About

Ruth is a researcher, inventor, educator and clinician with particular interests in neurological rehabilitation; innovative models of clinical service delivery for rural, remote and Indigenous communities; and building research capacity across Allied Health disciplines. Ruth supports, mentors and advises a raft of PhD students and clinician researchers across the health professions.

Ruth’s commitment to innovative service delivery in Northern Australia, particularly in the area of rehabilitation, includes a lead role in development of the following:

  • Northern Australian Research Network (NARN) – ‘Function Disability and Health’.
  • Rural Generalist Education Program, provided by JCU and QUT in partnership with the Allied Health Professionals Office of Queensland (AHPOQ).

Over the past decade, Ruth has attracted funding of more than $16 million to design, pilot, implement and evaluate community rehabilitation services in Townsville and Mt Isa with outreach services to surrounding communities. These services incorporate interprofessional, student-assisted service delivery models.

Ruth’s key research in the area of Neurological Rehabilitation is ‘Upper limb recovery after stroke’. She is the lead inventor on the SMART Arm, a training device to promote recovery, and the lead author of the Drive Your Own Recovery Program. To date, these initiatives have attracted more than $1 million in funding and resulted in the completion of six clinical trials, two PhDs and 16 publications in peer-reviewed journals.

 Education:

PhD in Physiotherapy, Master of Arts in Aboriginal Studeis, Post Graduate Dimploma of Education, Bachelor of Applied Science in Physiotherapy.

Interests
Research
  • • Neurorehabilitation • Community Rehabilitation • Services for rural, remote and Indigenous communities • Student-assisted, interprofessional models of service delivery
Experience
  • 2001 to present - Clinic Manager - Neurological Ageing and Balance Clinic, University of Queensland (Brisbane)
  • 2015 to 2017 - Associate Professor - Rehabilitation, College of Healthcare Sciences, James Cook University (Cairns)
  • 2003 to 2017 - Lead Inventor - SMART Arm, SMART Arm Pty Ltd
  • 2012 to 2015 - Clinical Leader - Community Rehab nQ, Northern Australia Primary Health Ltd (Townsville)
  • 2007 to 2011 - Senior Lecturer - Neurological Physiotherapy, James Cook University (Townsville)
Socio-Economic Objectives
Publications

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
More

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 66+ research outputs authored by Dr Ruth Barker from 2003 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Commonwealth Department of Health - Medical Research Future Fund - Cardiovascular Health Mission

REACHING FOR YOUR WORDS: A Phase IIa umbrella trial of integrated UPper limb & Language Impairment and Functional Training (UPLIFT) after stroke

Indicative Funding
$50,800 over 2 years (administered by Melbourne University)
Summary
Losing the ability to use your arm and communicate is extremely debilitating. It affects 1 in 6 survivors at 3-months post-stroke and remains unmet long-term. We propose a new model of rehabilitation: integrated UPper limb & Language Impairment & Functional Training (UPLIFT) during community living. Using a novel trial design we will efficiently identify the most promising UPLIFT intervention(s), which will directly impact how we organise and deliver rehabilitation in Australia.
Investigators
Kathryn Hayward, Leonid Churiilov, Erin Godecke, Trevor Russell, Julie Bernhardt, Ruth Barker, Vincent Thijs, Bruce Campbell, Sonia Brownsett and Geoffrey Donnan (The University of Melbourne, Edith Cowan University, The University of Queensland, Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health and College of Healthcare Sciences)
Keywords
Stroke; Upper limb function; Aphasia; Clinical Trial; Stroke rehabilitation

Machado Joseph Disease Foundation (mdjf) - MJDF Scholarship

MJDF Scholarship - Developing a physical activity program for Aboriginal families with Machado Joseph Disease (MJD) living in the Top End of Australia.

Indicative Funding
$42,896 over 2 years
Summary
Worldwide, no research has been conducted to investigate the impact of physical activity on individuals with MJD. MJD is 100 times more prevalent in Aboriginal communities in the Top End than anywhere else in the world. This project will develop a physical activity program derived from the voices of the Warnindilyakwa people with MJD, scientific literature and strengthened using a modified Delphi consensus approach. The program is expected to: ? Reduce the impact of MJD and keep families `stronger for longer?. ? Be transferrable to other communities ? Build capacity of community research partners ? Develop resources for health services to improve care for MJD families in Australia.
Investigators
Elizabeth Massey and Ruth Barker (College of Healthcare Sciences)
Keywords
Machado Joseph Disease; Physical Activity; Rehabilitation; Spinocerebellar Ataxia 3; Exercise; Physiotherapy

Lowitja Institute-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health CRC - Research Activity Funding

Developing a physical activity program for Aboriginal families with Machado Joseph Disease (MJD) living in the Top End of Australia

Indicative Funding
$114,076 over 5 years
Summary
Worldwide, no research has been conducted to investigate the impact of physical activity on individuals with MJD. MJD is 100 times more prevalent in Aboriginal communities in the Top End than anywhere else in the world. This project will develop a physical activity program derived from the voices of the Warnindilyakwa people with MJD, scientific literature and strengthened using a modified Delphi consensus approach. The program is expected to: ? Reduce the impact of MJD and keep families `stronger for longer?. ? Be transferrable to other communities ? Build capacity of community research partners ? Develop resources for health services to improve care for MJD families in Australia.
Investigators
Ruth Barker in collaboration with Jennifer Carr, Anne Lowell, Alan Clough, Libby Massey, Joyce Lalara, Gayangwa Lalara and Gloria O'Hare (College of Healthcare Sciences, Charles Darwin University, College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences and MJD Foundation)
Keywords
Machado Joseph Disease; Physical Activity; Rehabilitation; Spinocerebellar ataxia 3; Physiotherapy

Tropical Australian Academic Health Centre Limited - Contract Research

Evaluation framework for community rehabilitation services in remote northern Australia.

