Research into Falls in the Elderly

While at the University of Wollongong, Owen was awarded a number of Federal Government Grants to investigate strategies to reduce falls in the elderly.

Participants in these projects included:-

  • More than 320 eligible people over 65 years of age, who had a history of falls, or fear of falling
  • 72 Medical Practitioners from two Divisions of General Practice
  • 18 Accredited Exercise Physiologists
  • Patients and staff at The Wollongong Hospital Renal Unit and from the Shoalhaven Hospital Renal Unit

Findings confirmed that ‘at risk’ members of the public can benefit from participation in an exercise program designed to reduce the risk of falls, and delivered by Accredited Exercise Physiologists using a patient-centred approach.

Grants Obtained

  • University of Wollongong Challenge Grant $15,000 (1996)
  •  University of Wollongong Quality Monies Grant $12,000 (1996)
  • QBE Exercise Science and Rehabilitation Clinic Grant $10,000 (1996)
  • These grants allowed the establishment of the on-campus Exercise Science and rehabilitation Clinic. The Clinic has been successfully rehabilitating employees of the University and local employees who have sustained work based musculoskeletal injuries.
  • University of Wollongong, Internal Grant, Aging Research Program, $880 (1996) ‘The impact of activities of daily living on strength, flexibility and endurance in people experiencing chronic pain.’
  • University of Wollongong, Internal Grant, Aging Research Program, $2954 (1997)
  • Aboriginal Vascular Health Program Grant $16790, 2001. – Development of a self management package for ATSI with diabetes
  • IMB Community Foundation Grant – Managing Energy Balance for a Healthy life. $83,333 (2001) for the development of a tool that will allow children to make choices about healthy living.
  • Aboriginal Vascular Health Program $50,000 , 2003
  • Telstra Children’s Foundation $30,000, 2003
  • UoW Community Engagement grant $9919 2005 – Indigenous Health
  • IMB Community Engagement grant $10,900 2006 – Listening to the voices of the Elders in creating a Good Health Team
  • Federal Department of Health and Aging Grants $332,000 with total grants in excess of $522,000. 2007/8
  • The Better Balance Project :GP-EP seamless transition for individuals with complex and chronic conditions at risk of falling – $387,000 – Better Balance Project
  • The Keeping Up Project: Management of falls risk through physical activity for individuals on with Chronic Kidney Disease $145,000

Collaborative Research Projects

  • Active living with HIV – with ACON 2002
  • Functional fitness for chronically ill elderly home-based clients of community nurses – with Assoc Prof Sue Kirby 2002
  • Work-related and incidental physical activity at work – NHF Mr Andy Mark
  • A trial of continual active mobilisation with increasing knee flexion and extension to facilitate rehabilitation following TKR with John Croxson IAHS
  • Staff based knowledge of PA and referral to clients with Dr Simone Jones Illawarra Health
  • Family focussed physical activity – with Simone Jones, Illawarra Health
  • Meat supplementation and strength training – Irene Gutteridge, Assoc Prof Peter McLennan

Journal Publications

  • Curtis, O.,  The Exercise Science and Rehabilitation Clinic at University of  Wollongong, A Model for Tertiary Institutions, AAESS Newsletter,  July 1997
  • Curtis, O.,   ‘The Exercise Science and Rehabilitation Clinic – Intersectorial Collaboration’ to Leadership and Management Program, Newcastle  University, May 1997
  • Curtis, O., & Penrose, T., Exercise Science, An emerging profession. JACHPER   1996
  • Curtis, O., & Penrose, T., Exercise Science, An emerging profession. Position Paper from Australian Association for Exercise and Sports Science April 1996.
  • Curtis, O., The Fitness Industry in Australia, FIA Journal, June 1992
  • Curtis O., & Wilsmore G.,Sport specific assessment of talented Male and Female Junior  Hockey Players, Sports Coach April 1992

Program Design Management And Evaluation

  • Self-Management Support Courses for Allied Health Professionals 2010-2012
  • Illawarra Breast Cancer Support Group: Development, implementation and reporting with participatory Evaluation of program in action. 2008-2009
  • Aboriginal Chronic and Complex Care Program development with the Illawarra Aboriginal Vascular Health Program: Aunty Jean’s Good Health Team; Program Evaluation design, implementation & reporting 2005-2007
  • The Energy Balance Project: A Health-Promoting whole school approach to dealing with the challenge of childhood obesity. University of Wollongong & Illawarra Health IMB-funded Project 2000-2002 & Telstra Children’s Foundation Project 2003-2004.
  • Leadership development Program developer, coordinator & facilitator (1989-99)
  • Leadership and Management Program for Heads of Departments, University of Newcastle (1996-97)
  • Core action research programs, Family Action Centre (1996-97).
  • Evaluation and Investigations Program on Quality Management in University Research : Design of action research methodology for Proposal, implementation of proposal and Progress Report (1992-93)
  • Management team member, Training Program on Science and Technology Indicators and Management Information Systems for the State Science and Technology Commission of China, University of Wollongong for Science, Technology and Economic Policy Asian Network (STEPAN) (1993)
  • Management team member for design and support of STEPAN training program for Office of MOSTE (Thailand) on Science & Technology Indicators and Science &Information Systems for Science and Technology Planning and Development (1993).
  • Management team member and program evaluator for STEPAN program undertaken with BPPT (Indonesian) in collaborative development of S&T Plan (1992)
  • Facilitator in the collaborative reflective appraisal and development of an information base for the establishment of an OHS & R Mainframe computer system in conjunction with Information Technology personnel (1988-89)
  • Project Coordinator and Senior Research Assistant for the statewide evaluation of ELIC, the Early Literacy In-Service Course for the NSW Department of Education and carried out by members of the Centre for Studies in Literacy at the University of Wollongong. (1985-87)