Amali, tell us a little bit about you…
I have always been intrigued by human biology and had a particular passion for neurology. I first completed a BSc (Honours) specialising in neuroscience, where my project investigated biochemical causes of Parkinson’s disease. The results were later published in Neurochemistry International. Although I enjoyed research, in order for me to have a deeper personal meaning in my career, I learnt that it was important for me to be directly involved with people that are living and experiencing neurological conditions.
I chose to study Physiotherapy as it would really enable me to build a relationship with the clients that I work with. Hence, I went on to complete a Bachelor of Health Science in Physiotherapy in 2012 from the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand. Soon after graduating, I relocated to Australia and traveled across the country, working in various settings in cities and regional areas.
I gained diverse experiences and managed clients with neurological, musculoskeletal, orthopaedic and cardiorespiratory conditions, across acute, inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient, private practice, aged care and community settings.
For me, it is difficult to pinpoint any one area in neurology as the area that I am most passionate about, however I do have a special interest in Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease, especially because it is so inspiring to see people with these conditions, that are termed as progressive, still managing to achieve their goals and live a full life that is meaningful to them.
Outside of work, I absolutely love spending time with people that I am close to, going for a hike in the beautiful outdoors and learning the fine art of not over-watering my indoor plants!
Other than being a hands-on neuro physio, what other projects are you involved with at ARC?
I have been involved in the development of MS online program and am the lead clinician delivering this project. For many people with MS, who can be immunocompromised due to the medication they take for managing MS, COVID 19 had been a barrier to accessing face to face Physiotherapy. This propelled our team to explore alternative and innovative ways to deliver a quality service virtually. I am passionate about the capacity of this program to reach out to as many people with MS across Australia and increase accessibility for Physiotherapy for those that live remotely or have difficulty accessing a clinic due to limited support options.
I also share the clinical lead role for Motor Neuron Disease and have been involved in the ARC’s in-service program.
Most neuro physio’s love what they do, but what is it that gives you deep satisfaction with your career choice?
For me, being a neuro physio has given me a privilege of being there for clients right from the very beginning of their diagnosis, that in many cases requires significant lifestyle changes and adaptation. Having the opportunity to provide support and guidance to empower clients in these circumstances gives me a deep satisfaction in what I do.
What has shaped you into the clinician you are today?
Many factors have shaped me into the clinician that I am today. From the supervisors of my student placements, to my work colleagues throughout my career and to the clients and their families that I work with every day.
I want to especially acknowledge the team at ARC for being so enthusiastic, passionate and supportive in delivering high quality care to the clients. The clients I work with have also inspired me in the way they push themselves to live their life to the fullest and bravely face the challenges they are presented with.
Finally, my personal experiences of having close family members undergo chronic conditions of their own have given me first-hand experience on how chronic and neurological conditions can impact individuals holistically. This has made a big impact on the way I practice as a clinician today.