Helen Bourke-Taylor

Assoc Professor

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

<a href="https://www.monash.edu/medicine/research/supervisorconnect" onclick="target='_blank';">https://www.monash.edu/medicine/research/supervisorconnect</a>

1995 …2022

Research activity per year

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Personal profile


Helen Bourke-Taylor PhD is: 

  • Honours by research project coordinator in the Department of Occupational Therapy
  • Coordinator of OCC3072 and OCC4091
  • Chair of the Research Committee, Department of Occupational Therapy 
  • Coordinator of the Master of Advanced Health Care Practice
  • An active researcher in the School of Primary and Allied Health Care

Helen Bourke-Taylor is an occupational therapist and Associate Professor (Teaching and Research) at Monash University, Melbourne Australia. Since graduating in 1990, Helen worked as an occupational therapist in paedatrics in Melbourne (Royal Childen's Hospital) and with adults in neurorehabilitation in Chicago (Chicago Institute of Neurosurgery and Neuroresearch). Helen has worked with mothers of children with a disability in her codesigned and codelivered program Healthy Mothers Healthy Families since completeing her PhD in 2010.  

Research Summary

Recognised as a research leader and contributor in her field, Helen is one of 25 Fellows of the Occupational Therapy Australia Research Academy. Helen’s research interests include participation and education issues for children and young people with disabilities, support for families, maternal health and wellbeing, and psychometrics related to scale and outcome tool development. Helen is author of 80 peer reviewed publications and recipient of more than 3.6 million in primary-lead grant funding in high impact community activities. 

As designer of the evidence-based Healthy Mothers Healthy Families (HMHF) programs and an expert in online teaching and learning, Helen has created a self paced package for mothers of children with a disability and professionals who work with mothers. The site is freely available here: https://healthymothers-healthyfamilies.com/. In partnership with Association for Children with a Disability (Victoria) 23 HMHF workshops were delivered face to face in Victoria and Tasmania in 2018-2020. Helen was awarded Best poster presentation for the codesigned and co-delivered HMHF and peer mentor research at the March, 2022 Australian Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine and the International Alliance of Academies of Childhood Disabilities conference. Research of the co-delivered workshops demonstrated effectiveness.  In partnership with Kindred, 20 HMHF online workshops were delivered 2020-2022 across the pandemic, and a group comparison study is currently underway to evaluate efficacy. HMHF programs also include health professional delivered Health Promoting Activty Coaching, which was piloted in 2019-2020, and a pilot feasibility study demonstrated acceptability and significant change for the participants in the intervention group (Qualitative study here and upcoming article in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy).  

Helen has four psychometrically sound assessment tools including the Health Promoting Activities Scale, the Child’s Challenging Behaviour Scale, the Assistance to Participate Scale and the MyFACE (My Families Community Accessibility and Engagement). The scales have been translated to several languages and used in various studies to measure health behaviour change in carers, refugees and injured service personal, as well as measuring the relationship between childhood disability and parental self management. 

Helen has served as Associate Editor, Australian Occupational Therapy Journal and an editorial board member for Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics. Helen has provided research consultancy to Cerebral Palsy Education Centre (Melbourne Australia) since 2010. Helen is a top peer reviewer with Publons as contributor to scientific peer review in her fields. 

Helen has been invited and contributed to numerous projects at an Australian Federal Government level including; Department of Social services projects to create new criteria for the Carer Payment and Carer Allowance, Australia's $9 billion payment support for people caring for a family member with substantial care needs; the Carer Online Education Reference Group to create the Carer Gateway  skills based modules; and the Students with Disability Advisory Council (2011-2014) to better support students with disability. Other national projects include: school education resources for students with type one diabetes and current appointment to the Families Project Expert Reference Group (ERG), to Diabetes Victoria.  

Research Interests and specific skills:

  • Evidence based practice in occupational therapy, particularly paediatric practice
  • Outcome tool development
  • Packaging interventions online and for face to face delivery including embedding outcome measures 
  • Maternal health and wellbeing
  • Family focused research
  • Online teaching and learning
  • Occupational therapy curriculum
  • Advancement of occupational therapy and allied health research

Teaching/research Summary

Helen has integrated pedagogy and curriculum packaging throughout her research activties, including within the HMHF programs, designing the first fully online continuing professional development Supporting People with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their Families for Occupational Therapy Australia, the peak body for Australia's 25,000 OTs.

Helen leads the Honours by research project stream in the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at Monash University. Helen designed and implemented an embedded manuscript thesis for the occupational therapy department in 2017 and coordintates OCC3072 and OCC4091.

Helen is the coordinator of the Master of Advanced Health Care Practice, a post professional Masters program with coursework for 4 disciplines (paediatric physiotherapy, occupational therapy, medical imaging, radiation therapy), and 5 research streams (as previous disciplines plus paramedicine).  

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Online Teaching and Learning, Postgraduate certificate, Governors State University

Award Date: 12 Apr 2011

Occupational Therapy, PhD, La Trobe University

Award Date: 24 Oct 2010

Occupational Therapy, Master of Science, University of Indianapolis

Award Date: 4 Jun 2001

Occupational Therapy, BAppSc, La Trobe University

Award Date: 18 Apr 1990

External positions

Research and consultancy, Cerebral Palsy Education Centre

4 Apr 2010 → …

Research area keywords

  • mothers
  • childhood disability
  • Families
  • outcome measures
  • Rehabilitation/Therapy, Emotional/Social
  • Evidence-Based Practice


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