Notre Dame investigative team successful in funding application

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Winter 23-7-2009

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Fremantle Campus

Publication Place



Staff from The University of Notre Dame Australia, have been successful in their application for a grant from health insurance provider, HBF, to run a cancer survivor program.

Senior lecturer and Research Manager, Dr Fiona Naumann, heads the investigative team which comprises staff from a number of the University’s schools: Dr Fiona Naumann (Exercise Physiology), Professor Helen Parker (Dean of Health Sciences), Professor Martin Philpott (Counselling), Associate Professor Diane Arnold-Reed (Medicine), Associate Professor Tom Brett (Medicine), Ms Helen Wilson (Counselling), Ms Fiona Farrington (Preventive Health), Ms Claire Woolfitt (Fremantle GP Network), Professor Max Bulsara (Chair in Biostatistics), and Associate Professor Beth Hands (Director of Notre Dame’s Institute of Health and Rehabilitation Research).

Dr Naumann explained that the program aims to offer patients a comprehensive rehabilitation program for the mind and body, combining exercise and counselling sessions.

“HBF has come on board to fund the exercise and counselling program delivery for its members who have been diagnosed and treated for cancer. Participants will be referred to the program which is operating at the University’s Institute for Health and Rehabilitation Research, by the Fremantle GP Network.

“Patients participate in a combination of individual and group exercise sessions, over a 10 week period. Research then assesses if this program can improve the health and well-being of the survivors, said Dr Naumann.

The objectives of the Exercise, Counselling and Healthy Lifestyle Program for Cancer Survivorship are:

  • To establish a collaborative, multi-modal program designed to improve the quality of life for cancer survivors. This will involve a multi-disciplinary team with expertise in general practice, oncology, exercise physiology, psychology, health economics, health service delivery, biostatistics, along with consumer input.
  • To offer choice to HBF members in terms of health service delivery of a comprehensive cancer survivor wellness program.
  • To document the sustainability of such a program for both short and long term health.
  • To assess the economic impact of the program, through a post 12 month claim history data.

“The program offers participants a positive next step following treatment. It allows participants to establish a healthy lifestyle, resolve issues and develop strategies to move forward with their life.” said Dr Naumann.

One of the participants recently shared her experience of the program:

“When you agreed to take me into the program, I was sad and defeated. I felt isolated and afraid and didn’t see a way to fix myself. The breast cancer survivor program made me see that there were people who understood my dilemma and who had techniques to help me overcome my fears and uncertainties. I am so strong now thanks to the program. I am fit and healthy, happy and eager to face each day. That is because of you and the wonderful volunteers at the Institute for Health and Rehabilitation Research. As I face these coming days, I am more positive than I would ever have been without you. Thank you for returning my life to me and for making me feel, once again, that I can overcome whatever obstacles I face.

For more information on the program, please contact Dr Fiona Naumann on: fnaumann@nd.edu.au.

Media contact:

Michelle Ebbs 08 9433 0610, 0408 959 138