Curtin back pain expert wins award for contribution to physiotherapy

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A Curtin researcher committed to helping people living with musculoskeletal pain has won the 2021 Aspire Award for expertise in physiotherapy and work in developing a new app.

Dr Leo Ng, from Curtin’s School of Allied Health, was recognised at the awards, run by Business Events Perth, which support Western Australian researchers, academics, and professionals to attend an international conference in their field, when overseas travel resumes.

Curtin University Chief Operating Officer Fiona Notley congratulated Dr Ng, adding his work offered substantial benefits to people living with musculoskeletal pain as well as students and researchers.

“The world-leading team of musculoskeletal pain researchers at Curtin puts Perth on the map for many practicing and aspiring physiotherapists,” Mrs Notley said.

“Dr Ng’s research into musculoskeletal pain has helped healthcare professionals treat patients using a holistic approach and his work has inspired students from all over the world to study physiotherapy at Curtin.

“Dr Ng has also developed a web-app called ‘Research Screener’, which has helped many researchers find research articles more efficiently and effectively, offering incredible benefits for research, as well as the people living with the conditions that our researchers are investigating.”

Dr Ng said he was honoured and humbled by the recognition in the awards, which provide WA experts with the opportunity to share knowledge, connect and collaborate with industry leaders at business events all over the globe.

“My research helps people who suffer from musculoskeletal pain and improves their overall quality of life. To see someone who has had 10 years of back pain and many different treatments, debilitated, depressed to having a life again, running and smiling again – I think that’s what physiotherapy is about for me,” Dr Ng said.

“In regard to the app, if I can help one group of researchers publish their study earlier, or help a patient receive the latest treatment one month earlier than before, especially in the fields of cancer research and mental health, this can potentially save lives.”

Dr Ng said Western Australia had a fantastic support network for start-up businesses and was a great place to lead innovations in Australia.

“I have been very fortunate to have great support in my start up in Research Screener. It all started in an accelerator program through Curtin Ignition, which supports the development of new start-ups,” Dr Ng said.

As a result of winning this award, Dr Ng will attend the World Physiotherapy Congress, which is the largest physiotherapy conference across the globe, and will take place in Tokyo in 2023.

Business Events Perth chief executive Gareth Martin said he was thrilled to be supporting Dr Ng to attend the Congress, where he would have an opportunity showcase his expertise and innovation on a global platform, network with likeminded professionals, and explore new avenues for collaboration, trade, and innovation into WA.

“The research and developments coming out of WA, such Dr Ng’s Research Screener app, show that our State is truly an incubator for knowledge, and Business Events Perth’s Aspire Awards provide opportunities each year for our brightest minds to showcase this knowledge on a global platform,” Mr Martin said.

“In-person attendance at business events provides opportunities for career and professional development that are invaluable, and we are honoured to be supporting Dr Ng and his work through the Aspire Awards.”

To find out more about these awards, visit the Business Events Perth website: www.businesseventsperth.com/aspire-program/awards/.