MIA Board



Chairperson and Faculty Member

Peter Schoch  B. Physio(Hons), Dip MDT, Dip Bus, Dip Mgmt, APAM

Peter graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1995 with Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours). He Credentialed in Mechanical Diagnosis &Therapy (MDT) in 2006 and completed the Diploma in MDT, in 2013; to go with his Diplomas in Business and Management. Peter has worked as a physiotherapist in both the public and private sectors in Australia and the UK. He currently works as the Physiotherapy Outpatient Coordinator & Advanced Practice Clinical Lead Physiotherapist (Orthopaedics / Neurosurgery) at Barwon Health, Geelong. Peter has been involved in allied health and medical student education for the past 25 years and is currently an Associate Clinical Lecturer with Deakin University School of Medicine. He is a Faculty member of the McKenzie Institute Australia and a Diploma Educator for the McKenzie Institute international. Peter has numerous publications on both clinical and health reform topics. He is a current member of the APA Musculoskeletal, Leadership and Management, Emergency Department and Orthopaedic national groups. In his spare time he enjoys a bit of surfing, bike riding and sampling decent food and wine.


Pearce Vander Meeden  MSPT, Cred MDT, APAM

Pearce holds a Master's degree in Physiotherapy obtained from Boston University and has international experience working in spinal centres in the USA; where he has co-authored protocols for spine surgeons and educated doctors, physiotherapists, massage therapists, and pain psychologists on back pain and knee pain. He is the Practice Principal at Thornleigh Performance Physiotherapy and is also a guest lecturer and tutor at the University of Sydney and Macquarie Unversity.

Treasurer and Faculty Member

Mark Cheel  BAppSc (Physio), Dip MDT, APAM

Mark Graduated from Latrobe University, Melbourne in 1997 with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Physiotherapy). Since graduating, Mark has gained diverse musculoskeletal experience through both the public and private health sectors, and has also spent time working in the UK. Mark credentialled in MDT in 2011 and completed the MDT Diploma Training Program in 2013. He has also completed level 1 and 2 Acupuncture through the APA. Mark is currently a Senior Clinician Physiotherapist (Orthopaedics) at Barwon Health, Geelong and works in a primary contact role in the Emergency Department, Orthopaedic and Physiotherapy Specialist Clinics. He is an Associate Clinical Lecturer / Tutor with Deakin University School of Medicine. He is a member of the APA Emergency Department network and Acupuncture and Dry Needling Group. One of his special interests is clinical education and he has been actively involved in supervising undergraduate physiotherapy students for 11 years.

Honorary Secretary

Valerie Mullane   BExPhys, MPhty, DipMDT, APAM

Valerie graduated from the University of Sydney with a Master of Physiotherapy.  She also holds a Bachelor of Exercise Physiology from the University of New South Wales.  Valerie is a Credentialed McKenzie Therapist and in 2018 completed her Diploma in Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy.  She has completed additional training in Clinical Pilates and Dry Needling.  Valerie works as practice principal of Sydney based Prana Physiotherapy & Health.  She has also worked in Western Australia in Private Practice and within the mining sector.


Committee Members

Tim Cathers

Tim graduated from Sydney University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Physiotherapy). He credentialled in Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy in 2013 and is currently undertaking the diploma program. Tim originally worked in the public health system for several years before moving into private practice where he currently works in a sports and spine clinic in North Parramatta. He also has training in clinical Pilates and dry needling.

Irene Leithhead B App Sc (PHTY) USyd, MA (Phys Ther) NYU, GradCertEdStud (Higher Ed) USyd, GradDip Management AGSM

Irene graduated in 1984 from Cumberland College of Health Sciences, and was introduced to the McKenzie Method by Robin McKenzie in 1985.

She has worked in both Australia and the United States, becoming a Credentialled Therapist in 1995, passing the exam in the United States. In 2000 she completed a Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy at NYU; presenting the results of her research thesis at the United States McKenzie National Conference held in New Orleans. During her time in the U.S. she also taught musculoskeletal therapies in the Undergraduate Physical Therapy program of CUNY (City University of New York, Hunter College Campus) and included the McKenzie approach to treatment of the lumbar spine in the subjects covering assessment and treatment of the spine.

Returning to Australia in 2001 she was a member of the Sydney study group, which was broadly spread geographically and met in various locations around the Sydney Metropolitan area, a participating therapist providing MDT to subjects in research undertaken by University of Sydney postgraduate students and a regular attendee at MIA Seminar Days when they were held in Sydney. In the times when she has not been working in musculoskeletal practice, both as an academic at The University of Sydney and as a gerontological physiotherapist, she has had the opportunity of directly supervising and mentoring physiotherapy students and young graduate physiotherapists, actively encouraging them to consider the McKenzie Method as part of their ongoing professional development. She is currently self-employed in musculoskeletal private practice in Sydney and continues to practice the MDT approach with clients.

Apart from her physiotherapy qualifications Irene also holds Post-Graduate qualifications in Business Management (AGSM) and Higher Education (U Syd).