Welcoming Matt Cooper as the association's new president

At the start of 2024, we welcomed Dr Matt Cooper (Osteopath) as the association’s new President. Read about Matt's vision for the future.

This January, we welcomed Dr Matt Cooper (Osteopath) as the association’s new President. Matt has sat on the Board for the past four years and served as Vice President for one year. He is a fully qualified, registered osteopath who completed a Bachelor of Science (Clinical Science) and a Master of Health Science (Osteopathy) at Victoria University. Matt has a great love of all sports and was first exposed to osteopathy because of his involvement in football, cricket and running. His passion for this profession has grown from there. Matt’s interest in osteopathy developed because of his curiosity about human anatomy and the varied causes of musculoskeletal pain. He enjoys the challenge of diagnosing, treating and strategising ways to prevent the recurrence of common musculoskeletal complaints. He is passionate about sports rehabilitation and working with clients to enhance their physical performance. He uses various techniques in his approach to the treatment of the individual.

We sat down with Matt to discuss what he wanted to achieve in his role as president. 

What do you hope to achieve in your new role as president?

I am privileged to assume the role of President of Osteopathy Australia. The responsibilities ahead are substantial, but I am eager to embrace the challenges they bring and to work towards a better future for osteopaths in this country. While my tenure as president begins
now, many of my goals align with the strategic objectives established by our Board over the past several years. Our plan is adaptable to address the evolving needs of our profession. Our current focus is as follows: 

1. Enhancing osteopathic education

Our primary mission is to enrich and expand osteopathic education by introducing new courses. We will build strong partnerships with educational institutions to ensure our future osteopaths receive comprehensive, researched-based training. We aim to promote diversity and inclusivity in education, nurturing a new generation of skilled and compassionate osteopaths capable of meeting the evolving healthcare needs of our community. We firmly believe in the need for more osteopathic programs nationwide and will continue prioritising this goal.

2. Cultivating a research culture

Advancements in any healthcare profession are driven by research and evidence-based practices. During my tenure, we will emphasise the importance of research within osteopathy. To meet this goal, we will provide robust support, resources and mentorship to clinicians and academics eager to explore the scientific foundations of our practice. With the OARF now established and fostering a research-centric culture, we can continuously refine our methods, improve patient outcomes, and solidify our position within the healthcare landscape.

3. Advocating for osteopathy in healthcare

Osteopathy is a unique and effective healthcare modality, and the broader healthcare community must recognise our distinctive contributions. We will vigorously advocate for the recognition of osteopathy within the Australian healthcare system. Collaborative efforts with other healthcare organisations will ensure that osteopathy remains integral to patient care.

4. Expanding osteopathy’s reach

Our advocacy should extend beyond the healthcare sector. We are committed to raising public awareness about the benefits of osteopathic care. Through outreach programs, we will ensure that osteopathy is accessible to all Australians, regardless of their background or location.

5. Enhancing communication and fostering collaboration

Effective communication is the lifeblood of any thriving organisation. We are committed to finding innovative ways to engage and communicate with our members, ensuring they are well-informed and their voices heard. We will actively seek feedback, suggestions, and ideas from our members, valuing their input as we shape the future of Osteopathy Australia. Additionally, we will remain open to collaboration with other healthcare professionals, institutions, and organisations, promoting idea-sharing and collaborative partnerships. By working together and sharing our expertise, we can collectively elevate the practice of osteopathy and provide the best possible care to our patients.

The future of the profession and Osteopathy Australia fills me with optimism and excitement for the future of our profession. I look forward to working closely with Antony and the team, our esteemed members and the broader healthcare community to achieve our shared objectives. Together, we will chart the course of osteopathy in Australia and ensure that our profession continues to thrive, leaving a lasting impact on the well-being of our patients.

Concluding with many thanks

Matt wanted to conclude with his heartfelt appreciation to our outgoing president, Michelle Funder. Michelle began her journey on the Board as a director in 2018 and assumed the role of president at the beginning of 2020. In Matt's words:

"Michelle's leadership has been exemplary, setting the stage for an exciting future. Her contributions have been invaluable, and we cannot thank you enough for your tireless efforts in promoting our profession and further enhancing Osteopathy Australia’s reputation. I also wish to acknowledge outgoing Board Member Georgia Ellis, who has dedicated six years of service to our association. Her work within the research committee led to the establishment of the Osteopathy Australian Research Foundation (OARF), a significant step forward in fostering a research culture within our profession. I would also like to extend a warm welcome to our three newest directors, Tink Gee, Deanne Mitchell and Julia Biernacki."