Indicative Funding
$49,502 over 2 years
Summary
An evaluation framework for community rehabilitation services in northern Australia will be developed. In Stage 1, a guiding framework will be devised following a systematic literature review. In Stage 2, routinely collected data relevant to the framework will be identified through data scoping. In Stage 3 the framework will be refined using a modified Delphi consensus approach and in Stage 4, tested for data accuracy and to determine rules for application. Processes and outcomes responsive to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities will be prioritised. This evaluation framework will enable continuous quality improvement, benchmarking against national standards and evidence-informed investment.
Investigators
Alice Cairns, Ruth Barker, Linton Harriss and Edward Strivens in collaboration with Robyn McDermott, Vivienne Sandler, Sandra Campbell, Tania Cavanagh, Desley Harvey, Ella Dunsford and Jacquelin Capell (JCU Murtupuni Centre for Rural & Remote Health, College of Healthcare Sciences, College of Medicine & Dentistry, Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine, Torres & Cape Hospital & Health Service, Cairns & Hinterland Hospital & Health Service and University of Wollongong)
Keywords
Evaluation; Allied Health; Rehabilitation; Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander; Health Services

Menzies School of Health Research - HOT NORTH Fellowship

Evaluation framework for community rehabilitation services in remote northern Australia

Indicative Funding
$46,770 over 1 year
Summary
An evauluation framework for community rehabilitation services in northern Australian will be developed. In Stage 1, a guiding framework will be revised following a systematic literature review. In Stage 2, routinely collected data relevant to the framework will be identified through data scoping. In Stage 3 the framework will be refined using a modified Delphi consensus approach and in Stage 4, tested for data accuracy and to determine rules for application. Processes and outcomes responsive to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities will be prioritied. This evaluation framework will enable continuous quality improvement, benchmarking against national standards and evidence-informed investment.
Investigators
Alice Cairns, Ruth Barker and Robyn McDermott (JCU Murtupuni Centre for Rural & Remote Health, College of Healthcare Sciences and Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine)
Keywords
Evaluation; Rehabilitation; Health Services; Allied Health; Aboriginal And Torres Strait Youth

Menzies School of Health Research - HOT NORTH - Project Grant

A student-led service model to improve the health and wellbeing of older adults in East Arnhem

Indicative Funding
$35,548 over 1 year
Summary
Older persons from remote Aboriginal communities experience disabling consequences of chronic diseases at a disproportionally higher rate than mainstream Australians (Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet 2017). Paradoxically, there is limited and fluctuating availability of allied health professional (Battye & McTaggart, 2003) services to support them. The primary aim of this study is to pilot a student-led service model to improve the health and wellbeing of older persons from East Arnhem who live with the disabling consequences of chronic diseases. The Triple Aim framework will be used to determine health benefits in terms of a) older persons, family and community satisfaction b) health outcomes and c) cost. The secondary aim is to collect preliminary data on the feasibility of the service model and trial protocol within the remote community context. This project will lead to development of a specific protocol for a proposed full-scale multi-site project across northern Australia.
Investigators
Ruth Barker, Narelle Campbell and Kylie Stothers in collaboration with Geoffrey Angeles, Susan Witt, Renae Moore, Jennifer Mann, Lisa Simmons, Juli Coffin, Anne Lowell, Catrina Felton-Busch, Louise Brown, Lindy Swain, Beth Armstrong, Frances Cochrane and Robyn McDermott (College of Healthcare Sciences, Flinders University, Indigenous Allied Health Australia, Top End Divison of General Practice, Darwin, Cairns & Hinterland Hospital & Health Service, University of Notre Dame Australia, Charles Darwin University, JCU Murtupuni Centre for Rural & Remote Health, Edith Cowan University, College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Keywords
Rehabilitation; Allied Health; Aboriginal And Torres Strait Youth; Communication; Partnership
Supervision

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

Current
  • Implementation of an Interprofessional Student Training Model to assist High-Risk Foot Services in Rural Queensland (Masters , Secondary Advisor)
  • Evaluation of a University based, Student-Led Health Clinic (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Use of Technology to Enhance Rehabilitation Services for Stroke Survivors in Rural and Remote Areas (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • How can access to cardiac rehabilitation in rural and remote areas of North Queensland be improved? (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Optimisation of neurorehabilitation through administration of fluoxetine to stroke survivors using SMART Arm therapy to improve deficits in their upper limb function (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Understanding the OT Perspective on Cultural Responsiveness in Neurorehabilitation (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Enhancing Stroke Survivors' Ability to Persevere with Practice in the Home Environment using Assisted-Living Technology (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Clubfoot in the Northern Territory (PhD , Primary Advisor)
Completed
Collaboration

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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