Journal Of Cancer Survivorship

Published in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship

Helping people with cancer return to health, wellness and work is a strong focus for us here at IPAR. We are proud that our work, along with that of our valued partners Swiss Re and AIA Australia, has been published in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship.

‘Building a novel occupational rehabilitation program to support cancer survivors to return to health, wellness, and work in Australia’ authored by Dr Dianne Sheppard, Dorothy Frost, Michael Jefford, Georgia Halkett and Moira O’Connor explores the outcomes of an innovative pilot that aims to improve support for survivors seeking to transition back to work.

The program development was collaboration at its best: drawing together researchers, occupational rehabilitation and insurance sectors, cancer support services, and survivors to develop a tailored, multimodal program. And it works: preliminary outcomes showed 67% of participants with improved certified capacity to work, translating to 87% with improved work status.

Read the article abstract here and for more information about how you can support people recovering from cancer, please contact Dorothy Frost.

ARPA Awards

Well Deserved Double Win at ARPA Awards

Representatives from IPAR’s Queensland team celebrate the national ARPA awards

We were delighted to see IPAR’s Tarryn Botha receive the Queensland Award for Exceptional Leadership at the 2019 Australian Rehabilitation Provider Association (ARPA) Excellence in Workplace Rehabilitation Awards, and then go on to win the National ARPA Exceptional Leadership Award too.

When Tarryn joined IPAR in 2017 she was leading a small vocational services team. Her commitment to quality service delivery, a seamless experience for all stakeholders, and industry leading return to work performance has seen that team more than triple in size. Tarryn’s supportive and collaborative leadership style has been consistently recognised by her team. Her staff regularly indicate that her leadership is a primary motivating factor, and an inspiration for them continuing to achieve the best they can for their clients.

Congratulations Tarryn on this very well-deserved win. To be voted most exceptional leader in the country by a group of industry representatives is a huge achievement. Special congratulations also to other IPAR finalists: Peta Siggers (finalist in the Queensland New Starter Award), and Georgia Williams (finalist for the National Same Employer Consultant Award).

WAARP Aaward

Win at the West Australian ARPA Awards

Our team enjoyed a fantastic night at the Australian Rehabilitation Providers Association (ARPA) Western Australian 2019 Excellence in Workplace Rehabilitation Awards.

Congratulations to IPAR’s Georgia Williams who won for ‘Outstanding Consultant, Same Employer’. Georgia consistently achieves positive outcomes for clients facing the most complex barriers to their recovery and return to work. And with return to work rates always well above scheme average, she is an incredibly deserving winner of this award. Congratulations Georgia!

Win for Best New Starter at ARPA Victoria Awards

IPAR was proud to have a number of finalists at the Victorian Australian Rehabilitation Providers Association (ARPA) 2019 Excellence in Workplace Rehabilitation Awards. Congratulations to Nadia Perich, Nadine Toic, Tina Di Labio and Rebecca Cowen for their well-deserved nominations and being short listed as finalists.

A particular congratulations to Rebecca Cowen, who won the award in the Best New Starter category.

Thank you to ARPA for hosting a great night celebrating with IPAR and industry colleages the important work being done by the Victorian workplace rehabilitation industry.

Important launch to move Beyond Cancer

Thank you to our valued customers and industry colleagues who joined us for breakfast at the Ivy Sunroom in Sydney as we launched the Beyond Cancer rehabilitation program to support cancer survivors in their return to health, wellness and work.

For the 40% of people diagnosed with cancer each year who are of working age, the transition towards thinking about work can be complex. In 2017, IPAR collaborated with Monash University and Swiss Re to develop an evidence-based program that specifically assists people with cancer to remain at, or return to work. Piloted with AIA Australia in 2018, the program attracted funding from the National Breast Cancer Foundation to evaluate the model as a formal clinical trial.

The breakfast event was a chance to explore the promising outcomes of this pilot. We also heard first-hand from inspirational speaker, Sarah Donnelly, as she shared her personal journey with cancer and work, including how important the structure and social engagement of work was as she sought to retain some ‘normalcy’ throughout treatment and recovery.

Just as it was for Sarah, it is clear that for many people with cancer, work is a vital part of their identity and recovery. Beyond Cancer aims to provide the support necessary to enable cancer survivors to understand their symptoms, improve their health literacy, adopt strategies for self-management and build resilience for overall health, wellness and work. The program has attracted funding from the National Breast Cancer Foundation to evaluate the model as a formal clinical trial, enabling us to help many more people with cancer and ultimately contribute to the research base that supports cancer survivors now and in the future.

For further information on Beyond Cancer, please contact us.

Economist Breast Cancer Patients

Leading the Way in Breast Cancer Return to Work Research

Our Research and Innovation Unit, led by Dorothy Frost, General Manager Research and Innovation, is proud to be working with partners at Monash and Curtin Universities to help women with breast cancer diagnoses recover and return to work – important work that has been highlighted in a publication from The Economist Intelligence Unit.

As noted in Breast cancer patients and survivors in the Asia-Pacific workforce, while Australia has one of the highest rates of breast cancer in the world, it also has one of the highest survival rates. Many of the one in eight Australian women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer by the age of 85 are of working age, and many want to continue to work, as it is “both an economic necessity and often psychologically beneficial.”

Of course, the journey of recovery and returning to work is unique to every individual. Dr Bogda Koczwara, medical oncologist and senior staff specialist at the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer, Flinders University, says, “The key to progress is getting all stakeholders to support two principles: work is valuable and everybody is different.”

IPAR is piloting a return to good work program for breast cancer survivors. Funded by the National Breast Cancer Foundation, the pilot will test a three-pronged approach that assesses breast cancer patients, gives them health coaching and educates workplace representatives. A trained IPAR occupational rehabilitation consultant will liaise with the patient, employer, doctor and other providers and monitor progress.

The research aims to create a toolkit that can be tailored to each individual and, if successful, will be used for a national rollout. A key part of the project will involve measuring how this approach affects primary return to work outcomes along with more tangential outcomes, such as quality of life, values around health, work and employer, physical symptoms, psychological distress and empowerment.

We look forward to bringing our customers and the workplace rehabilitation industry more information around pilot outcomes when these become available later in the year.

We also welcome the opportunity to discuss how our Beyond Cancer Rehabilitation and Return to Work services can assist people diagnosed with cancer and their employers. Please contact Jo Broomhall for further information.

IPAR to lace up for Jay’s Longest Melanoma March

IPAR is excited to participate in Jay’s Longest Melanoma March (March 31st-May 19th) this year.

Melanoma survivor Jay Allen, the leader of the march, will traverse the 2000km between Adelaide and Sydney over 50 days (March 31-May 19) to raise much-needed funds for a clinical trial at Melanoma Institute Australia.

IPAR, along with a substantial army of supporters whose lives have been affected by melanoma, will be in tow to help pump up funds for research.

IPAR’s involvement came about after Hayley Van Elst from the IPAR Gold Coast office provided the inspiration. Hayley, who lost her mother to melanoma, got on board with the fight to find a cure when she learned her mother had just three months to live.

The 2000km-long walk starts at Henley Square in Adelaide on March 31st and stretches across Melbourne, Canberra, Albury, Nowra and Wollongong and to Sydney over the next 50 days. As part of our IPAR in the Community program, we are inviting IPAR team members to join a number of small teams who will take part in various day-long legs of the walk.

To learn more, track the walk and make a donation, please go to