Awards for alumni who are shaping the future of health

8 June 2017

The annual Health Sciences Alumni Awards honour the exceptional achievements of our alumni - those who are established in their careers to those who are just getting started. The awards provide an opportunity to recognise the breadth of success achieved by graduates of Health Sciences.

Held at the University's MacLaurin Hall on Thursday 1 June, four alumni were honoured at the event for their dedication across the allied health landscape.

Alumni Award winners Dr Wendy Bower and Mary Hawkins with Professor Kathryn Refshauge and guests
Alumni Award winners Dr Wendy Bower and Mary Hawkins with Professor Kathryn Refshauge and guests

Alumni Award for Professional Achievement

Dr Wendy Bower

Bachelor of Applied Science (Physiotherapy) 1986 PhD (Health Sciences) 1999

Principal Investigator of TANGO studies, Royal Melbourne Hospital

Dr Wendy Bower has been a pioneer in the area of continence and paediatric physiotherapy in both Australia and internationally. Her focus is on the implementation of bladder and bowel health research in physiotherapy practice. She became the first physiotherapist to join international consensus and executive committees responsible for developing gold standard recommendations for the treatment of children with bladder control dysfunction. When the International Children's Continence Society was formed in 1997, Wendy was elected a founding Board Member.

Wendy has expanded the borders of her profession, gaining and applying knowledge from specific areas of medicine not previously mainstream to physiotherapy and developed new applications in both paediatric and adult populations. Through her research the wider urology profession has embraced what physiotherapists can offer patients with bladder and bowel dysfunction.

Alumni Award for Service to Humanity

Mary Hawkins

Associate Diploma Rehabilitation Counselling (1978)

Director, Engagement NSW Central, National Disability Insurance Agency

Mary Hawkins has made an outstanding contribution to the injury and disability sector for over 40 years. Her work, leadership, vision, and commitment to excellence has delivered significant change to the way that rehabilitation and disability services are provided to people with injuries and disabilities across Australia. Mary's career achievements are impressive; the nature and complexity of the work she has effectively undertaken in senior executive roles with WorkCover NSW, the NSW Motor Accident Authority, and Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service places her at the forefront of the delivery of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Mary's work has enhanced the delivery of rehabilitation services to a range of disparate groups. In particular, she led the development of the first regional tertiary rehabilitation services in western and far western NSW; formulated positions for Aboriginal Rehabilitation Officers in western Sydney and western NSW; developed a vocational rehabilitation model for people with mental illnesses; and influenced high-level change in service delivery for end-users of the NDIS.

Outstanding Achievements of Young Alumni Award

Karn Ghosh

Bachelor of Applied Science (Physiotherapy) Hons (2010)

Founder and CEO, Hit100

Growing up in South-East Asia and working in the public healthcare system in rural NSW, Karn Ghosh saw first-hand the impact of poor health conditions on the community. Karn believes that 'the opportunity to have a happy and healthy life is a fundamental human right.' This belief, paired with his background in health sciences, inspired him to create a company that would provide a food solution for diabetics.

Hit100 sees customers sign up to receive diabetes-friendly meals delivered to their door, accompanied by a simple 100-point food tracking system accessed via an app. It is the first company worldwide to tackle the issues faced by people with diabetes or pre-diabetes. At 34, Karn has harnessed the power of business and technology to drive meaningful change in the area of preventative medicine.

In addition to Hit100, Karn has contributed to a number of not-for-profit and healthcare providers. He serves as a Director on the Board of the Ghosh Family Foundation and on the board of One Disease. As a volunteer, he has contributed to the Faculty of Health Sciences mentoring program, Oxfam, and Lifeline express. He also founded SportsMed Studio at which he created the globally leading cross-platform stretching app - Stretch HD.

Recognition Award for Clinical Education

Alicia Wozniak

Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy) (2005)

Head of Occupational Therapy Department, Blue Mountains Hospital

Since starting her role at Blue Mountains and Springwood Hospitals, Alicia has been working to enhance the experience of students on clinical placements. She has increased the student program, personally provided a high quality of student supervision and has been a keen committee member surrounding student issues. Alicia is also a supervisor with the Faculty of Health Sciences Work Integrated Learning program and has brought her skills back to the workplace to continue her student education throughout the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District.

She is involved in several student-related projects that focus on building student capacity, increasing student placements and demonstrating the benefits of student fieldwork to the overall productivity of the hospital. Alicia is a strong supporter of student education and has taken a leadership role in the education of other staff in moving away from the apprentice model of supervision. It has been Alicia's goal to provide high quality student placements that produce competent and confident new graduate occupational therapists.