Rebecca teaches and researches in the School of Occupational Therapy, Social Work and Speech Pathology at Curtin University. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from Curtin University. Her PhD entitled “Person-centredness in Human Services: An Evidence-Based Conceptualisation to Inform Practice” explores person-centred approaches and care and how these are operationalised in services.
Rebecca has worked extensively in human services in Western Australia as an occupational therapist in residential and community-based aged and dementia care services; residential and community-based disability services; complex case management in disability and mental health service delivery; and complex behavioural support for children in private practice.
Rebecca also has significant experience in policy translation and operationalisation in disability services. She has held leadership and management positions in Local Area Coordination at the Disability Services Commission and has been responsible for managing teams of diverse staff and a multi-million dollar budget at a grass-roots level.
In addition, Rebecca has over ten years’ experience in tertiary education curriculum development, delivery and assessment at Curtin University. She has received several awards for Excellence in Teaching and Clinical Education, and an Excellence and Innovation in Teaching award for her leadership in an educational partnership and collaboration with other organisations (Programs that Enhance Learning).
Rebecca is an active researcher within the School of Occupational Therapy, Social Work and Speech Pathology at Curtin University, and her research has focussed on person-centredness, disability and projects in learning and teaching. Her most recent research is concerned with professional discretion and decision-making by front-line workers in human services. She has supervised several students to achieve First Class Honours and publication of their research. She is currently the unit coordinator for the Graduate Masters unit Environment, Health and Disability, and the undergraduate Occupational Therapy Professional Practice unit. She has previously taught in allied health research methodology, ethics, paediatrics, gerontology, community-based rehabilitation, and has experience teaching internationally in Vietnam. She was instrumental in the design and development of a successful $512000 Health Workforce Australia grant to expand clinical fieldwork into low socio-economic schools.
Rebecca is a member of the Social Policy Research Group at Curtin, and is a published author in the Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Health Policy and the Australian Journal of Social Issues. She is a reviewer for the Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability and Qualitative Health Research journal.
PhD; BSc (Occupational Therapy)
- Member - Social Policy Research Group
- Social policy
- Disability and abuse
- Professional discretion
- Registered Occupational Therapist (AHPRA)
- 2018 Curtin Student Guild Excellence in Teaching (Honourable Mention - Health Sciences)
- 2014 Curtin Student Guild Excellence in Teaching (Honourable Mention - Health Sciences)
- 2012 Vice-Chancellor's Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Award (Educational Partnerships and Collaborations with other Organisations), Curtin University
- 2011 Excellence in Teaching Award (Clinical Educator), Faculty of Health Sciences, Curtin University
- 2011 Excellence in Teaching Award (Educational Partnerships and Collaborations with other Organisations), Faculty of Health Sciences, Curtin University
- Occupational Therapy; Disability; Paediatrics; Research Design
- Person-centredness in human services
- Unit Coordinator - Environment Health and Disability (OCCT5006 - Graduate Entry Masters)
- Unit Coordinator - Introduction to Occupational Therapy Professional Practice (OCCT2003 - Undergraduate)
- Perry, E., R. Waters, and A. Buchanan. 2019. "Experiences of National Disability Insurance Scheme planning from the perspective of adults with intellectual disability." Australian Journal of Social Issues 54 (3): 210-223.
- Merrells, J., A. Buchanan, and R. Waters.. "“We feel left out”: Experiences of social inclusion from the perspective of young adults with intellectual disability." Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability xx (xx). Inpress.
- Merrells, J., A. Buchanan, and R. Waters. 2018. "The Experience of Social Inclusion for People with Intellectual Disability within Community Recreational Programs: A Systematic Review." Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability xx: 1-11.
- Waters, R. A., and A. Buchanan. 2017. "An exploration of person-centred concepts in human services: A thematic analysis of the literature." HEALTH POLICY 121 (10): 1031-1039.
- Merrells, J., A. Buchanan, and R. A. Waters. 2017. "“We feel left out”: Experiences of social inclusion from the perspective of young adults with intellectual disability." JOURNAL OF INTELLECTUAL & DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITY 0: 1-10.