Elspeth Pearson Award

Elspeth Pearson Award

This award is currently closed for applications.

The Elspeth Pearson Award enables award recipients to advance their clinical skills and expertise through access to professional development opportunities.

This award has been made possible through the generosity of Elspeth Pearson's family and the Elspeth Pearson Estate.

This fund enables recently qualified occupational therapists (qualified for up to 3 years) and final year occupational therapy students to broaden their education and experience within the profession up to the value of $15,000.

Frequency: Annual
Prize: Award fund for professional development up to $15,000

Before applying make sure you understand the eligibility criteria and application process (PDF, 266 KB).

Eligibility Criteria

In order to be eligible for an award, the applicant must:

  • Be a current member of OTA
  • Be registered with Ahpra as an OT or OT student
  • Be in the first three years of their occupational therapy career or be a final year student of an Australian occupational therapy program
  • Not previously have been the recipient of the Elspeth Pearson Award.

Previously unsuccessful applicants for this award are encouraged to continue to submit new applications.

Application Contents

In addition to satisfying the eligibility criteria, applicants must submit the following:

  • A current curriculum vitae;
  • Details relating to the course or program which they propose to undertake, and/or information on the organisation(s) or education facility which they propose to visit;
  • A statement (<750 words) detailing:
    • The applicant's background as an occupational therapist/occupational therapy student, including personal background (where relevant),
    • What they hope to achieve from completing the activity, and
    • How it will benefit the profession of occupational therapy;
  • A draft itemised budget estimate of expenses, not exceeding $15,000;
  • Two written professional references:
    • One which addresses the applicant's character as well as the relevance of the professional development opportunity and the potential benefits it would bring to the profession
    • The other to be supporting the objectives of the professional development opportunity, from the eligible applicant's employer, university, or from a senior member of OTA who has experience in the relevant field of learning or study.

About Elspeth Pearson

Elspeth Pearson (1926-2015) was one of the first occupational therapists trained in Australia.

She became best known for her work as an occupational therapist in psychiatry, working as Chief OT at Larundel Psychiatric, based in Bundoora, which was one of the largest in-patient psychiatric hospitals in Victoria.

During her 25 years at the hospital she developed industrial therapy programs, which provided long stay in-patients with the opportunity to not only be engaged in a work environment, but to participate in social interactions and practice money skills.

She was also actively involved in assisting in the transition of long stay patients in mental health institutional care into the community and was one of the first to employ an art therapist in the early 1970s.

In the mid-1960s Elspeth took up a secondment to Hong Kong at the request of the Victorian government, where the government was seeking the services of an experienced therapist to assist them in developing its psychiatric services.

Elspeth was also one of the first awardees for the Victorian Public Service Award for her contribution to psychiatric services.

In recognition of Elspeth's dedication and contribution to her profession, the Pearson family and OTA established an award fund to enable newly qualified occupational therapists and senior (final year) university students to broaden their education or experience within the profession.

Award Recipients


Ju-yin (Betty) Lin

Emiliana Guerra

Yue Ting Ferris Wong


Megan Simon

Rana Morgan


Abbey Walker


Alice O'Connell-Debais

Cameron Brinsmead

Jemma Wotton

Stephanie Porter


Alison Hartigan

Anthea Jarvis

Claire Dickson

Mikaela Foy

Samantha Taylor


Amy Elson & Lisa Lloyd

Nataya Branjerdporn

Sue Maney

Thi Hoang Yen Le


Elizabeth Ainsworth


Emma Schneider

Sponsored Advertising - Find out more