Physiotherapy: Reem Albesher

As a physiotherapist, Reem Albesher improves outcomes for infants at risk of cerebral palsy and developmental delay – and she loves it.

Reem A

Dr Reem Albesher (PhD - MDHS 2022, Master of Physiotherapy 2016) is passionate about improving the quality of life of infants at risk of cerebral palsy and developmental delay.

After gaining a Master of Physiotherapy with a paediatric in 2016, she completed a PhD with the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute’s Victorian Infant Brain Studies (VIBeS) on motor outcomes in children born very preterm.

Reem is now a paediatrics lecturer, researcher and physiotherapist at Princess Nourah Bint Abdul Rahman University in Saudi Arabia and hopes to improve the detection and treatment of at-risk infants, while inspiring others to do the same.

Why the University of Melbourne?

The first attracting factor was the reputation of the university, followed by the strong research and teaching staff. I studied at the University of Melbourne from 2014 to 2022.

What motivated you?

I always reminded myself to enjoy and get the most out of the study journey.

What are your strongest memories of university?

Attending the masters graduation ceremony with my nine-month-old daughter and the PhD confirmation seminar are of the strongest memories.

What goals did you set yourself and have you stuck to that plan?

Through my current position and the expertise I gained, I will advocate implementing high standard practice in the early detection and intervention of infants at risk of cerebral palsy and developmental delay.

Furthermore, I am looking forward to fostering the next generations of female physiotherapists and researchers. As I recently completed my PhD, I am still working on achieving these goals.

What drew you to your field and what do you love about it?

I am passionate about improving the functional outcomes and quality of life for infants at risk of cerebral palsy and developmental delay. Expanding the knowledge and empowering therapists in early detection and intervention for those infants will help them achieve their maximum potential.

Tell us more about your role and how your studies helped you prepare for it.

I am working as a paediatrics lecturer, researcher and physiotherapist at Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University, Saudi Arabia. Throughout my time at the university, studying and teaching, I expanded my knowledge and developed my skills and expertise, which I am now implementing in my current role.

I learned from my fabulous PhD supervision team how to be a supportive and effective supervisor and mentor.

What drives you to do your best at work?

To be one step closer to the best version of myself.

What are some career highlights so far and what’s next?

I was awarded 13 awards and scholarships, with the most recent … the World Physiotherapy outstanding platform presentation award: Asia Western Pacific region (2021).

During my PhD, I had the opportunity to teach and supervise student placements and projects at the university, mentor within and outside the university, present PhD findings, volunteer, and be a member of committees. Furthermore, I presented my research findings in Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Europe, and the Middle East.

Upon my PhD completion, I was an author of seven journal articles.

What advice do you have for current students?
Be open to opportunities and volunteer where you can.

What is the best advice you’ve received?

To be gentle to myself and celebrate every small win.

What does being successful mean to you?

Set clear achievable goals, do my best, and enjoy this journey.

What is the most unexpected thing you’ve learned?

I learned that it is OK to ask for help when you need it. I used to keep trying to learn and find answers by myself ALL THE TIME, regardless of how long it took.