CAA Funded PhD Scholarship Report

julie KendallJulie Kendall is a CAA PhD scholarship recipient, studying at RMIT University in Melbourne. Her paper ‘Neck Pain, Concerns of Falling and Physical Performance in Community Dwelling Citizens Over 75: A Cross-Sectional Study’ was published last year by the Scandinavian Journal of Public Health.

We caught up with Julie to gain insights into the PhD process and how it contributes to building the evidence base.


Q: What does it mean to get a PhD?
A PhD is the highest level of academic scholarship. It involves years of dedicated work to research an important topic. It is one of the toughest academic challenges you can undertake.

My PhD is investigating manual therapies in managing pain and dizziness with a focus on outcomes related  balance and falls risk in older people. I wanted to undertake a PhD for a number of reasons. Firstly, because I had an interest in research, and wanted to explore the scholarship of research methods. Secondly, to give myself career options as a chiropractor in research and academia. Finally, to contribute to the research output of our profession to inform practice and improve patient care.

As the chiropractic profession continues to move forward creating research networks, it is important that we have as many Australian chiropractors doing research as possible. Any chiropractor with the drive and ability to contribute to research should be supported and encouraged to get their PhD.

Q: Why should I apply for a CAA National PhD scholarship?
Undertaking a PhD is the toughest academic and emotional challenge I have ever undertaken. The CAA PhD scholarship has given me the focus to work on my PhD without having to work full-time. As part of my PhD I have travelled overseas to collaborate with internationally recognised leaders in musculoskeletal research, the Clinical Biomechanics research team at the University of Southern Denmark. This meant being away from my family, friends and patients for nearly six months. Having a scholarship meant it was possible for me to leave my position as a practising chiropractor to spend  many months away doing research.

Having a supportive network is vital to making it through. It has been heartening to know my profession is supporting me, and values the contribution that I will continue to make to the profession as I continue my research and academic career.  

Q: How does a PhD contribute towards the evidence base?
My PhD has already contributed to three peer-reviewed journal articles in publication:

    • Kendall JC, Boyle E, Hartvigsen J, Hvid LG, Azari MF, Skjødt M, Caserotti P; Neck Pain, Concerns of Falling and Physical Performance in Community Dwelling Danish Citizens over 75 Years of Age: A Cross-Sectional Study; Scandinavian Journal of Public Health (2016).
    • Kendall JC, Hartvigsen J, Azari MF, French SD; Effects of Nonpharmacological Interventions for Dizziness in Older People: Systematic Review; Physical Therapy (2016).
    • Kendall JC, Hartvigsen J, French SD, Azari MF; Is There a Role for Neck Manipulation in Elderly Falls Prevention? – An Overview; Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association (2015).

I have a further three publications in final preparation: a cross-sectional study examining pain intensity, balance and concerns of falling; a systematic review of manual therapy on stability in people with musculoskeletal pain; and a randomised controlled trial of chiropractic treatment for neck pain and dizziness in older people. Two of these were presented at the CAA Annual Conference in 2016, with the systematic review winning best postgraduate poster and best overall poster. I am now in the final preparation of my thesis, and aiming for submission at the end of this year.

The process of undertaking a PhD has led to my appointment at RMIT University as an Associate Lecturer with an Early Career Development Fellowship. With the submission of my PhD, I aim to continue building on the evidence base to inform chiropractic practice while educating the next generation of chiropractic graduates. This would not be possible without doing a PhD, and being supported by CAA National and my profession.

To find out more about CAA PhD scholarships and to apply please click here