10 January 2024

The Exercise & Sports Science Awards recognise outstanding accredited professionals who demonstrate a depth of knowledge and commitment to exercise and sports science through their practice and advocacy.

Congratulations to the 2023 ESSA Award Winners!

Industry Awards

Accredited Exercise Physiologist of the Year: David Mizrahi

David’s passion for exercise physiology is evident through his work in exercise oncology.

He has contributed significantly to exercise physiology in cancer care through his role as the Chair of the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA) Exercise and Cancer Committee and as an active contributor to election campaigns and research committees. His role as a Fulbright Fellow provided an international platform and he has delivered keynote presentations in paediatric exercise oncology across the Asia-Pacific, North America and Europe.

David leads significant projects with The Kids Cancer Project and The University of Sydney, National Health and Medical Research Council, and World Cancer Research Fund.

Accredited Sports Scientist of the Year: Karlee Quinn

Karlee is a dedicated sports scientist with the Queensland Academy of Sport and the Australian Rugby League Women's Team.

She is working with 17 different sporting codes to find the next Olympic and Paralympic athletes for the 2032 Games, and applies the best practice sports science services to maximise the performance and health of emerging athletes in regional Queensland and internationally at the Women’s Rugby League World Cup. She has delivered several workshops, camps and peer-reviewed scientific papers for women in sport and female physiology.

Karlee’s most notable achievement to date is leading the service of sport science for the Australian Rugby League Women’s Team during the successful Rugby League World Cup campaign in 2022.

Accredited Exercise Scientist of the Year: Dr Amanda Hagstrom

Amanda is one of the leading public voices on exercise science, using her platform to bring an evidence-based perspective to combat misinformation and raise the profile of exercise scientists.

She maintains an academic role with the University of New South Wales and delivers seminars and presentations at conferences, including the European Congress of Sports Science in Paris.

Amanda has received the 2022 Faculty of Medicine Innovation Award, the 2022 Faculty of Medicine Hero Award, and the 2022 School of Health Sciences Head of Schools Award for Outstanding Contribution to Health Sciences. She has published four papers in the past year, including an article in Sports Medicine examining sex bias in resistance training guidelines.

Practicum Supervisor of the Year: Kirsten Russell

Kirsten is passionate about developing careers in rural and remote communities, having designed practicum placements in substance-use recovery, youth diversional initiatives and geriatric falls programs.

Believing interprofessional collaboration to be essential in rural healthcare, she advocates on both the community and education front to address the challenges of aligning university requirements with remote practice.

This year Kirsten has supervised 19 students in rural and remote placements in various disciplines and has created a supporting learning and mentorship cycle in which past students are involved in the supervision of current ones.

Kirsten is actively involved in academic and advisory roles, and she contributes to placement advisory committees for leading Queensland universities.

Practice of the Year: Exercise for Rehabilitation and Health

Exercise for Rehabilitation and Health is an industry leading, innovative healthcare service committed to advancing exercise physiology, with a multidisciplinary model focused on comprehensive care.

Led by AEP Nicole French, her team delivered a ground-breaking diabetes care program that has gained national recognition for its contributions to diabetes care, which emphasises collaboration between AEPs and GPs that aims for remission through sustainable lifestyle changes.

In addition to this, EFRH has achieved significant milestones over the past year, including its response to COVID-19, expanding its multidisciplinary approach, and through its dedication to advocacy, community engagement and professional development, earned the practice the 2023 Australian Women’s Business Champion Award.

The EFRH team prioritise person-centred care, industry best practices and community contributions.

Contributors Awards

Member Impact Contributor Award: Shelly Keating

Shelly has made exceptional contributions to ESSA as Co-Chair of the Queensland State Chapter.

In 2023, Shelly steered the Chapter’s contributions towards national policy and advocacy. She developed the Chapter’s first advocacy plan, set a member strategy for the Queensland Election, and contributed to ESSA’s submission for the Parliamentary Inquiry into Diabetes.

She has demonstrated effective leadership, engagement and communication between the Queensland Chapter and industry partners by coordinating the 2019 State Symposium and organising several professional development opportunities for ESSA members.

As well as leading the Advocacy Strategy, Shelly has involved clinicians and academics in her efforts, and has aligned her work with ESSA’s values to serve as an ambassador and liaison for Queensland membership.

Policy, Advocacy and Research Contributor Award: Robert Stanton

Associate Professor Robert Stanton has longstanding contributions with ESSA. A member of more than 20 years, Robert has made significant contributions to the Publications Committee and Professional Development Review Committee.

As Chair, Robert steered the Committees to progress their governance, formalisation of the review of position and statements, and co-endorsement of statements by other organisations.

He has acted in the voluntary roles of Professional Development Reviewer, Research to Practice conference committee member, and has been instrumental in decision making for new committee members and liaising with ESSA on priorities and strategic planning.

Robert considers ESSA members and practitioners at the heart of his decisions, as well as the benefit to ESSA’s reputation as an internationally recognised agency in the promotion of exercise and sports science.

Standards, Ethics and Accreditation Contributors Award: Annette Raynor

Annette has demonstrated exemplary service to ESSA and the academic field of exercise and sports science in Australia.

She holds an incredible depth of knowledge of the field and upholds a high standard of accreditation as a course accreditation reviewer and member of the Course Accreditation Committee. Annette’s experience and attention to detail have been invaluable across standards and ensures that the accreditation process is valued by universities.

Annette’s passion for the industry is evident in her sustained involvement with ESSA and the academic community, and within her informal roles of mentoring early-career academics and encouraging development in teaching and research with real-world applications.

Her ongoing contributions to research and teaching highlights Annette’s commitment to the holistic development of professionals in the field.

Client of the Year

Mick O'Dowd and AEP Patrick McInnes

Devoted father and lifelong outdoorsman Mick O’Dowd faced a life-changing bout of sepsis in December 2018, which led to the amputation of all his limbs.

Emerging from his illness determined not just to survive his second chance at life but to thrive, Mick sought help from AEP Pat at Healthstin to regain his mobility and independence.

Initially, Mick’s sessions with Pat involved swimming slow laps with assistance, but his perseverance and commitment drove extraordinary progress. Gradually, Mick transitioned to high intensity interval training swimming, and incorporated creative ways to challenge himself such as using a parachute for resistance. Over time, Mick’s strength and endurance soared, allowing him to swim consecutive laps on his stomach – a milestone in his recovery journey.

Pat and Healthstin take immense pride in Mick’s story. The team’s expertise in rehabilitating individuals with disabilities along with Mick’s willingness to cooperate with the team was crucial to his success. Witnessing him reclaim everyday tasks and reignite his love for the outdoors is inspiriting for the whole team at Healthstin.

Mick’s journey exemplifies the power of teamwork, determination and innovation in overcoming adversity and reclaiming a fulfilling life.