Alumni profile

Dr Susan Mayes

Bachelor of Applied Science (Physiotherapy), 1990
Graduate Diploma in Sports Physiotherapy, 1996
PhD (Health Science), 2017

Principal Physiotherapist and Medical Team Manager, The Australian Ballet

Susan is an inspirational leader, world-class researcher and generous mentor.

Dr Susan Mayes is an Adjunct Research Fellow at La Trobe University’s School of Allied Health and an internationally respected physiotherapist, teacher and mentor. 

Susan is recognised as a leader in the field of physiotherapy – particularly in areas of rehabilitation, injury management and injury prevention – and is a world-renowned expert in dance health. 

She has held the position of Principal Physiotherapist and Medical Team Manager for The Australian Ballet since 1997. This role has been a dream job for Susan, who has been a fan of ballet from a young age.

“I really remember mum and dad taking me to see The Australian Ballet at the Palais Theatre. I had great memories from a very young age of watching professional dancers on stage," Susan said.

"I did full-time ballet for two-and-a-half-years and it was through that process that I learnt about anatomy [and] about exercise prescription. I think that really sparked my interest in physiotherapy."

Being "at the edge" of her discipline keeps Susan engaged in her work.

“We’re always pushing the boundaries, trying to make sure that the dancers can push to their absolute limits and beyond," she said.

"But also making sure they can do that without having an injury that would be threatening to their career. It’s not just about physiotherapy, but all the health sciences and the disciplines that are required to help their mental and physical well-being.

"We want to do research that improves the injury prevention for ballet injuries, and dance in general. But we also want to develop a research program that optimises their performance."

Susan says her time at La Trobe - where she completed three courses and was able to gain placement with The Australian Ballet - has been crucial for her career. 

“La Trobe has had the most incredible impact on my life," she said.

"I’ve been challenged, but I’ve also had great success. My proudest moment for my career is really walking up on that stage to accept my PhD at La Trobe for the graduation."

Distinguished Health

Last updated: 16th May 2019