Our Mission

The Australian Podiatry Education and Research Foundation (APERF) exists to advance research into the causes, prevention and treatment of foot problems.

Our History

APERF was established in 1990 in Melbourne, Australia. With the help of generous donations from the podiatry community – podiatrists, medical suppliers and patients, APERF has supported more than 70 research projects in the past 25 years.

Our Values



We are committed to supporting research that improves outcomes for patients by enhancing the practice of podiatry.



We encourage everyone within the podiatry research community to reach their full potential. We promote the highest standards of research including the application of gold standard methodologies, detailed planning and methodological rigour, world-leading implementation of findings, and relevance to the profession.



We believe all podiatry professionals should have an opportunity to engage in research irrespective of their current standing in the research community. We also believe that research should benefit as many people as possible and that socio-economic disadvantage should not be a barrier to accessing evidence-based healthcare.



We collaborate with the end users of the research, including academia, government, partners, industry, patients, and the profession to ensure the podiatry community can have the greatest impact.

APERF Trustees

APERF Chair: Dr Shan Bergin

BAppSc(Pod), PhD

Shan is a podiatrist with 30 years of experience in diabetes-related foot disease and wound care. She works as both a clinician and a researcher in this field and has published in the area of diabetes-related foot ulceration. Shan also works as Unit Advisor for Monash University (Post Graduate Studies in Wound Care) and teaches into the undergraduate program introducing third year students to the High Risk Foot subject at La Trobe University, Australia. Shan has a PhD in Health Services Research from Monash University and works as part of an acute / community health collaborative that aims to improve cross sector integration of healthcare. Shan has been a Trustee of the Australian Podiatry Education and Research Foundation (APERF) since 2011, and was elected as Chair in 2020.

Dr John Arnold

BPod(Hons), PhD

John is a Senior Lecturer in the Allied Health & Human Performance Unit at the University of South Australia. Prior to joining UniSA, John was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute for Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Medicine at the University of Leeds funded by a National Health & Medical Research Council Early Career Fellowship. His research and clinical expertise are primarily in musculoskeletal conditions of the foot and ankle, and he has worked in roles across the public and private sectors, including orthopaedic triage. John’s other research interests more broadly include biomechanics with applications in clinical populations and human performance. John has authored over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research and BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders.

Dr Sheree Hurn

BHlthScPod(Hons), PhD

Dr Sheree Hurn is an AHPRA-registered podiatrist and emerging leader in the field of clinical foot and ankle research. She completed her PhD at the University of Queensland in 2013, and is currently a Senior Lecturer in Podiatry at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), School of Clinical Sciences. Dr Hurn has 16 years of post-graduate experience including clinical, research and education roles. Her research interests include lower limb musculoskeletal disorders, footwear and falls prevention. Her areas of teaching expertise include sports and exercise medicine, gait analysis, evidence-based practice, and clinical education. She has served on the Boards of the Australian Podiatry Association (Qld) and Menzies Foundation and holds a current AHPRA appointment to the Podiatry Accreditation Committee’s list of approved accreditation assessors.

Prof Hylton Menz

BPod(Hons), PhD, DSc, FFPM, RCPS(Glasg), FAHMS

Hylton is Professor and National Health and Medical Research Council Senior Fellow in the School of Allied Health, Human Services and Sport at La Trobe University, Australia. His broad research disciplines are human movement, rehabilitation and rheumatology, with a particular focus on musculoskeletal foot problems in older people. His research extends from laboratory-based biomechanical studies through to analysis of epidemiological datasets and the conduct of clinical trials. Hylton has authored more than 300 peer-reviewed journal articles and 17 book chapters in the fields of podiatry, orthopaedics, gerontology, rheumatology, neuroscience and general medicine journals. Hylton was the Foundation Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Foot and Ankle Research from 2008-2018 and has been a Trustee of the Australian Podiatry Education and Research Foundation (APERF) since 2011.

Dr Peta Tehan

BHlthScPod, GradCert (Wound Care), PhD

Peta is Senior Lecturer in the School of Clinical  Sciences at Monash University. She has worked in a variety of areas within podiatric practice, including private practice in both rural and regional areas, and public practice in a High Risk Foot Clinic. This gives her the real world experience that students appreciate in their clinical education. Peta has post graduate qualifications in wound care from Monash University and frequently lectures to the Wound Management Association and local Hunter Wound Interest Group. She is currently the lead of Wounds Australia (NSW branch). Her PhD (awarded August 2016) focused on podiatrists role in vascular assessment of the lower limb and assessing the validity of non invasive vascular assessment techniques in Diabetes. Peta also developed a novel vascular screening pathway for community based patients. Peta’s post doctoral research is building upon her thesis, continuing developing the evidence base for non-invasive vascular assessment in the lower limb in different, vulnerable populations.

Dr Paul Bennett

DipAppSc(Pod), GradCertPodTher, PostGradDip(ResEval), MPH, PhD, FFPM RCPS(Glasg)

Paul is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Clinical Science and member of the Institute of Health & Biomedical Innovation Health Projects domain at the Queensland University of Technology, Australia. Paul’s research focuses on the safe use of scheduled medicines. In particular, he was recently a co-investigator on a large Category 1 Australian Competitive Grant investigating competence in prescribing medicines across multiple healthcare disciplines through systematic assessment practices. During Paul’s career he has disseminated research findings via a wide range of avenues with in excess of 150 international, national and state conference presentations and a diverse range of peer reviewed journal articles and government reports. His international affiliations have included sabbaticals at the Central Institute of Orthopaedics and Trauma in Moscow and the University of Malaga in Spain. Paul’s longstanding commitment to podiatry research extends back to 1988 when he was the recipient of the Les Gardner Research Award in podiatry. Paul has been an active member of the profession’s state and national registration boards for 15 years and a Trustee of the Australian Podiatry Education and Research Foundation (APERF) since 2011.

Dr Dean Samaras


Dean is a Fellow of the Australasian College of Podiatric Surgeons (ACPS). He is a registered specialist podiatric surgeon and is endorsed to prescribe scheduled medicines. Dean is also an Adjunct Lecturer at La Trobe University and has published research in prominent peer-reviewed foot and ankle journals. His main research topics have included minimal incision foot surgery, hallux rigidus and soft tissue pathology. Dean’s fellowship training facilitated rotations through rheumatology, radiology, endocrinology, trauma and orthopaedics, paediatrics, high risk foot, and other areas of medicine and surgery. He has operating privileges at several hospitals and consults in metropolitan and regional Victoria. His extensive experience in podiatric medicine and surgery adds an important clinical facet to Australian Podiatry Education and Research Foundation (APERF). Dean has been a member of the Australian Podiatry Association for 15 years and Trustee of APERF since 2017.