Dr Rachel Ward
Senior Lecturer

Dr Rachel Ward

Doctor of Philosophy, UNSW

Master of Biomedical Engineering, UNSW

Graduate Certificate in University Learning and Teaching, UNSW

Bachelor of Medical Sciences, University of Sydney

Graduate Certificate in the Pilates Method, UTS

Diploma of Dance Teaching and Management, Australian Teachers of Dance (ATOD) 

Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies, Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) 

Medicine & Health
School of Health Sciences

I obtained a PhD in Biomechanics from UNSW in 2012, before taking up a full-time academic position in the UNSW School of Medical Sciences. 

I am currently a Senior Lecturer in the UNSW School of Health Sciences. I have worked as a Biomechanist in gait analysis laboratories at the Sydney Children’s Hospital and Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne, and have over 14 years of experience as a dance educator.

My primary areas of tertiary teaching and research include biomechanics, motor learning and skill acquisition. I have a strong interest in investigating the biomechanics of dance and other movement practices, and assessing the therapeutic effects of dance for people of all ages and abilities.

+61 2 9065 8926
School of Health Sciences Exercise Physiology Department Room 218, Level 2 Walluce Wurth Building UNSW Sydney, NSW 2052
  • Journal articles | 2022
    Macdonald ER; Clifford BK; Simar D; Ward RE, 2022, 'Ballet after breast cancer: investigating the feasibility and acceptability of a novel 16-week classical ballet intervention for breast cancer survivors', Supportive Care in Cancer, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00520-022-07420-9
    Journal articles | 2021
    Ward R; West K; Latty D; Beldham-Collins R; Jia D; Wang W; Cross S; Gebski V; Ahern V; Stuart K, 2021, 'Patient-Specific Heart Constraint: A Tool for Optimization and Evaluation of Mean Heart Dose in Breast Cancer Patients', Practical Radiation Oncology, vol. 11, pp. e154 - e162, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.prro.2020.10.005
    Journal articles | 2020
    Clark T; Morey R; Jones MD; Marcos L; Ristov M; Ram A; Hakansson S; Franklin A; McCarthy C; De Carli L; Ward R; Keech A, 2020, 'High-intensity interval training for reducing blood pressure: a randomized trial vs. moderate-intensity continuous training in males with overweight or obesity', Hypertension Research, vol. 43, pp. 396 - 403, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41440-019-0392-6
    Journal articles | 2020
    Ram A; Marcos L; Jones MD; Morey R; Hakansson S; Clark T; Ristov M; Franklin A; McCarthy C; De Carli L; Ward R; Keech A, 2020, 'The effect of high-intensity interval training and moderate-intensity continuous training on aerobic fitness and body composition in males with overweight or obesity: A randomized trial', Obesity Medicine, vol. 17, pp. 100187 - 100187, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.obmed.2020.100187
    Journal articles | 2019
    Ward RE; Fong Yan, A; Orishimo K; Kremenic I; Hagins M; Liederbach M; Hiller C; Pappas E, 2019, 'Comparison of lower limb joint stiffness between male and female dancers and athletes during drop jump landings', Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/sms.13309
    Journal articles | 2018
    Fong Yan A; Cobley S; Chan C; Pappas E; Nicholson LL; Ward RE; Murdoch RE; Gu Y; Trevor BL; Vassallo AJ; Wewege MA; Hiller CE, 2018, 'The Effectiveness of Dance Interventions on Physical Health Outcomes Compared to Other Forms of Physical Activity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis', Sports Medicine, vol. 48, pp. 933 - 951, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40279-017-0853-5
    Journal articles | 2018
    Hakansson S; Jones MD; Ristov M; Marcos L; Clark T; Ram A; Morey R; Franklin A; McCarthy C; Carli LD; Ward R; Keech A, 2018, 'Intensity-dependent effects of aerobic training on pressure pain threshold in overweight men: A randomized trial', European Journal of Pain (United Kingdom), vol. 22, pp. 1813 - 1823, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ejp.1277
    Journal articles | 2018
    Wewege MA; Ward RE, 2018, 'Bone mineral density in pre-professional female ballet dancers: A systematic review and meta-analysis', Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, vol. 21, pp. 783 - 788, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2018.02.006
    Journal articles | 2018
    engel A; broderick C; Ward RE; parmenter B, 2018, 'Study Protocol: The Effect of a Fundamental Motor Skills Intervention in a Preschool Setting on Fundamental Motor Skills and Physical Activity: A Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial', Clinical Pediatrics: Open Access, vol. 3, http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/2572-0775.1000129
    Journal articles | 2017
    Chow JJ; Thom JM; Wewege MA; Ward RE; Parmenter BJ, 2017, 'Accuracy of step count measured by physical activity monitors: The effect of gait speed and anatomical placement site', Gait and Posture, vol. 57, pp. 199 - 203, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gaitpost.2017.06.012
    Journal articles | 2017
    Van Capelle A; Broderick CR; van Doorn N; E.Ward R; Parmenter BJ, 2017, 'Interventions to improve fundamental motor skills in pre-school aged children: A systematic review and meta-analysis', Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, vol. 20, pp. 658 - 666, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2016.11.008
    Journal articles | 2017
    Wewege M; van den Berg R; Ward RE; Keech A, 2017, 'The effects of high-intensity interval training vs. moderate-intensity continuous training on body composition in overweight and obese adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis', Obesity Reviews, vol. 18, pp. 635 - 646, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/obr.12532
  • Conference Posters | 2017
    Keech A; Wewege M; Ward R; van den Berg R, 2017, 'High-intensity Interval Training Vs. Moderate-intensity Continuous Training For Body Composition. A Systematic Review And Meta-analysis.', Denver, Vol. 49, pp. 393 - 393, presented at Amercian College of Sports Medicine, Denver, 30 May 2017 - 03 June 2017, http://dx.doi.org/10.1249/01.mss.0000517956.55347.56

