ESSA congratulates 2019 Industry Award winners

Each year, Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) awards and recognises its outstanding accredited members who demonstrate, through their practice, a thorough understanding of the discipline and a strong commitment to the profession and the industry through their advocacy within the community.

“All applications into this year's ESSA Industry Awards were of a high standard and, once again, it was extremely difficult for the judges to make a final decision – a true reflection of the excellence of all of our members,” says Anita Hobson Powell, ESSA Chief Executive Officer.

Congratulations to 2019’s ESSA Industry Award winners:

Ming Jing (MJ) Ong
Accredited Exercise Scientist of the Year 2019

• Dr MJ Ong has been working with the community of Belmont, WA through her business, Active Mamas by MJ by creating opportunities for mothers to be fit and healthy so that they can role model an active lifestyle to their children. Through Dr Ong's research into pregnancy and gestational diabetes, she has created an exercise group just for mothers with an affordable membership, free of judgement and discomfort, and has removed the issue of childcare all together by creating a social network that supports each other.

• The judges agreed that it was great to see exercise science promoted so successfully to this population and that MJ was creating significantly important opportunities for the mums in her community to embrace healthy and active lifestyles.

Ray Kelly
Accredited Exercise Physiologist of the Year 2019

• Ray Kelly has been utilising his knowledge as an AEP in his business, Ray Kelly Fitness to empower Aboriginal communities through making changes across Australia in remote communities and in metro regions to make lifestyle changes to improve their health. Ray's passion to promote evidence-based practice in a culturally appropriate environment has been inspiring to his clients and his colleagues.

• Over the past 12 months, Ray has made a commitment to provide his chronic disease programs to the most disadvantaged communities and has seen outstanding results. A combination of Ray's constant advocacy and promotion of AEPs, as well as his long list of achievements is what stood out most to this year's judges.

Joanna Miller
Accredited Sports Scientist of the Year 2019

• Dr Jo Miller is a Senior Performance Recovery Physiologist at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and has travelled to numerous international benchmark events, including three Paralympics to implement thermoregulation strategies and provide performance recovery support and will be the Recovery Lead for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Specifically, for more than 10 years, Jo has dedicated much of her time to understanding and growing the knowledge-base of Para-Athletes and has been at the forefront of cutting-edge research and methodologies in regard to thermoregulation, pre-, during and post-cooling strategies, and performance recovery in relation to various impairments.

• The judges were significantly impressed in Jo's extensive work in para-sports, specifically the ability to adapt information to suit a specific sport, situation, environment or disability.

Eevon Chia
Practicum Supervisor of the Year 2019

• Dr Eevon Chia's work as an Accredited Exercise Scientist, practicum supervisor and mentor through the Active Living Longer program at Charles Sturt University has made students’ introduction to the workplace a smooth and comfortable experience. This year, Eevon has supervised several exercise and sports science students, and has gone above and beyond to ensure all students gain personalised and meaningful learning experiences.

• Eevon is genuinely invested in her placement students’ professional, academic, and personal development, and her students have reported that they are now far more confident in their career paths as a direct result of their placement with her. The judge's agreed that Eevon's approach of developing each student's confidence is highly valuable in expanding students' practical skills and applied knowledge during placement.

Moving Beyond Cancer
Practice of the Year 2019

• Moving Beyond Cancer is a clinic located in Camberwell, Victoria that that has organically grown for many years since 2014, with its parent organisation, Melbourne Exercise Physiology Group running since 1998. Its mission is to empower people with a cancer diagnosis to engage in safe and effective exercise throughout the cancer continuum, and with two full time and one part time Accredited Exercise Physiologists (as well as Milly, the golden retriever therapy dog), they are achieving this mission on a daily basis.

• The extensive leadership, advocacy, highly-sought after expertise, and significant affiliations connected to Moving Beyond Cancer is a true testament of the practice and was hard for the judges to look past. The judges all commented on how founder, Dale Ischia's vision and passion is evident within the practice, and acts as a real example of the dedication of our members in promoting the profession as a whole and the true benefits of exercise.

Congratulations to all of our 2019 winners. The individual categories will each receive $1,500 in prize money, while the Practice of the Year winner will receive $2,500.

Applications for the 2020 ESSA Industry Awards will then open in September 2020.