National award for allied health program in Vietnamese orphanage

Thursday 11 Dec 2014

An overseas study program placing Charles Sturt University (CSU) allied health students in a Vietnamese orphanage for children with disabilities has been recognised at the 2014 Australian Awards for University Teaching.

During a ceremony at Parliament House in Canberra, the University's School of Community Health Overseas Workplace-learning Program won the Award for Programs that Enhance Learning in the global citizenship and internationalisation category.

The program is led by Associate Professor in Occupational Therapy Michael Curtin from the School of Community Health in Albury-Wodonga. He is supported by lecturer in podiatry Ms Kristy Robson and lecturer in physiotherapy Ms Kay Skinner.

Established in 2001, the program enables final-year occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech pathology and podiatry students an opportunity to complete five-week placements in an orphanage in Ho Chi Minh City.

In 2008, the CSU program began collaborating with Yooralla, an Australian organisation supporting people with disabilities. The program is now a model for other workplace learning programs for allied health students in Bangladesh and Nepal.

After attending the awards ceremony on Tuesday 9 December, CSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann praised the work of the three academics.

"It is great to see the excellent work of CSU academics acknowledged at the national level," he said. 

"This program has all the elements – workplace learning and international study opportunities for our students as well as showing students how they can work as part of a team across cultures and across disciplines.

"Importantly we are also instilling in our students in a practical way how their new knowledge and skills can make the world a better place."

The program has already been recognised by the University after it received the 2014 Vice-Chancellors Award for Programs that Enhance Learning in September.

The students are supervised throughout their placements in Vietnam by Australian registered practitioners. The program is supported by CSU Global, an initiative to promote international study experiences across the University.


Media contact: Fiona Halloran , (02) 6933 2207

Media Note:

Associate Professor Michael Curtin and lecturer Ms Kristy Robson are in the School of Community Health at CSU in Albury-Wodonga. Lecturer Ms Kay Skinner is in the School of Community Health at CSU in Orange. Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews.

Caption: (from left) CSU academics Ms Kristy Robson, Ms Kay Skinner and Associate Professor Michael Curtin with CSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann at Parliament House in Canberra. Photo courtesy of Ms Robson.

The Australian Awards for University Teaching are an initiative of the Office for Learning and Teaching which is part of the federal Department of Education. The annual Awards are designed to recognise quality teaching practice and outstanding contributions to student learning.