Joanna Murray

2018 College Recipient. College of Healthcare Sciences

Joanna Murray is an occupational therapist and director of Access Therapy Services , where her speciality is dementia and gerontology. Access Therapy Services is the only private occupational therapy practice in the North Queensland region which provides services across the lifespan working with preschool aged children, youth and adults with a disability or health condition, to supporting people at the end of their lives.

Ms Murray is passionate about strengthening allied health services and increasing workforce capacity in aged care in the northern Queensland region. Through her work in the community and her university studies, she became aware of issues relating to Australia’s ageing population and the substantial role that occupational therapists will have in the lives of older Australians.

She has been influential in embedding more aged care-related teaching into the James Cook University Occupational Therapy curriculum, and the University now has aged care curriculum content in its second- and fourth- year programs as the result of her work.

In 2015, Ms Murray recognised a gap in Townsville’s allied health services market and formed the Allied Health Consortium NQ in order to give service providers, government and non-government organisations an opportunity to decrease administrative demands by partnering with one organisation. The consortium now consists of seven allied health and medical practices and is the only organisation of its kind in Queensland.

She is committed to raising awareness of dementia, loneliness and social isolation among older people in the community and works collaboratively with a number of community organisations to address and decrease these issues.

In 2016, Ms Murray launched a paediatric service that works with schools, early education centres, private clients and NDIS participants. It is the first private provider to deliver occupational services to the Townsville Catholic Education Diocese, and supports children in schools across the north-west region from Palm Island to Mount Isa and Ingham to Proserpine.

Outside of work, Ms Murray is a council member for the Good Shepherd Home and has been president of the Townsville Business Women’s Circle since its inauguration in 2015, where she was instrumental in the development of the Townsville Business Women’s Circle Education Bursary that is provided to women and girls to assist with professional development and education needs.

Ms Murray has previously worked as a lecturer at James Cook University and continues to work closely with the University on developing, implementing, and teaching curriculum related to aged care and community allied health practice. She provides placement supervision to third- and fourth-year Occupational Therapy students and assists with the coordination and supervision of placements for second-year students. She is also currently co-supervising an honours student.

Joanna Murray graduated from James Cook University with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy in 2007, a Graduate Certificate of Research Methods in 2009, and a Master of Public Health – Master of Business Administration in 2017.