2019-20: Goldstein D, Park S, McCrary MJ, Simar D, Ward R. The effect of exercise training on neurophysiologic, functional, and quality of life deficits in cancer survivors with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. World Cancer Research Fund International, AU$99,958.

2018: Thom J (CI), Arnold R, Booth J, Boutcher Y, Jones M, Kwai N, McAuley J, Parmenter B, Simar D, Ward R, Housley G, Birznieks I, Potas J, Vickery R, Smith G, Herbert R, Bolsterlee B, Cederholm J, Khamis H. SoMS Human Participant Laboratories Level 1 Wallace Wurth. UNSW Research Infrastructure Scheme, AU$539,980.

2016: Lord S (PI). … (co-investigators listed alphabetically, incl. Ward R). UNSW Major Research Equipment and Infrastructure Initiative Scheme (MREII), AU$218,097.

2018    UNSW Medicine Faculty Teaching Award: Teaching Excellence

2018    UNSW School of Medical Sciences Award: Community Engagement

2016    UNSW Vice Chancellor’s Award: Teaching Excellence - Contributions to Student Learning

2016    UNSW School of Medical Sciences Award: Teacher of the Year

2015    UNSW School of Medical Sciences Award: Contribution to the Student Experience

My research activity relates to analysis of human movement, with an aim to contribute to the development of guidelines for therapeutic exercise prescription, injury prevention, and assessment of methods for effective motor skill acquisition. My scope of research ranges from assessment of motor skill development in paediatric populations through to detailed analysis of the highly skilled movement of dancers and athletes. I am very interested in investigating the therapeutic effects of dance as an exercise modality for people of all ages and abilities, and promoting safe dance techniques for elite dancers.

Broad Research Areas:

Biomechanics, Movement Analysis, Motor Learning, Motor Skill Aquisition, Dance

Specific Research Keywords:

Biomechanics, Human Movement Analysis, Motor Skill Aquisition

In addition to my role as a tertiary educator and researcher, I am a former professional dancer, and currently a Registered Teacher and Practical Teaching Supervisor of the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), and Certified Teacher of the Dance Health Alliance (DHA). I teach classical ballet and contemporary dance for children and adults at various locations across Sydney, and regularly deliver dance classes tailored specifically for older adults, including those with dementia and Parkinson's Disease.

I am currently an active member of the national and international dance medicine and dance science community. At the national level, I am on the Executive Committee (currently Treasurer) of the Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare (ASPAH), and am Chair of Dance Research Collaborative (DaRC), a group of dance researchers, clinicians, educators and students from tertiary institutions across Australia. The group focuses on dance-related research in the areas of health, education, performance, injury and epidemiology. Internationally, I am a member of the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS), to which I regularly contribute through review of conference abstracts and adjudication of conference awards. I am also currently an Associate Editor of the Journal of Dance Medicine and Science.

My Research Supervision

  • Eliza MacDonald - MSc candidate - "Ballet After Breast Cancer" - Assessing the feasibility and acceptability of a 16-week classical ballet intervention for breast cancer survivors, with secondary aims to assess the quality of life, upper-body function, muscular strength, and cardiorespiratory fitness of breast cancer survivors.
  • Michael Ling - PhD candidate - "Application of advanced signal processing techniques to mechanomyography".

My Teaching

Course Convenor and Lecturer for HESC2452 Movement Assessment and Instruction (2012 - present)

Lecturer for HESC3592 Neuromuscular Rehabilitation (2012 - present)

Lecturer for HESC1501 Introductory Exercise Science (2011 - present)

Program Authority for the UNSW Bachelor of Exercise Physiology (2014 - 2021)

Academic Advisor for the UNSW Bachelor of Exercise Physiology (2013 - 2021)