Associate Professor John Parsons

BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy MHSc (Hons) PhD

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Assoc Head - PG Research


I have in excess of $10 million in research and consultancy contracts and have 65 peer-reviewed articles, books, book chapters, commissioned reports and creative works (electronic media for training). I have contributed to service development models across New Zealand, UK and Australia. I have been a principal investigator or a named investigator on grants valued at $6.8 million and have presented symposia and papers at peer-reviewed international conferences across Australia and Asia. I have active research links with UK, US, Canada, Japan, Korea and India and have been successful in obtaining funding for research across these groups. I am committed to the translation of research into clinical practice and have been successful in obtaining over NZ$1.3M in externally funded contracts through UniServices to develop and deliver education interventions to improve the quality of community services for older people. 

Currently, I have a role as the inaugural Bupa Fellow in Allied Health Research, a three-year appointment that involves initiating leading edge research programmes that support the advancement of care delivery for both Bupa Care Services NZ and the Waikato DHB. In addition, I have a role as Clinical Lead (Rehabilitation) within the Institute of Healthy Ageing (IHA), Waikato District Health Board. The Institute provides a research framework for best clinical and management practice so that healthy ageing is promoted and supported within the Waikato and Midland regions, as well as nationally and internationally. 

Research | Current

Since 2010 I have been a NI on a HRC Health Partnership funded study "Evaluating a Supported Discharge Team; a randomised controlled trial". The study aims to determine whether older people, on discharge from hospital and on referral to START will have: (i) Reduced length of stay in hospital; (ii) Reduced time in hospital over a year; (iii) Reduced admission to Long term Aged Residential Care; (iv) Lower utilisation of Home Care; and (v) Reduced costs.  Further, client and family / whanau satisfaction levels, ED attendances, allied health usage, General Practice visits will be explored across groups. I participated in obtaining HRC grant and in the monitoring and management of the project. As a direct result of this study I am the PI on a similar study funded by ACC ($142,000) to explore the impact of the intervention among older people following injury. This study commenced in November 2013 and it is anticipated that data collection will be complete at the end of 2015.

I am also a NI on a University of Auckland funded collaboration seeks to improve the link between Engineering and Health clinicians. I participated in obtaining funding for three projects in 2011-2013:  a study exploring the effectiveness of hydrotherapy treatment as a means to increase locomotor function in individuals with late onset hereditary spastic paraparesis (University of Auckland Cross Faculty Funding, $26,500, 2011); a study to develop a robot assisted device for post stroke gait rehabilitation (Auckland Medical Research Foundation, $105,000, 2011) and a study to develop an EEG system to enable reminiscence therapy for people with mild cognitive impairment (The University of Auckland Faculty Research Development Fund, $142,000, 2012) . My role to date has been to provide expert clinical advice on the design and implementation of the three interventions. A further development of this successful partnership has been joint supervision of three summer students 2012-2013 and a further student 2013-2014.

I am a member of a successfully funded HRC collaboration with Canadian researchers to investigate older adults with complex care needs defined as those who require on-going management and services from primary, home and specialist care due to increasing incidence of chronic disease and functional impairment. Marker conditions for in-depth analysis will be mental health conditions including depression and cognitive decline in the presence of other medical and functional impairments. My role is in providing expert input related to patient related outcomes and also the link between primary care and home care service provision.


Associate Head of School (Postgraduate Research), School of Nursing

Areas of expertise

Goal facilitation


Health services for older people


Exercise and physical activity for older people

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Regional Editor for Australasia, Health and Social Care in the Community (2019-present)

FMHS Post Graduate Health Sciences Governance Committee (2015-present) 

FMHS Academic Programmes Sub-Committee (2017-present)

FMHS Faculty Education Committee (2014-present)

University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee (2016-present)

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)


Contact details

Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 505 - Bldg 505
Level 2, Room 231A
New Zealand

Social links

Web links