are very research active and experienced in teaching at a postgraduate and international level, and there’s a great cohort of students here.”
Advancing the discipline and promoting “inter-professional practice” are high on the agenda for Professor Lennon, as well as ensuring the course is well-established and accredited by the Australian Physiotherapy Council.
“I think there’s a great future for physiotherapy at Flinders because of the expertise of the course team, the calibre of students and the potential to expand inter-professional education.
“When you work in a hospital you have to work with doctors, nurses, social workers, speech therapists and many other allied health professionals, but you can’t just expect that it’s going to work well.
“So what I want to do is embody the aspect of inter-professional practice into the curriculum at the start so that by the time students get into the workforce it becomes second nature.
“Of course the other big focus is to promote working in rural and remote areas; we want to ensure that as many of our students as possible experience rural and remote practice in Alice Springs, Darwin and country settings too.”
With expertise in exercise therapy in neurological rehabilitation, Professor Lennon is currently finishing off a study with Ulster on a new group therapy for people with multiple sclerosis, and leading Ulster’s involvement in AVERT – a worldwide study of early mobilisation after stroke involving nine countries and more than 50 clinical sites, including Flinders Medical Centre.