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Colleen Canning MD

Colleen Canning MD

Associate Professor; Head, Discipline of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney, Lidcombe, Australia

Colleen Canning is Head, Discipline of Physiotherapy, Clinical and Rehabilitation Sciences Faculty Research Group, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney. She leads the Parkinson’s disease research team in the Faculty and collaborates nationally and internationally with researchers and clinicians in developing and testing innovative methods of reducing disability and falls in people with Parkinson’s disease.

Canning’s research output includes 60 original research full length papers in international peer‐reviewed journals (949 citations with an h‐index of 18), 1 edited book and 9 book chapters. She has attracted over $1.6 million in competitive research funding, including Australian Government National Health and Medical Research Council, non‐government and philanthropic organisations. A/Prof Canning has supervised 25 research students to completion (5 PhDs, 6 Masters, 14 Honours).

Canning regularly presents at national and international conferences and recently has accepted invitations to present her research findings in the Netherlands, Belgium, United Kingdom and Singapore. In 2013, she was a plenary speaker at the 1st Movement Disorders Society/ParkinsonNet Allied Health Professional Summer School, Nijmegen, Netherlands. She is acknowledged as a Parkinson’s disease expert in the 2014 European Physiotherapy Guideline for Parkinson’s disease (, including extensive citations to her work and a recommendation for use of the 3‐step Falls Prediction tool for people with PD, developed, tested and published by her team in 2013.

Canning has extensive experience in teaching, curriculum development and implementation; and program leadership and mentorship. From 2008‐2013 she was Course Director of the Graduate Entry Master of Physiotherapy program. Her teaching and research interests are primarily in the area of Neurological Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation, in particular, neurodegenerative conditions. She is the is the recipient of three prestigious learning and teaching awards associated with her leading role in developing a cutting‐edge, evidence‐based eLearning resource (Physiotherapy eSkills).

Canning was elected to the Board of Parkinson’s NSW in 2011 (a non‐profit, community‐based organisation providing information, counselling and support to people living with Parkinson’s disease) and has been an active member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Parkinson’s NSW since 2006. Annually, she presents her research to people with Parkinson’s disease and provides consultative advice on all matters relating to exercise in Parkinson’s disease. She answers an average of 50 queries about Parkinson’s disease, exercise and physiotherapy on an annual basis, including international requests for information from USA, Canada, Europe, the Middle East and the Asia‐Pacific.

Recent Contributions to PracticeUpdate:

  1. Does Exercise Help Prevent Falls in Parkinson's Disease?