“Health professionals may have the best technical skills in the world, but if they don’t work in ways that respect and utilise the strengths of the person they are working alongside, then the outcomes would be less than optimal and the process less than empowering for the person undergoing rehabilitation”.

Dr Rachelle Martin

Research Lead & Knowledge Translation Lead

Rachelle has been vibrant and valued member of BAT since 2014. She came to us from a clinical background of close to 20 years as a physiotherapist in hospital and community settings, principally alongside people living with the enduring consequences of neurological impairments. Rachelle is a researcher at BAT and provides leadership in the research and knowledge translation spaces. In the other half of her work life, she is a lecturer at the Rehabilitation Teaching and Research Unit, Department of Medicine, University of Otago

Driven by her values, Rachelle is focused on developing equitable health-optimising policies and programmes, enabling disabled people and those with long-term health conditions to live well across the whole of their lives. She is committed to participatory methods that listen to and enhance the voices of disabled people, ensuring their perspectives influence health-related policy, programme and service delivery decisions

Her research is focused on four main areas: (a) co-designing services and supports that better meet disabled people’s needs and aspirations; (b) evaluating interventions and programmes to support the achievement of equitable access, experience and outcomes; (c) interrogating the intersection between health care provider attitudes and behaviours and the responses of people they are providing services to; and (d) conducting research to creating a more enabling society.

Rachelle often uses realist review, research or evaluation methods to unpack the ‘black box’ of complex health programmes by developing theoretically-based understandings of ‘what works for who, in which contexts, to what extent, and how?’ However, she has diverse research skills, including qualitative, single-case experimental design, process and outcome evaluation, and literature review and synthesis methods, which she routinely uses and teaches within her research practice.

Not only does she bring a raft of expertise to the team, but we also love her constant GIFs, delicious baking, loud singing and her coordination of the annual Golden BEAR awards to celebrate staff.

Outside of work, Rachelle loves to get out into the garden or the great outdoors and trekking around by foot or eBike. Rachelle is married to Mike and has two adult children who are off exploring the wider world.


Peer-reviewed Journals

  • De Salis, H., Martin, R., Bell, E. and Newton-Howes, G. (accepted; formatting) A realist review developing theories explaining outcomes from residential treatment of adults with moderate to severe SUD. Drug and Alcohol Review.
  • Friary PM, Purdy SC, McAllister L, Barrow M, Martin R. Speaking up in Healthcare: An Exploration of the Allied Health New Graduate Workforce. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2023 Jan 04;21(1), Article 5.
  • Martin RA, Johns JK, Hackney JJ et al. (2022) Early Opportunities to Explore Occupational Identity Change: Qualitative Study of Return-To-Work Experiences After Stroke. J Rehabil Med. 55: jrm00363. DOI: 10.2340/jrm.v54.4825
  • Martin R.A., Baker, A.P., Smiler, K., Middleton, L., Hay-Smith, J., Kayes, N., Grace, C., Apiata, T.A.M., Nunnerley, J. and Brown, A. (2022) Flourishing Together: research protocol for developing methods to better include disabled people’s knowledge in health policy development. BMC Health Serv. Res. 22:1252. DOI 10.1186/s12913-022-08655-2
  • De Salis, H.F., Martin, R., Bell, E. et al. A Realist Evaluation of Residential Treatment of Adults with Substance use Disorder: Development of an Initial Programme Theory. J. Psychosoc. Rehabil. Ment. Health (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40737-022-00290-8
  • Bourke, J., Young, T., Grace, C., Caldwell, J. and Martin R. A. (final formatting). Dissolving Difference: Disabled People’s Experience of Flourishing During COVID-19. Space and Culture
  • Dunn, J. A., Martin, R.A., Hackney, J. J., Nunnerley, J. L., Snell, D. L., Bourke, J.A., Young, T., Hall, A., Derrett, S. (2022). Developing a conceptual framework for Early Intervention Vocational Rehabilitation for people following spinal cord injury. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation. 18 July 2022. DOI: 10.1007/s10926-022-10060-9
  • Martin, R. A., Nunnerley, J. L., Young, T., Hall, A., Snell, D. L., Hackney, J. J., Bourke, J. A., Derrett, D. & Dunn, J. A. (2022). Vocational wayfinding following spinal cord injury: In what contexts, how and why does early intervention vocational rehabilitation work? Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation. 1 Jan., 243 – 254.
  • Martin, R. A., Fitzpatrick, A. C. & Levack, W. M. M. (2021). Experiences and perceived effectiveness of carbon-fibre triplanar orthotics for people affected by polio: A qualitative descriptive study. New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy, 49(3), 147–155. https://doi.org/10.15619/NZJP/49.3.05
  • Snell, D. L., Hackney, J. J., Maggo, J., Martin, R. A., Nunnerley, J. L., Bourke, J. A., Hall, A., Derrett, S., & Dunn, J. A. (2021). Early vocational rehabilitation after spinal cord injury: A survey of service users. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, Preprint, 1-11. https://doi.org/10.3233/JVR-211166
  • Dunn, J. A., Hackney, J. J., Martin, R. A., Tietjens, D., Young, T., Bourke, J. A., Snell, D. L., Nunnerley, J. L., Hall, A., & Derrett, S. (2021). Development of a Programme Theory for Early Intervention Vocational Rehabilitation: A Realist Literature Review. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 1-14.
  • Dunn, J.A., Martin R.A., Hackney, J., Nunnerley, J.L., Snell, D.L., Bourke, J.A., Hall, A. and Derrett, S. (2021). Early vocational rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury: a research protocol using realist synthesis and interviews to understand how and why it works. BMJ Open. BMJ Open;11:e048753. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-048753
  • Nunnerley, J.L., Martin, R.A., Aldridge, M. et al. (2021). Access to community support workers during hospital admission for people with spinal cord injury: a pilot study. Spinal Cord Series and Cases 7(3). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41394-020-00370-6
  • Martin, R., Dickie, B., Skinner, H., Hurring, S., Marshall, R. and Hanger, H. C. (2020). Implementing a ‘Safe Recovery’ falls prevention programme: refining intervention theory using realist methods. Australasian Journal of Aging 00:1–12. doi.org/10.1111/ajag.12795
  • Martin, R. A., Graham, F. P., Levack, W. M. M., Taylor, W. J., & Surgenor, L. J. (2020). Exploring how therapeutic horse riding improved health outcomes using a realist framework. British Journal of Occupational Therapy.  83(2); 129-139. https://doi.org/10.1177/0308022619865496